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Teachers: Citizenship: Criminal justice system

Last Updated: Thursday February 02 2006 17:12 GMT


Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Crime and justice

On 7 February the BBC News website is holding a live laptop link-up between a school in Northampton and one in Germany. Pupils are exchanging their opinions and experiences on issues around respect and anti-social behaviour. Follow the link on the right.


Respect logo
The UK Government's Respect Action Plan aims to start a virtuous cycle. It's hoped that with more people showing respect for others, anti-social behaviour will decline.

Students discuss ways of improving young people's behaviour and reducing youth crime.

Learning aims

  • What is anti-social behaviour?

  • Approaches to youth crime prevention.

  • Discuss and present their own solutions.


    Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "What lies at the heart of (anti-social) behaviour is a lack of respect for values that almost everyone in this country shares - consideration for others, a recognition that we all have responsibilities as well as rights, civility and good manners."

    Ask the class:

  • Are they ever annoyed or upset by other people's thoughtless behaviour? What sort of things cause problems?

  • Which of these problems do they consider to be serious anti-social behaviour?

  • Make a whole class list, and working as a group, rank the annoying behaviour from most to least anti-social.

  • Do they know what an anti-social behaviour order is?

  • Lots of young people have received ASBOs. At what age do the group think that children should be held criminally responsible? Prompt: Age is 10 in the UK.

  • Will anti-social behaviour orders help young people to stay within the law and treat others with respect?

    Main activity

    Litter in a park
    In groups, students make a list of their top five ways to prevent young people from behaving anti-socially and breaking the law.

    Suggestions include:

    • Fines for kids' parents
    • Curfews
    • Electronic tagging
    • Imprisonment for offenders
    • Community service
    • Making offenders meet their victims
    • Lessons about the importance of respect
    For the top two suggestions on their list they should:
    • State three points in favour of their use
    • State three against.

    Students then write and rehearse a three-minute sketch to illustrate how their top suggestion would work in practice.

    Extension activity

    Read the Press Pack report

    Ask the class:

  • How do youth clubs and community schemes help reduce youth crime?

  • In what ways can parents do more to help cut crime?

  • Are there any schemes that have been, or could be, set up in the local area?

    Teachers' Background

    The respect action plan

    The government has published an "action plan" designed to deal with what it calls a lack of respect among a minority of Britons. Proposals for young people include:

  • Subsidies to encourage volunteering.

  • The expansion of mentoring projects such as the Sports Champions programme.

  • Targeting disadvantaged young people through sport and art by working with organisations like Sport England and Arts Council England.

  • There are also plans to pilot a new Youth Opportunity Card which can be used for discounts on activities. They will be topped up with financial credits to encourage youngsters, but docked for anti-social behaviour.

    Lessons in respect

    A new approach to tackling anti-social behaviour is being piloted in primary schools in Fife. The Being Cool in School programme puts emphasis on respect for other people and on social skills. Even the youngest children learning lessons in empathy.

    Dealing with young offenders

    70% of all crimes that affect ordinary people are committed by a small number of young men - almost all of whom begin offending in their teens.

    The options for dealing with young offenders are chosen from a scale linked to the severity of the crimes committed, they include:

  • Prevention schemes - the teams organise activities and supervision to keep the children away from drugs and criminality.

  • Community sentences - include a meeting between victim and criminal or an order to carry out work to repair damage done. More than 5,000 reparation orders have been made since June 2000.

  • Intensive supervision - full surveillance of the offender through electronic tagging and personal visits.

  • Custody and training - from March 2000 to March 2001 approximately 6,600 young offenders ended up on a Detention and Training Order (DTO) which aims to punish and rehabilitate in equal measure. A DTO can last between four and 24 months with half the time spent in custody and the remaining half in community rehabilitation.

  • Anti-social behaviour orders:

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