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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Bad behaviour 'worst in Europe'
Revellers on a night out
Many blamed alcohol for anti-social behaviour
The UK and France are perceived to have the worst problems with anti-social behaviour in Europe, a survey suggests.

People in six nations were asked where there were big or moderate problems.

Some 76% said the UK faced concerns, followed by France on 75%, with the Netherlands - cited by 44% - seen as the least-affected.

But the survey of 7,047 people by TNS for security firm ADT showed all nations saw themselves as having "significant" difficulties.

Criminologists said governments would need to scrutinise crime survey data and police records to determine whether the survey was reflective of a "real and growing" problem across the European Union.

Role models

Anti-social behaviour was seen as being on the rise by residents of France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

In Italy, residents saw it as a problem, although not a growing one.

When asked about the scale of the problem in their own country, people thought it was worse than other countries believed it to be.

UK: 76%
France: 75%
Germany: 61%
Italy: 52%
Spain: 51%
The Netherlands: 44%
Percentage classifying the concern as big or moderate

The under-25s were most associated with anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and rowdiness, with most respondents feeling parents were responsible for making sure their children did not become involved.

Lack of discipline and absence of positive role models were seen as the most significant contributing factors to anti-social behaviour.

After that, the respondents, who were aged between 16 and 64, gave varying reasons.

Some 68% of UK respondents saw alcohol as a factor, while Germans mentioned unemployment, and social or cultural tensions were highlighted in France and the Netherlands.

Germans were the likeliest to confront vandals, but UK respondents were the most wary with 64% indicating they would be reluctant.

Overall, some 48% of the people surveyed said they would not challenge a group of 14-year-old boys vandalising a bus stop.

Professor Gloria Laycock, Director of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science University College London said the finding was "worrying".

"Given that there is general consensus that the better way to deal with crime and disorder is through methods of informal social control, rather than the criminal justice system, there is a pressing need for further work to follow up this result," she said.

Your comments:

I disagree that alcohol is the main cause of anti-social behaviour. I think that there is a much more fundamental problem, society has changed, and people no longer have the same respect for their fellow man. People are bored, especially those in deprived areas, and often anti-social behaviour offers something to do. The Government needs to take a serious look at what is happening with our society and stop blaming problems on a so called 'binge' culture.
Tom, Feltham

This is a problem that will only get worse. Police to not react to calls regarding noisy and abusive young people. You feel you wish to wade in but know you will be arrested not them! You are powerless, they are all powerful backed up by the law! The law needs to wake up and harsh penalties need to be applied to shock these yobs into line, why should the majority suffer?
Neil, Ringwood, UK

I am a teaching assistant in a primary school. Everyone blames schools, but our hands are tied. We mustn't touch, remove or detain children. So where is the discipline? No one at home really cares, as long as they are at school and out of the way. There is little support from parents. The only parental support is from the well-children. Don't they know discipline starts at home. Just 'please' or 'thank you' seems to be beyond children's capabilities these days.
Sue Paine, Northampton UK

This survey confirms my worst fears. The barmy politically correct brigade must now admit their policies were wrong. Only by bringing back proper discipline at both home and in the schools can things be made better.
Ralph, Southend

With few first-hand street level experiences in Europe I find this staggering. As a young American I have wondered about daily life in European states and this certainly indicates that they have their share of social ills. Very curious now to see similar data compared in the USA.
Ken, Portland, OR, USA

It seems that "we" have done this to ourselves. Since the successful passage of the "Good Samaritan" laws, people seem to be reluctant to help. When you have a society that can punish the "helpers" equally with the perpetrators, people can (and do) turn the other way.
Lawrie Porter, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.

The Government are obsessed with ASBOs and quite frankly have pressured the police into using them. It appears that common sense approaches are ignored in favour of the ASBO when you look at some of the pathetic orders which have been enforced.
Marc, UK

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