Scotland's approach to antisocial behaviour: review findings

This report presents findings on the perceptions of current approaches to antisocial behaviour in Scotland, based on discussions with key stakeholders including victims and frontline staff. The report will help inform future reviews on best practice for preventing and tackling antisocial behaviour.

Executive summary

The former Minister for Community Safety, Ash Regan MSP, asked the Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN) and the Scottish Government to undertake a review of antisocial behaviour (ASB). This report presents the findings from work undertaken to gather views on the current approach to antisocial behaviour in Scotland. It is based on discussions with key stakeholders across Scotland including those who have experienced antisocial behaviour, frontline staff seeking to prevent and tackle antisocial behaviour and community and equality groups including those representing minority communities in Scotland. The discussions included people from both urban and rural settings across different areas of Scotland.

The findings do not amount to a definitive statement on what people feel needs to be done to change the way we view, prevent and address antisocial behaviour. However, they do provide a qualitative evidence base given the size and breadth of engagement. It is clear from these sessions that there are no quick fixes or easy solutions here. Therefore, we need to look at how we set the path to begin the journey and identify future work activity and milestones.

Overall, 25 engagement discussions involving close to 250 people, representing a wide range of interests (Annex B - methodology summary) were held by the Scottish Community Safety Network and the Scottish Government. We are indebted to all who shared their time and their expertise. This report reflects the views, opinions and experiences from those discussions, and additional written feedback received.

The Scottish Government and its partners believe that everyone has the right to be, and feel, safe in their community and homes. Embedding change which will have a positive sustainable impact, requires a process of innovating, evaluating and building on success. We can also learn from challenging issues and sharing best practice.

What has come across very clearly during this engagement, is that prevention is better than cure and that working collaboratively in partnership is essential to finding long term solutions to address antisocial behaviour and make all of our communities safer and more welcoming places to live.

We all have a role to play in preventing and tackling antisocial behaviour and hope that this report will be used as the starting point of a much broader and deeper discussion of these issues, leading to a long-term road map of how we can work collectively to prevent and address antisocial behaviour in effective ways.

We can, and should, come together to address the mutual problems we face in our communities, but we will achieve little if we approach this in a way that is not properly considered, including the potential for unintended consequences, and therefore we need to develop structures which we can work within to achieve change and incrementally build on approaches which are proven to be successful.

As such, two recommendations arise from our assessment of the qualitative evidence:

Recommendation one

That Scottish Ministers, and statutory, non-statutory and voluntary sector service providers and communities themselves recognise that our approach to preventing and tackling antisocial behaviour needs to be a long-term approach (that recognises societal changes and evolves) and that we need to make a commitment to a programme of activity which will provide a framework that will guide us in taking forward this agenda in alignment with other linked national policies.

Recommendation two

An independently chaired group of experts, potentially including statutory, non-statutory and voluntary service providers, community representatives and other key interests should be brought together to develop a long-term framework for addressing antisocial behaviour.

This should have a strong focus on steps that can be taken to prevent antisocial behaviour from occurring as well as considering the effectiveness of current approaches to tackling the antisocial behaviour which occurs.

The findings in this and other relevant, existing reports should form the foundations of the group’s work and they should not be restricted in identifying what areas are most important to move this agenda forward, which could include considerations of the effectiveness of current legislation.

The group should be able to commission and gather evidence to support their work and have a free hand to engage with anyone who can support this agenda. Central to this work should be building broad support for any long-term work that the group proposes.



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