Would you intervene?

March 30, 2010, 12:17 AM GMT+0

As both of the major parties are putting tackling anti-social behaviour high on their list of priorities on the next election, we added a few questions to the end of a poll to discover how people respond to direct interactions with anti-social behaviour.

69% of adult Britons claim that they would intervene if they saw an old lady being mugged. In response to the following question, 40% said they would intervene, prepared to use physical force if necessary, while 29% said they would intervene, but would not use physical force:

“You are walking down a street at 8pm. There are a few people about. You see a heavily-set man mugging an old lady. What do you think, in reality, you would be most likely to do?”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, only one in four women claim that they would be prepared to use force in this scenario, in contrast with 56% of men.


However, only one in ten respondents would intervene in any way if they saw a group of teenagers writing graffiti on a school wall. 35% said they would not even call the police after they had walked away. Older people, having walked away, were much more likely to call the police: 63% of over 55s would do this, compared with 34% of 18 to 34 year olds. This group were, however, the least likely to intervene prepared to use force (one percent).

This story originally appeared here