When it comes to behaviour, isn’t it time for young people to be seen and heard
Lees, Michael John
At the start of this research in September 2010, reported crime in general and specifically in the borough of Fairfield in London, continued to fall, and this included youth crime (Metropolitan Police 2010). Fairfield has replaced the name of the actual Borough. Despite this there was a perceived problem by many of those in authority and the community of Fairfield, of greatly increased anti-social behaviour and criminality involving young people. This resulted in anti-social behaviour orders being imposed and the increased use of exclusion zones as a tactic to reduce this behaviour. It would be unwise to go as far as to deny that the behaviour of the young is problematic; but the criminalisation of this behaviour ensures that its causes, and indeed, its objectives, recede into the background (Smith 2003: p188). \ud To deal with this perceived level of crime there was a heavy emphasis in terms of police time and budget on catching and punishing offenders as a way of dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour as opposed to preventing the offending. There was also in the opinion of the author, but with academic support, a lack of understanding of what worked to positively influence the behaviour of young people. From talking to young people through his work this included in the home, school, and within the criminal justice system. This was combined with a belief that young people were neither consulted, nor listened to on the rare occasions they were spoken to. \ud This work will look to answer the following questions: \ud • Why ‘society’ has the perception it does about young people concerning criminal and poor behaviour. \ud • What governments have sought to do to achieve a level of control of such behaviour through legislation and policy, the theoretical support for this, and whether these are the most effective policies considering all the factors in the young people’s lives. \ud • Finally it will look to examine what young people feel are the things that effect their behaviour in a positive or negative way in the home, in school, and in the community. \ud The opinions of the young people were obtained through surveys conducted over three years which were analysed using SPSS, together with one to one interviews and group discussions. Taken together, this provided sufficient information on which to base analysis and conclusions concerning behaviour and the most effective interventions in Fairfield and beyond.