Headlines: May 9th, 2006

Most people in Britain believe anti-social behaviour problems here are the worst in Europe and our European neighbours agree, according to research conducted with help from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at University College London and published today. The study, commissioned by leading electronic fire and security solutions company ADT shows eight out of ten Britons believe anti-social behaviour is getting worse.Today’s figures reveal that 83 per cent of people in this country perceive anti-social behaviour as a growing problem and the view is reflected in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Of the 7,000 people taking part in the survey across Europe, 76 per cent thought Britain had a problem – more than any other country.

‘Booze’ culture is seen as being at the root of the issue with 68 per cent of respondents believing that alcohol was a key contributor. A perceived breakdown of discipline in homes and schools was rated as an influencing factory by 79 per cent of those questioned and nearly half thought stricter sentencing would help reduce the problem. Three quarters of people said young people from 14 to 25 were most associated with anti-social behaviour but six out of ten people said they would be unlikely to challenge a group of 14 year old boys vandalising a bus shelter.

Professor Gloria Laycock of the Jill Dando Institute said the research was a wake-up call. “We know anti-social behaviour is a major issue in Great Britain and the rest of Europe clearly agrees. The study shows people believe it is fuelled by the excessive consumption of alcohol. Increasing our access to alcohol cannot be the answer and it is time that the Government addressed perceptions of this problem,” she said.

ADT’s Managing Director in Europe & South Africa, Adrian Casey, said the perceptions in and beyond Britain, were worrying. “Government and policy makers may challenge them with statistics on crime and disorder, but as a nation we don’t believe this situation is under control. We have to seriously ask what sort of reception our fans travelling to the football World Cup and Brits on holiday abroad will receive when the rest of Europe perceives us to have such a problem with troublemakers,” he added.

The way Britain was viewed across Europe needed to be tackled and understanding the way people perceive the issue would help to develop more successful strategies for dealing with it. “Broader strategies involving the public, business and authorities are required to tackle the problem, but also to change perceptions like these which are crucial in influencing how people behave, “he said.

An overview and full results for all the countries involved in the study is available at http://www.adteurope.com/