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  • Author or Editor: Peter Squires x
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The years covered by this chapter saw five prime ministers, five home secretaries and six justice secretaries as the Conservative government struggled with internal factions, international crises and repeated instabilities largely of its own making. Boris Johnson’s attempted ‘reset’, Brexit-themed manifesto of 2019 promised to ‘take back control’. It paved the way towards the Beating Crime Plan of 2021, but only began to produce legislative outputs as Johnson’s term of office was drawing to a self-induced premature close. Yet the attempt to return to ‘Tory basics’ on crime was undermined by an austerity legacy that had seen policing numbers cut, staff shortages in the Crown Prosecution Service, Courts Service and penal system that together made it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the manifesto promises on, for instance, knife crime, violence against women and antisocial behaviour. Towards the end of the period, the pandemic, the refugee crisis and further policing controversies tested the government’s competence still further as it backed deeper into a familiar ideological ‘law and order’ corner.

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This chapter notes that in five years of the coalition government law, order and criminal justice apparently slipped from the front page to a back burner. It draws attention to some striking parallels between the Conservative Thatcher government and the coalition (such as being confronted by significant popular discontent and disorder), but also some major differences (austerity cuts, a difficult relationship with the police, and a continuing apparent fall in overall crime). It points to ‘governing strategies’ with a series of ‘system priorities’ that included: bringing greater efficiency and effectiveness to policing, improving the effectiveness and outcomes from community justice, cutting the cost of legal aid and addressing the crisis of the inexorably rising prison population. It concludes that by the end of the coalition’s five year term of office the government was close to completing a wide-ranging restructuring of the justice system producing a selective, segmented and more localised system of regulation specified for differing problems of governance, deviance, compliance, criminality, risk and threat.

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The criminalisation of nuisance
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Anti-social behaviour (ASB) has been a major preoccupation of New Labour’s project of social and political renewal, with ASBOs a controversial addition to crime and disorder management powers. Thought by some to be a dangerous extension of the power to criminalise, by others as a vital dimension of local governance, there remains a concerning lack of evidence as to whether or not they compound social exclusion.

This collection, from an impressive panel of contributors, brings together opinion, commentary, research evidence, professional guidance, debate and critique in order to understand the phenomenon of anti-social behaviour. It considers the earliest available evidence in order to evaluate the Government’s ASB strategy, debates contrasting definitions of anti-social behaviour and examines policy and practice issues affected by it.

Contributors ask what the recent history of ASB governance tells us about how the issue will develop to shape public and social policies in the years to come. Reflecting the perspectives of practitioners, victims and perpetrators, the book should become the standard text in the field.

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Critical perspectives on policy and practice
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Community safety emerged as a new approach to tackling and preventing local crime and disorder in the late 1980s and was adopted into mainstream policy by New Labour in the late ‘90s. Twenty years on, it is important to ask how the community safety agenda has evolved and developed within local crime and disorder prevention strategies. This book provides the first sustained critical and theoretically informed analysis by leading authorities in the field. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of the community safety legacy, posing challenging questions, such as how and why has community safety policy making become such a contested terrain? What are the different issues at stake for ‘provider’ versus ‘consumer’ interests in community safety policy? Who are the winners and losers and where are the gaps in community safety policy making? Do new priorities mean that we have seen the rise and now the fall of community safety?

The book provides answers to these questions by exploring a wide range of topics relating to community safety policy and practice, including: anti-social behaviour strategies; victims’ perspectives on community safety; race, racism and policing; safety and social exclusion; domestic violence; substance misuse; community policing; and organised crime.

“Community safety” is primarily aimed at academics and students working in the areas of criminology and local policy making. However, it will also be of interest to community safety and crime prevention practitioners who need to have a critical understanding of the development and likely future direction of community safety programmes.

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Peter Squires emphasises a longer and more subtle evolution of welfare as ‘workfare’ and social discipline in the UK than appears in Wacquant’s analysis but also introduces a key theme of resistance and disorder: on the one hand the Hobbesian ‘war of all against all’ but also the violences that obstructs development and the violences of the state which often provoke resistance. He argues that Wacquant tends to under-estimate resistance. In this respect Squires refers to Francis Fox Piven’s critique of Wacquant’s relative side-lining of the role of, for example, gangs as collective actors – forms of governance from below.

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This chapter observes that the emergence of a substantive concern with what became known as ‘community safety’ policy marked a significant shift in forms of local and national governance. It notes that this shift had far-reaching implications for local authorities, for crime and disorder management, for the politics of community, for social policy, and for the variety of agencies (the police, local authorities, probation, Drug Action Teams, witness support services, and so on) that following the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, came to form the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRPs), charged with the responsibility of delivering local crime and disorder reduction strategy.

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This chapter develops an argument on the awkward parallels and contrasts between the uses of a discourse of ‘respect’ as a policy tool and the notions of ‘street respect’. There seems to be an irony in the fact that the issue of ‘respect governance’ emerged at a time when a street discourse of ‘respect’ was coming to be increasingly associated with urban youth violence. At a time when the government was insisting on a new form and culture of respect as a solution to the crime and disorder problems, it has been instructive to reflect upon the ways in which some of the ‘least respected’ appeared to negotiate this scarce commodity among themselves. In addition to comparing the two discourses of respect and disrespect, the chapter also reflects on some of the issues that may define these discourses.

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Anti-social behaviour (ASB) was a major preoccupation of New Labour’s project of social and political renewal, with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) a controversial addition to crime and disorder management powers. Thought by some to be a dangerous extension of the power to criminalise, by others as a vital dimension of local governance, there remains a concerning lack of evidence as to whether or not they compound social exclusion. This collection brings together opinion, commentary, research evidence, professional guidance, debate and critique in order to understand the phenomenon of anti-social behaviour. It considers the earliest available evidence in order to evaluate the British government’s ASB strategy, debates contrasting definitions of ASB and examines policy and practice issues affected by it. Chapters ask what the recent history of ASB governance tells us about how the issue will develop to shape public and social policies in the years to come.

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Anti-social behaviour (ASB) was a major preoccupation of New Labour’s project of social and political renewal, with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) a controversial addition to crime and disorder management powers. Thought by some to be a dangerous extension of the power to criminalise, by others as a vital dimension of local governance, there remains a concerning lack of evidence as to whether or not they compound social exclusion. This collection brings together opinion, commentary, research evidence, professional guidance, debate and critique in order to understand the phenomenon of anti-social behaviour. It considers the earliest available evidence in order to evaluate the British government’s ASB strategy, debates contrasting definitions of ASB and examines policy and practice issues affected by it. Chapters ask what the recent history of ASB governance tells us about how the issue will develop to shape public and social policies in the years to come.

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Anti-social behaviour (ASB) was a major preoccupation of New Labour’s project of social and political renewal, with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) a controversial addition to crime and disorder management powers. Thought by some to be a dangerous extension of the power to criminalise, by others as a vital dimension of local governance, there remains a concerning lack of evidence as to whether or not they compound social exclusion. This collection brings together opinion, commentary, research evidence, professional guidance, debate and critique in order to understand the phenomenon of anti-social behaviour. It considers the earliest available evidence in order to evaluate the British government’s ASB strategy, debates contrasting definitions of ASB and examines policy and practice issues affected by it. Chapters ask what the recent history of ASB governance tells us about how the issue will develop to shape public and social policies in the years to come.

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