And he’s also an utter fool:
Strengthening civility and neighbourhoods is important, but the police have only a minor role to play. Other things – the way places are designed, traffic is managed and the public realm is maintained; the character of shops and local public services (Ed: I note the character of the public themselves isn’t mentioned…), the provision of activities for young people – are just as important as anything the police can do.Really? It’s badly designed town centres that cause chippy, chavvy little morons, and not a breeding pair of adult chippy, chavvy morons then? Fancy…
And there is a role for the rest of us. Policing depends on members of the public willing to obey the law, and to intervene when they see things going wrong.I think anyone who has read the newspapers would be able to see why people don’t, Ben. I guess the news about Gary Newlove never reached the hallowed environs of the DCLG, eh?
There is little doubt that people are increasingly nervous about intervening, and that this is a peculiarly British problem.Well, no doubt.
One 2006 survey found that whereas 60% of Germans say they would intervene to stop a gang of children vandalising a bus shelter, only 30% of British people say they would do so – the lowest response out of the six European countries surveyed.Hardly surprising.
It is surprising what little thought has been given to how to strengthen ordinary people's capacity to tackle incivility. One option – one I developed in a paper for the Royal Society of Arts earlier this year – would be to promote a first aid approach to community safety, training people beyond the police to deal with antisocial behaviour.It’s appropriate that that’s what you call it. Because anyone who tries is likely to need first aid. And that’s if they’re very lucky.
For some, first aid wouldn’t have helped much…
I called this the Woolwich model, because Woolwich was the place where the first course in first aid was taught in 1878.Are you serious? Mediate and negotiate with scum like this?
People can be taught how to read a situation so they know when it is appropriate and safe to intervene, and when to call the police. They can be shown how to protect themselves and others from attack. And they can be given mediation and conflict resolution skills.
The pensioner had boarded the number eight bus at Stacey’s Corner in Pitsea.Lovely…
As he got on board, the man asked his attacker to move a pushchair, which was blocking an empty seat in front, so he could sit down.
Instead the man refused and began verbally abusing the 92-year-old.
As the victim made his way to another seat, the thug continued to hurl abuse.
But, in a shocking twist only just revealed by police, he got up from his seat, and headbutted the victim.
As with first aid, this training should be available to anyone who wants it.And who’s going to provide it, and quality assure it, Ben?
Are you planning on setting up yet another quango, even as the Coalition try to stamp out the ones we’ve suffered for the last 13 years?
The police will always have a role in dealing with more serious instances of antisocial behaviour.We aren’t going to see ‘fewer alarmist headlines’ until the sort of people who do this for a laugh are given sentences that put the fear of god into them and all the other feral creatures on the streets.
But if the rest of us had a better sense of how to defuse conflict, then we might see fewer alarmist headlines.
And if ABH on an innocent civilian gets you merely a suspended sentence, then why the hell should anyone risk challenging it, and ending up on the front pages themselves? Or in the morgue?