Anti-Social Behaviour Questionaire Results

Results From Anti-Social Behaviour Questionnaire in Bethnal Green and Bow

Tackling Youth Disorder in Bethnal Green and Bow

Oona King MP has consulted local residents about their experience of anti-social behaviour and youth disorder, and has asked for suggestions on what action should be taken to tackle this problem.

Approximately 300 questionnaires (appendix 1) were produced and circulated to constituents who had contacted Oona over the previous year about anti-social behaviour and related issues. Constituents also received an invitation to a meeting with the Home Secretary, the Borough Commander and the Tower Hamlets Director of Education.

The meeting was hosted by Oona, and held at Portcullis House Westminster on the 17th July 2003, and around 150 local residents attended. More details of the meeting can be found at in the Anti-socail behaviour section. At the end of the meeting questionnaires were collected, and some further copies handed out.

Further questionnaires were completed over the next few months during door to door campaigning, and some continued to come in by post. A small number of questionnaires were printed off the internet (available at www.oonaking.com) and sent in to Oona at the House of Commons. In total, 231 questionnaires were received.

Summary

• 231 questionnaires received.

• Most respondents listed drugs and gangs as the biggest problem.

• 79% of respondents had a problem with gangs, and 67% had been confronted by a gang.

• A majority of respondents did not contact the police after suffering ASB. For those who did, very few reports resulted in charges and prosecutions.

• Just over half of respondents did not contact any other organisation after suffering ASB.

• 54% of people who returned questionnaires believed that drugs were involved in gang problems. The majority of respondents could not tell which drug was involved.

• The best solution to ASB, according to the respondents, is to increase the number of police on the beat and to offer more facilities (e.g. youth clubs) to young people.

• Drug misuse and a lack of parental control were given as the main causes of ASB.

• The most common effect of ASB on peoples’ daily lives was the creation of ‘No Go’ zones.

Detailed results

231 questionnaires were returned. The difference between this figure and the number of answers per question is due to the fact that some questions involved multiple answers, whilst others did not require an answer (depending on the answer to the previous question).

Question 1

What types of anti-social behaviour cause the biggest problem in your area?

Gangs - 75

Drugs - 82

Noise - 36

Verbal Abuse - 16

Vandalism - 61

prostitution - 12

Litter - 19

Theft - 29

Violence - 31

Groups of Youths - 42

Cars - 20

The answers given have been divided up into categories. The results clearly show that drugs and gangs are by far the most serious problems affecting the people who took part in the survey.

Question 2

Do you have a problem with GANG activity in your area? If yes, approx how many people are in the gang? What is their age range?

The vast majority 164 out of 209 (79%) respondents said that they did have a problem with gang activity in their area. The general age for gang members was around 15 - 22, however children as young as 8 were mentioned. The size of the gangs started at around 5 or 6, and went as high as 20+.

Question 3

If Yes (question 2), have you, or someone you know, been confronted by a gang? What happened?

Again the majority of the respondents said that they had been confronted by a gang, 126 out of 187 (67%).

Quotes From the Questionnaire

'My Grandson had his mobile phone & house keys taken by knifepoint. Had his motorcycle stolen by knifepoint from the ‘Greenway’'

'I was attacked by a group of Asian teenagers when I found then vandalising the lift. They spat over me and threw stones.'

'Elderly man asked to give cigar to young Asian lad. When he refused another lad pulled a retractable cosh from his sleeve. They did not use it but pushed him over.'

'The gang jumped over the wall into my garden, vandalised my tree and were looking into my house (I had left the back door open).'

'Loud music makes it very hard to hear the T.V. or radio, even with the windows closed we struggle to be able to hear'

Question 4

Did you notify the Police? Were charges brought? Was anyone convicted?

Almost half the people who had experienced problems with gangs did not notify the police of what had happened. Of the 76 people who informed the police only 5 saw charges brought and only 2 had conviction on their case.

It is worth noting that there were a lot of answers like ‘?????’ and ‘not that I know’ to the second two parts of the question. This would indicate that the police are failing to keep people informed of their progress (or lack of it).

Question 5 Did you notify any other agency? If yes, which?

Only 46 of the 117 people who responded to this question (39%) said that they had contacted another agency. The top answers for those who did included the constituent’s MP (Oona King or Jim Fitzpatrick) (6). Other popular answers included the council (5), housing association (5) and the estate managers (3). A number of other agencies got single mentions.

Question 6

Were Drugs involved? Yes No To the best of your knowledge, which drugs? Heroin Crack-cocaine Cannabis Other Yes - 56 No - 32 Do not Know - 44

It is worth noting that the only two options on the questionnaire were yes and no and then the list of possible drugs. However many of the respondents wrote that either they were unaware of whether drugs were involved. Most respondents said that if drugs were involved they did not know or could not tell what these drugs were.

Question 7

Are you aware of any organisations or individuals trying to tackle the problem in your area?

The majority of respondents, 78 out of 145 (54%), did not know of any organisations that were trying to tackle problems in their area.

