Play rangers - not ASBOs - are what's needed

10 Dec 2007 by Sophy Hallam

ippr says that greater investment in playgrounds and play rangers could reduce offending by giving youngsters something constructive to do, while Asbos can be seen as something of a 'badge of honour' and do nothing to change the situation that the children or young people find themselves in, and which contribute towards their behaviour.

Cadence's experience of consultation in communities with anti social behaviour problems repeatedly uncovers the same story: "there's nothing for the youngsters to do around here - we need more for them to do".

We've also found examples of committed youth workers extending the remit of their roles to create innovative programmes which offer local children a safe place to go and something to do.  In most cases we find these staff talk about the fact that many of the kids they are working with don't feel safe - either at home or in their local community - and need the services they offer.

Talking to the local police often reinforces the fact that these services - open long hours, locally based, staffed with committed staff who like the kids they work with - make a real difference. Too often though we find it is these services that are fighting funding battles with no obvious funding stream and often on the brink of closure. 

Our experience supports the findings of the forthcoming ippr report that more constructive intervention would pay greater dividends.


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