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Anti Social Behaviour

The local media headlines of anti social behaviour caused by young people

2007 Anti Social Behaviour Report by Community Action Group

This report has been compiled by members of the community in response to The Safer St. Helier initiative. Our original remit was to use the Waterfront area for our research into Anti Social Behaviour and its underlying causes.

As a group, we felt that focussing our research on this area alone would imply (to the general public) that we were solely concerned with the issues that effected businesses and new developments in that area. With that in mind, we decided to focus on Peoples Park and the surrounding area and the influence young people have on the community by acts of Anti Social Behaviour.

Our findings from this focal study can be used broadly across the whole of St. Helier as it encompasses behaviour witnessed elsewhere. We also felt the Adult form of Anti Social Behaviour needs to be examined on its own merit as the means of our research would be different.

We are researching a form of behaviour that exists within a small percentage of the 7000 or so young people of Jersey. That it is only a small percentage needs to be applauded to recognise that Jersey's young people will, and can develop into citizens to be proud of. Someone, somewhere, must be doing something right.

Our aim is to make this small percentage even smaller and for it not to increase to levels of Anti Social Behaviour witnessed in UK cities.


The States of Jersey Alcohol Strategy (2001) recognises the role alcohol has in young person's lives and highlights the link between drinking and disorderly behaviour but fails to mention the methods and ease of obtaining alcohol and how it should be dealt with. It appears the accepted norm, even in this report, that alcohol supply to young people is going to happen.

With reference to Health Promotion Town Alcohol Project (2006) by Luke Shobbrook et all., 'Binge Drinkers' have become the focus of negative attention from the media and the general public, who consider their behaviour to be unacceptable.

From the same project report: Attitudes Towards Alcohol Use, young people recognise that without alcohol - they would just go home and if you misbehaved "its OK 'cause you're drunk but you should still be held responsible" was the comment from one young person. Drink has an influence on their moods - "if you're in a bad mood when you start, it just gets worse - if you're in a happy mood - you just get happier and happier".

The opinion of the young people is that you "can't stop young people drinking - whatever the situation - if there's a curfew or whatever - they will still go out and drink". Reviews of prevention initiatives have found that educational approaches do little to reduce heavy drinking by young people.

The Health Promotion Town Alcohol Project (2006) did not mention the effect that young peoples drinking behaviour has on the community as a whole, and even reflects 'that most young people come to no harm as a result of their alcohol use'.

The influence of alcohol has a very influential part to play in the anti social behaviour of both adults and young people. We have discovered during our research that the influence of alcohol plays a major part in the behaviour of young people that then allows them to release their inhibitions to get involved in situations that annoy the community to the level of the description of "Anti Social Behaviour".

We must recognise at this stage that not all young people are hell bent on causing trouble; they just want to hang out at various venues and to meet up and chill together. There are different social groups within the youth community that do have there own standards of dress and behaviour. What attracts one person to one group and not another is open to speculation. The groups we have come across are diverse in their make up, there are the Chav's, Goth's, Emo's, Townie's, Skater's, all of these groups do consume alcohol at some time or other.

There is a consensus of opinion within the youth community that the Chav's are the likely group to get involved in anti social behaviour as part of being a Chav....its their thing.

Violence and aggression is a result of intoxication in younger people (much the same as adults) - young girls are now becoming more prevalent in this form of behaviour which was primarily a male issue. Violence can be directed at friends and strangers alike.

Young people we have spoken to have been decent, respectful and mature in their attitude and very easy to talk to. Some had been drinking but were just happy and boisterous but, they did understand the concerns of adults about behaviour but mentioned that they felt adults didn't understand them or had forgotten how it was when they were younger and what they really got up to at their age.

Is it a case that as adults we have a selective memory process that shuts out the activities that were going on around us when we were younger, that by today's standards would be construed as Anti-Social?

The Media portrayal of young people's involvement in anti social behaviour is a means of sensationalist reporting. Young people do not have a voice to defend themselves against their critics; therefore any negative reporting by the Media goes undefended.

Young people are a soft target option for the Media who we believe are guilty of exploiting this. This further influences public opinion that the Anti Social ills of the community fall squarely on the younger generation.

With this back drop of Media coverage it is very difficult for young people to gain respect from the community and for the community to recognise there are issues that need to be addressed.

We must put into context the whole issue of Anti Social Behaviour…adults are the largest offenders of this offence. It is very difficult to condemn one social group for their behaviour without recognising the influence the more mature peer pressure group are having by their behaviour. A case of the kettle calling the pot black!

But it is important to recognise and state that there are deeper issues involved.
It appears we are in a communal vicious circle. The end result is Anti Social Behaviour that manifests itself to its conclusion by a series of causal factors.

To tackle the evolutionary trail of Anti Social Behaviour is a mammoth task and with the amount of time available to research this matter in any depth was way beyond the remit of our volunteer group.

We have only scratched the surface of these deeper issues and we would encourage an extension of this report to explore the evolutionary trail to its core development. To tackle anti social behaviour at its point of conception would be of greater benefit to the community as a whole but, more importantly, to the individual whose life may be blighted by this form of activity.

