This morning I awoke to hear a lady on the BBC’s Today Programme talk of intervening in ‘anti-social behavour’.
She told how she trains people to do so appropriately, effectively and without confrontation.
She was interviewed because the RSA says we need to learn to do more of this ourselves, now that police forces are facing cuts.
Paul McKeever of the Police Federation opposed the idea. He says the police don’t have the resources to train people and that, in any case, it tackles the symptoms instead of the cause.
I also heard him say that situations could be volatile and that it was irresponsible (my words) to train people as ‘have-a-go heroes’.
I can’t comment on police resources, although there seem to be organisations other than the police that can do this sort of assertiveness training.
Certainly I agree that encouraging ‘have-a-go-heroes’ is unlikely to be in anyone’s interest.
I also agree about tackling underlying problems (though if we get better at engaging with people in the first place we might find that some of those underlying problems simply disappear).
But surely it doesn’t hurt to improve our social skills?
An initiative that helps people understand and respond to each other better seems like a good thing to me.
I for one wish I had more confidence to intervene.
I think we can make a profound difference if we learn to judge situations better, are confident to be a little braver in who we talk to and have the strength of character to do that with less prejudice than we might.