Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

house 40 staff

Citizens need to be trained by police to tackle antisocial behaviour says a report

Date: (8 August 2012)    |    

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The Royal Society of Arts report has said that the cuts in police mean active citizens now needed courses in self-defence and defusing conflict.
It said that the public needed to be offered ‘have a go hero’ training by the police to deal with antisocial behaviour and handle aggression and conflict.
The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) report, published on Wednesday, says a radical "citizens' defence" approach to tackling antisocial behaviour was needed one year after the English riots.
The study by Ben Rogers, director of the Centre for London thinktank, admitted that the public needed to be trained in self-defence skills as well as how to read a situation if they were to be encouraged to intervene on the streets.
The proposal was partly based on the experience of ‘Dfuse’, a small charity set up in 2007, to provide courses by experienced police trainers and hostage negotiators in defusing social conflict and responding to crime and antisocial behaviour.
The Dfuse website say that most people avoided helping someone who was in difficulty or when they saw others vandalizing, bullying or being threatening. The most natural urge by anyone is to try to cool arguments or prevent fighting which is fraught with risk in today’s streets. And other reason people were apprehensive to get involved was because of frequent reports of people trying to help getting hurt. The organisation offers ways of responding without putting yourself or others in danger.
The RSA report says that such methods should be adopted nationally. The traditional police patrolling being scaled down it was surely the time to focus seriously on thinking how to equip the active citizens individually or collectively, if they were to step up to the mark Ben Rogers said.
The coalition government has signalled its determination to encourage and support citizens to 'have a go' and intervene to stop criminal behaviour. But to do these citizens need training and the government needs a strategy if these emerging ideas were to be supported and developed.
The report suggests such training should include how to restrain an assailant and make a citizen's arrest as well as how to defuse and mediate a situation. It says the public lack or has very little confidence to intervene and such training would go way towards healing anxious communities.
Rogers says police officers or lay trainers should offer courses to people. As well as members of the public, frontline public servants such as park keepers, public transport workers, parking enforcement officers and community and youth workers should be included.
The report, ‘First Aid Approaches to Managing Antisocial Behaviour’ concludes there has been a lack of strategic thinking about the problem and that the police and crime commissioners who take office after elections in November should take on the role of championing the training of the public in this way.