No witch-hunt here

July 22, 2005

Your report from the British Society of Criminology conference ("Academics slam antisocial policy", July 15) gave a very one-sided account of the discussions on antisocial behaviour. Several sessions were devoted to the topic and a number of contributors made the point that, whatever the shortcomings of government policy, there is a problem of antisocial behaviour in many communities. Good-quality research is needed to understand the nature of the problem and the impacts that different responses to it are having. Attention-grabbing assertions that call measures to control antisocial behaviour "witch-hunts" do little to help criminological understanding of a major contemporary social issue.

David Prior

Institute of Applied Social Studies

Birmingham University

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