Making People Behave: Anti-Social Behaviour, Politics and Policy

Book Cover - Making People Behave Making People Behave: Anti-Social Behaviour, Politics and Policy 
 Elizabeth Burney, Willan Publishing,
 ISBN 1843921375 paperback, 17.99;
 ISBN 1843921383 hardback, £40


So much is written about antisocial behaviour and how the present government has tackled it that, to add value, a new book needs to promote different policy parameters or to showcase red-hot evaluations, writes Anthony Douglas.

Making People Behave does neither. But it is an excellent summary of the field for social policy students. The chapter on European trends is a strength and examples such as the use of mediation in Milton Keynes illustrate the value of investment in community-based approaches. The ways in which increasingly repressive social policies are transforming public policy in former liberal strongholds such as the Netherlands, also show that the recent unrest in Paris may be a sign of the future.

Burney’s conclusion is pessimistic. Most social problems stem from excluded and marginalised communities, and new communities of this nature are being created all the time. Social control, whether based on communitarianism or zero tolerance, can only limit damage.

Reclaiming the streets is never as convincing as reclaiming the home where the real terror takes place – one parameter that could be explored. Resourcing a strategy for combating domestic abuse and alcohol-related crime over a 20 year timescale would be a start.

Anthony Douglas is chief executive of Cafcass

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