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Public could help fight low-level crime – RSA

The public should be given lessons in how to tackle anti-social behaviour, a new report suggests.

The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) charitable think tank believes this could help to get local people involved in managing low-level crime and aggressive behaviour on the streets, especially after cuts to the police are resulting in a lower frontline presence. 

Training could be provided by police officers or volunteers, the RSA proposed, but the Police Federation said that officers do not have the resources to offer such training. 

The training could include self-protection and restraint, physical steps to minimise risk, practice on how to ‘read’ a situation, and how to react, with conflict resolution and mediation, the report states.

Public and frontline public servants could benefit, the RSA said. 

Author Ben Rogers said that with “the real prospect of traditional police patrolling being scaled back” it was time to “focus seriously on agreeing the core skills that active citizens need”. 

The report concludes: “While public concern for low-level disorder remains high, citizens have little or no confidence to intervene.” 

Paul McKeever from the Police Federation, who is also a member of the RSA, told Radio 4’s Today programme that while the report contained positive ideas, the police did not have the resources to “take this additional burden on”. 

He said: “What we’re dealing with here is perhaps the symptoms of some much more deep-rooted problems within society. You need to deal with those problems rather than just skimming the surface and dealing with some of the anti-social behaviour that presents itself out there on the streets.” 

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