Those respondents who were able to answer gave a wide range of responses to this question. The police got a lot of comments, although as many were sarcastic as serious. The top answers (5 each) were Youth Groups, ASB units, Wardens, Docklands Outreach and residents’ committees/neighbourhood watches. Other groups with multiple responses were church groups, social services, anti-drug teams.

Question 8

In your view, what do you think could help tackle the problem of gangs / young people hanging around?

There were no suggested answers for this section; so all responses were given by the people answering the questionnaire. The top two answers were the provision of more police (44) and the provision or more places for teenagers to go, such as youth clubs and sports teams (44). Other popular answers included more wardens (27), CCTV (27), stronger powers for the police (18), security of buildings (13) and the need for more jobs in the area (10). Less common answers included the need for improved education (9), more social workers (8), the promotion of racial equality (6), improved lighting (4) and the idea that we should reintroduce national service (2).

Causes:

Please choose what you think are the top three causes of gang activity in Tower Hamlets (either tick the boxes below, or add your own). Drug misuse Unemployment Lack of Parental Control Lack of appropriate youth services Peer pressure/ lack of appropriate role models Overcrowded housing (pushing young people onto the streets) Inadequate education Other(*) _________________________________

Drug misuse - 138 Unemployment - 78 Lack of Parental Control - 144 Lack of appropriate youth services - 100 Peer pressure/ lack of appropriate role models - 76 Overcrowded housing (pushing young people onto the streets - 58 Inadequate education - 74 Other - 29

As the table shows lack of parental control was given as the top answer for the cause of the problem. However, it is worth paying attention to the additional answers which were provided under the category “Other *”. 13 respondents said that there was an insufficient or inadequate Police presence. 7 respondents pointed out that there was a problem with the interaction between poverty, self-confidence and respect. The lack of inter-agency co-ordination, racial tension and truancy were also noted by a handful of people.

What is the impact for you, or your family, of gang activity? E.g. – does it affect when you go out, or whether you avoid certain areas?

The most common answer by far was the creation of ‘no go’ areas, and that people were afraid to leave their flats and houses after dark. This appears to affect the elderly in particular, who perceive themselves to be the target of intimidation. Other problems include a more general fear of crime. There were also several people who had been long-term residents of Tower Hamlets who felt that the only option open to them was to leave the area.

Quotes from the Questionnaire

'We generally don’t leave the house after 6pm, and avoid walking the streets, taking cabs everywhere.'

'I always avoid certain streets and areas.'

'When I see a group of boys sitting on the bench its best to use another route home.'

'It affects my children more than myself as before they could play out with friends, but now they are kept at home for their safety.'

'It means that throughout the summer I can’t open my windows at night because of the noise and invasion of privacy.'

Appendix 1

Anti-Social Behaviour Questionnaire TOWER HAMLETS ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR QUESTIONAIRE

Please answer as many questions as you can, but don't worry if you can't answer some of them. If you want to include additional information, continue on the back page, or a new page with your name marked clearly on it. Please write as clearly as possible, if we can't read your handwriting, we can't include your views.

For Yes / No answers, circle as appropriate. [ANY INFORMATION YOU GIVE WILL REMAIN ANONYMOUS, if we want to contact you, it is helpful to have your details although, if you prefer, you don't need to include your name.]

Name:

Address: (if relevant) estate:

Contact Number: (if available) e-mail:

Q.1 What types of anti-social behaviour cause the biggest problems in your area?

Q.2 Do you have a problem with GANG activity in your area? Y N

If yes, approx how many people are in the gang? What is their age-range?

Q.3 If yes, have you, or someone you know, been confronted by a gang? Y N

What happened? (Continue on back page if necessary)

How many people were involved?

Q.4 Did you notify the police? Y N [Were charges brought? Y N] [Was anyone convicted? Y N]

Q.5 Did you notify any other agency? Y N

If Yes, which? ____________________

Q.6 Were drugs involved? Y N

To the best of your knowledge, which drugs?

Heroin : Crack-cocaine : Cannabis : Other: ________________________

Q.7 Are you aware of any organisations or individuals trying to tackle the problem in your area? Y N

If yes, please name: __________________________________

Solutions: [Any useful suggestions will be forwarded to the Home Secretary]

Q.8 In your view, what do you think could help tackle the problem of gangs / young people hanging around? (Continue on back)

1.

2.

3.

Causes:

Please choose what you think are the top three causes of gang activity in Tower Hamlets (either circle below, or add your own)

-Drug misuse -Unemployment -Lack of parental control -Lack of appropriate youth services -Peer pressure / lack of appropriate role models -Overcrowded housing (pushing young people onto the streets) -Inadequate education -Other____________________________________________

What is the impact for you, or your family, of gang activity? E.g., does it affect when you go out, or whether you avoid certain areas?

Thank you for taking the time to fill in this questionnaire. Return to Oona King MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or fax to 0207 219 2798 Additional information (state which question number)