We are regularly told Britain is in the grip of gun and knife culture and gang warfare, with young people in particular both committing violent crime, and suffering as victims of it.
More generally, 'teenage antisocial behaviour' is often portrayed as one of the greatest problems afflicting the nation. Young people’s drinking habits are increasingly understood as a social problem today, and the government has announced it will crack down not just on underage drinking, but also 18-24 year-olds' drunken behaviour.
But, statistically, violent crime is falling, and surely young people have always misbehaved: only rarely has their behaviour been interpreted as a serious threat to society. Do concerns about youth crime and antisocial behaviour reflect a breakdown of respect and discipline, or are we in the grip of a moral panic?
Are liberal critics blind to the harsh realities of crime and disorder? Either way, there seems to be a problem with adult authority. Have we lost the confidence to tell young people what's right and wrong?- Institute of Ideas
Adam Crawford is the Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on themes of policing, community safety, restorative justice and criminal justice policy.
His publications include: Youth Offending and Restorative Justice, The Local Governance of Crime, and Crime Prevention and Community Safety, Integrating Victims in Restorative Youth Justice.
He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Groupe Europen de Recherche sur les Normativits (GERN) network and Steering Committee of a three year European Commission funded co-ordination action project entitled CRIMPREV, involving more than 30 institutions representing 11 European countries. His is on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Criminology, European Journal of Criminology and Deviance et Societe.
He is currently completing a book on the contractual governance of anti-social behaviour for Cambridge University Press. He is a member of the steering committee for the European Commission funded Co-ordination Action.
In October 2005, he was elected Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. He has managed numbers empirical research studies into aspects of policing, community safety and youth justice. He recently completed a research study of the use and impact of dispersal orders as means of policing anti-social behaviour for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He is currently conducting research commissioned by the Nuffield Foundation exploring the impact of anti-social behaviour interventions on young people.
Mark Easton is the BBC's Home Editor, a role he describes as "sitting on a cloud and reporting on how Britain is changing." An award winning documentary-maker and news correspondent, he appears regularly on BBC television and radio as well as writing for BBC Online and many newspapers and magazines.
His expertise is broad: from health (he won the TV News Mental Health Media Award in 2004); to legal affairs (he was named Bar Council Journalist of the Year in 2003); from home affairs (his Radio 4 series "Crime of Our Lives" was selected as a highlight of 2007 by The Guardian); to social affairs (a Ten O'clock News piece on migration impact was nominated for the Royal Television Society Home News Award 2008).
Easton heads the BBC's UK Specialists Unit comprising some sixty journalists covering almost all aspects of domestic policy.
Maria Grasso is Stipendiary Lecturer in Politics at St Hugh's College, University of Oxford and she is completing her PhD on the decline of political involvement and activism in Western Europe at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
She has written, debated and been invited to comment on national radio and television on issues surrounding political engagement, free speech, education and radicalism. Maria has been on the Battle of Ideas committee for the past four years. Her articles have appeared on The Isis magazine, the Oxford Forum and spiked.
Grasso co-convenes the Institute of Ideas Postgraduate Forum at the London School of Economics. The Forum provides an opportunity for students in the arts, humanities and social sciences present their work in a context that encourages reflection on how the social and political trends shaping the contemporary world interact and cut across disciplinary boundaries. Grasso is also co-organiser of the IoI Current Affairs Forum.
After completing his degree in politics and economics at Newcastle, Malthouse qualified as a Chartered Accountant with an international firm in the City of London. Since then Malthouse's life has been split between his family, his business and London politics.
In 1998 he was elected to Westminster City Council. Malthouse's first major job on the Council was to head the Social Services department, dealing with the elderly, disabled, children and vulnerable people. During his time in the department he initiated a number of radical policy initiatives, most notably more than halving the number of street homelessness in the City, and steered the Department towards achieving the highest marks in the country from the Social Services Inspectorate.
Malthouse was then elected as Deputy Leader of the Council and was appointed Cabinet member for Finance by Sir Simon Milton, the Council Leader. During the five years he remained in this job he increased council reserves by more than 50m, delivered one of the lowest council tax levels in the country, and was part of the team that kept Westminster at the top of the league tables throughout.
He was elected to the London Assembly on 1 May 2008, representing the West Central Constituency and was appointed Deputy Mayor - Policing, by Boris Johnson.
Dr Stuart Waiton is a sociology lecturer at Dundee Abertay and a Director of the research group Generation Youth Issues.
Dr Waiton is also a regular contributor to the Times Educational Supplement in Scotland.
Stuart Waiton, author of Scared of the Kids?: Curfews, Crime and the Regulation of Young People, states the definition of violence has been instituted to the point that the way society thinks about violent acts is creating a cultural collapse of critical thinking.
Violent acts ranging from War to rape to robbery to bullying are all lumped together, which Waition considers dangerous.