Children are the responsibility of their parents; some parents are negligent in that responsibility to the point of not bothering because it is too much like hard work, equally, the children themselves do know right from wrong and should shoulder some of the responsibility for their actions.

Parents play a pivotal role by demonstrating their own behaviour in alcohol use.

Referral to Education Departments Parenting Programme for information and advice must be encouraged and enforced if required, as an urgent means to address an issue.
The parenting program statistics are inconclusive as to how successful the program is as there are no means to measure the success or attendance rate.

Availability of Alcohol

How young people obtain there alcohol is matter of great concern, we have recognised the availability of alcohol and how it is obtained does raise some issues. We have discovered the methods of obtaining drink range from deceit, theft, intimidating and threatening behaviour to favours of an unsavoury nature with persons who are vulnerable to these forms of approach.

With regard to the unsavoury nature employed to coerce someone into the role of purchasing alcohol, we are concerned at the level of harm male and female participants who take part in this sort of coercion are actually exposing themselves to.

The Licensing Unit with only two members to police the licensing trade are severely under staffed. We believe this situation need to be addressed as a matter of urgency if we wish to control the supply of alcohol to under age drinkers. Training is currently available for Licensee's and their staff on a voluntary basis. We believe the training requirement should be compulsory with a form of I.D. issued to the member of staff who has attended the course. This I.D. will then be on show much the same way as a PSV Badge is. Only the person with this form of I.D. can be permitted to sell alcohol.

An examination of the criteria for punitive action against individuals who knowingly supply alcohol to under age drinkers and the way the courts (not parish hall enquiries) deal with the offenders and the level of fines imposed are not viewed as stringent enough. A punitive action of "three strikes and you're out" should be employed against licensees with regard to their alcohol licence.

During 2006, only three convictions for selling alcohol to people under age were successfully dealt with by the Courts. All three convictions took place on the same day with little or no publicity. We have to accept that to deal with the issue of illegally supplying alcohol to under age drinkers, the Courts must make an example and the Media must play its part in fair reporting of this offence.

What deterrence is there? A few hundred pounds fine to a shop is nothing but a slap on the wrist. It can be demoralising for the Licensing Unit and the General Public to see the lack of convictions and appropriate penalties imposed.

The Licensing trade needs to be reminded of its responsibilities in respect of alcohol sales to under age drinkers through the educational approach adopted by the under staffed Licensing Unit.

The Magistrates Court is the only place to deal with these offences in a proper manner.
A fine of £2000 imposed on anyone who has purchased or aided and abetted the purchase of alcohol to under age drinkers must be imposed with no reduction. Warning signs of the illegality of purchasing alcohol for persons under age and the penalties imposed should be displayed at off licences in English, Portuguese and Polish.


There are no procedures in place to record under age drinking when a young person has committed an offence. This data would be crucial in establishing the direct influence alcohol plays in Anti Social Behaviour offences. It would also give guidance in understanding behavioural problems developing within young persons groups.

The ease and, in some cases, extreme measures that some young people will go to obtain alcohol needs to be addressed. We believe that if more stringent control or tightening up of existing procedures were put in place to combat the relative ease of obtaining alcohol, then under age drinking habits will be put under some form of measurable control.

To this end, we would recommend the banning of consuming alcohol in specific public areas. This would also go some way to addressing the adult element of Anti Social Behaviour. We recognise there would need to be the Political will and a change in existing law to implement this change, not to mention the demand on Police man power to enforce this ban.

If this ban was implemented, we believe there would be a huge shift away from drink related Anti Social Behaviour, especially amongst the young.

Street Based Youth Workers are paramount to the success of any form of informal contact with young people as they do not feel intimidated by the casual approach employed by these youth workers and a bond of trust and understanding is formed. We believe this form of contact should be encouraged and enhanced. It can sometimes be the only means of getting the views and opinions of the individual groups concerned that are important for any feedback at all. More importantly, it can help the young people out there who may be vulnerable to certain situations that friendly advice from a youth worker may alter the actions of an individual or a group.

We have discovered that not all young people wish to frequent youth clubs, as they feel that they want their freedom to express themselves away from the confines of an organised, structured establishment. However, we do recognise the role youth clubs have within the younger community and those that frequent them ask why they are not open on a Saturday night when more of their friends are out looking for something to do. This will help to encourage participation and continuity in the youth club scene.

Saturday night opening of youth clubs will help to deter young people from moving into areas where problems already exist and being influenced by the behaviour of other groups.

Our research highlights the effect on the community by young people's drinking behaviour and how we feel it should be tackled - not just reasoned with. Existing research refers to educational measures only - that does not work on its own, if at all. A ban on drinking in public places will go a long way to discourage this sort of behaviour. Whether the authorities are keen to do this remains to be seen. The problem with any law is the enforcement and the will to enforce. The first crucial step is the Political will.

We believe any of the measures mentioned in this report will have a positive impact on Anti Social Behaviour perpetrated by Adults and Young People alike.


Chair, ASB Community Action Group.

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