A fair cop: an Examination of Youth-related Anti-social behaviour and the role of the police in tackling it with a focus on DIVERT, a consequential-thinking programme developed in a Hampshire community

Owen, Hannah (2015) A fair cop: an Examination of Youth-related Anti-social behaviour and the role of the police in tackling it with a focus on DIVERT, a consequential-thinking programme developed in a Hampshire community. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Criminal and anti-social behaviour committed by young people is an enduring issue for governments, public agencies and wider society due to its potential impact on day-to-day life. In the majority of cases, the actions of those involved can be described as generally minor, causing nothing more than a nuisance to those experiencing it. However, the media have publicised some high profile, extreme cases in recent years which make it a salient concern for society.
    Despite its importance, there continue to be issues of clarity surrounding how anti-social behaviour is defined and how it can be effectively dealt with. Therefore, the current study aims to explore the extent of the problem of youth crime and anti-social behaviour, concentrating on commonly cited causes based on classic theories of juvenile delinquency and the risk and protective factors approach. It also aims to assess how political changes have impacted on the agencies charged with dealing with youth crime and anti-social behaviour with a particular focus on the role of the police and whether, in the current economic climate, they are best placed to deal with the related concerns. The research seeks to examine how youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been addressed over recent years with reference to government-led enforcement approaches and more locally established leisure-based interventions, which will include an evaluation of DIVERT, a bespoke consequential-thinking programme developed and implemented by officers from the Waterlooville North Safer Neighbourhood Team within Hampshire Constabulary.
    This latter aim was achieved through a case study of DIVERT, which involved a semi-structured interview with one of the officers who conceived and delivered the project to two groups of young people during 2013 and 2014 in the Wecock Farm area of Waterlooville in Hampshire. There were three key research questions; why were the young people involved in the project committing youth crime and anti-social behaviour?; what makes an intervention successful in tackling such conduct?; and how successful was DIVERT in its first two projects? These were explored using thematic analysis of the interview. Five key themes were constructed: social influence, consistency and cohesion, adaptability, interactive exercises and positive outcomes and some basic interrogation of crime and anti-social behaviour reports for the area during the course periods showed that the number of incidents fell year-on-year.
    The findings from the in-depth literature review and the results of the case study, indicate that the use of enforcement in tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour is ineffective. The young people involved need to be offered the opportunity to understand how their behaviour impacts on others and these lessons need to be delivered in an interactive and engaging way. The police have a significant amount to offer interventions and in particular they can be the neighbourhood presence that will help recognise the problem, identify the perpetrators and build a relationship with them that offers mutual respect and understanding, which is a key element of making a young person feel valued and give them a desire to change their attitudes and behaviour to improve their own lives and that of others.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 11:03
    Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 11:03
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/19842

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