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An Effective Practices Outline for the School Resource Officer Approach

Of the problems which most affect neighbourhoods up and down the country, antisocial behaviour – covering as it does a whole complex of thoughtless, inconsiderate
or malicious activity – has perhaps the greatest potential to blight the quality of
community life. Every week I hear of aggressive or loutish behaviour which can cause
something close to despair among people who are forced to put up with it. Antisocial behaviour is never victimless, and too often the victims are the elderly, the
minorities, the poor, and the vulnerable.
But as a society we can fight back. And you, the practitioners to whom this
guidance is primarily addressed, are the people who can lead that fight back.
Recognising the extent and urgency of the problem is the first step; working in
partnership with each other, bringing to bear a co-ordinated and strategic approach
to the problem, is the next; and using the full range of instruments available to you is
the third. And this guidance note is intended to help you to make the most effective
possible use of two of the most important of the weapons in your armoury – the antisocial behaviour order or ASBO, and the acceptable behaviour contract or ABC.
This Government brought in the ASBO in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It
represented a completely new approach to the problem, bringing the flexibility of civil
law procedures to bear on perpetrators while ensuring that the strength of the
criminal law was brought into play in case of breach. Although they have had a
comparatively short life, they have already had a real impact in reducing anti-social
behaviour and protecting individuals and communities. But the procedures have not
been trouble-free. Too often, the process of applying for an ASBO has been
protracted and expensive, while the remedy available has not always proved
adequate. We have listened to practitioners, and brought forward a major package
of changes in the Police Reform Act 2002. This guidance sets out to explain exactly
what those changes are and how they can help.