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Responding to anti-social behaviour

11 March 2010

Professor Martin InnesProfessor Martin Innes

A University policing expert will lead a review designed to improve the way Police Forces across England and Wales record and act on persistent acts of anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Professor Martin Innes, Director of the Universities' Police Science Institute (UPSI), has been commissioned by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to work alongside Ipsos MORI to develop a new framework to help police forces respond more effectively to acts of ASB.

The review will seek to integrate the best research on victims and ideas and how the police can develop a framework to operationalise the knowledge they collect on ASB.

Professor Martin Innes said: "Our previous research for Her Majesty’s Inspector identified the real and corrosive harm that ASB does to individuals and communities.

"We are now moving forward to develop a robust evidence-base about ASB and its effects in order to help police improve their response to this key social problem."

The review comes after Denis O’Connor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary raised concerns about the way police forces in England and Wales report ASB.

He said that the police database of information about ASB incidents is inadequate and should be improved as a matter of urgency. He also said that police systems vary in their ability to identify repeat victims and vulnerable victims and over half cannot identify repeat victims via automatic IT systems and rely on manual trawls.

Overall, he argued that almost all forces are unable to automatically identify victims who have previously been deemed vulnerable. Consequently officers attending reports of ASB may not be aware of the previous history and is likely to affect the way the incident is dealt with.

Professor Martin Innes added: "There is real evidence, underpinned by the British Crime Survey that, as exposure to ASB increases, confidence in the police declines. Some 4 out of 5 people said that the ASB was having a high impact on their quality of life.

"We can also see that ASB is one of the key determinants of confidence in the police generally. This review will help us look at those police systems to develop a new framework to ensure that the public can regain confidence in the reporting of ASB."

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