Tackling antisocial behaviour


The Scottish Government today published its first annual report on how antisocial behaviour is being addressed using effective early intervention.

At the same time Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing was interviewed by young people from the Wired radio show which is designed to help young people highlight their achievements, voice their opinions and ideas and get involved in their community by participating in the production of a weekly show on Radio Borders.

The Wired show is part of Young Scot's Pro-Social Behaviour project, which aims to challenge the myths that most young people are involved in antisocial behaviour by communicating the positive impact that many are making in their local community.

The project is an example of the hundreds of schemes in Scotland designed to prevent antisocial behaviour rather than simply punishing offenders after the crime has taken place.

The work of these initiatives is outlined in the first annual report to Parliament on the Scottish Government's Antisocial Behaviour Framework, 'Promoting Positive Outcomes', which is delivered in conjunction with Cosla.

This framework has received the support of social workers, voluntary groups and youth agencies as well as being backed by bodies such as Acpos and the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration.

The report shows how these projects, supported by Scottish Government nationwide policies such as CashBack for Communities and No Knives, Better Lives, are helping build on work that has already seen crime driven to a 32 year low, a dramatic drop in antisocial behaviour such as vandalism and an increase in the number of people living in Scotland that feel safe in their local areas.

Mr Ewing said:

"Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community and dealing with antisocial behaviour across Scotland remains a significant priority for this government.

"Although punishment remains an important part of the fight against this problem, we believe much more can be achieved by focusing on prevention and targeting the causes of antisocial behaviour such as alcohol, drugs and deprivation.

"This national framework report demonstrates how these principles are now being delivered by the fantastic work of dozens of local groups and agencies. We recognise different areas will have different priorities and I am pleased to see ideas such as participatory budgeting and alcohol intervention are being put to good use to meet those different needs.

"Implementing the framework has now been underway for a year and so far, a significant amount of good practice and local intelligence has been shared, allowing communities across the country to learn from what has worked elsewhere in Scotland.

"At the same time, we are seeing the impact of programmes such as No Knives Better Lives and CashBack for Communities as well as excellent results from 'pro-social' projects such as the Wired radio pilot that helps youngsters develop social skills and a positive attitude towards their local communities."

Councillor Harry McGuigan, COSLA spokesperson for Community Wellbeing and Safety, said:

"I am pleased that this report on the progress being made by communities, councils and all of our partners to address the very serious problem of antisocial behaviour is being submitted to Parliament. It shows that under the national framework people are working hard to improve the communities they live in.

I am most pleased at the parts of this report which show projects and programmes which are encouraging everyday people and small neighbourhoods to take control of the problems in their area and to make decisions about what type of help and support is needed. Participatory budgeting and community champions are a crucial part of the effort to change antisocial behaviour into prosocial behaviour.

But what this report also shows is that antisocial behaviour is not being and cannot be addressed in isolation. Early years, health, criminal justice, regeneration and anti poverty policies are all playing a part. It is only with this type of joined up, joint local and national effort that that we will see lasting change in all of our communities"