Press release – funding for antisocial behaviour training


Dfuse, a charity founded to help people deal with conflict, confrontation, aggression and anti-social behavior, has responded to the recent release of the Policing 2020 report from the Policy Exchange think tank calling for the Government and other organisations to invest further in the evidenced models that already exist in order to make anti-social behaviour training accessible to all.

Matt Overd, Director of Programme Development at Dfuse, said: “We welcome the report from The Policy Exchange. It has added to the growing evidence and public consciousness that anti-social behaviour in the UK should not be tolerated and greater public involvement is needed to achieve this. The report identifies that there is a need to support members of the public further and to highlight what works in this area.

“Since 2007, Dfuse has supported members of the public, businesses and voluntary organisations to counter anti-social behaviour through teaching the skills of hostage negotiators, specialist communicators and self defence expert trainers. Alongside our training, we work in partnership with other organisations to build their capacity to develop the defusing skills of their own members and users. This includes working with Thames Valley Police where Dfuse training courses will be delivered in each of their 14 Local Police Areas.”

Chief Superintendent Tim De Meyer, from Thames Valley Police, said:  “We know of the work of Dfuse and thought that their approach might help us in our efforts to work with communities to reduce anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime.  Thames Valley Police has commissioned Dfuse to provide training in each of our local police areas and we will evaluate the outcome of the training to see if it delivers positive results for those trained and their communities.  The idea is to give people the skills and confidence that will reduce the potential for conflict and complement the work of neighbourhood police teams.  People will not be encouraged to take unnecessary risks or to take the law in to their own hands.”

Overd continues: “We believe that if we can de-escalate conflict and antisocial behaviour through effective communication, we can prevent it from growing into a situation that requires police intervention ensuring their resources can be allocated elsewhere to tackle more serious crime. This is not about duplicating police efforts or creating ‘have a go’ heroes but there is a role for the public to play as long as appropriate training and support is in place.

“We have trained hundreds of people and equipped them with vital defusing skills and techniques using real life examples and developed much needed teaching resources. We believe the greatest impact for our training will be felt when a critical mass of individuals are skilled and willing to challenge anti-social behaviour in some way. Further investment and support for Dfuse’s model will allow us to make a wide-scale impact.”

Paul Springer, aged 65 from London who attended a recent Dfuse training course, said: “I don’t think anyone gets to go through life without coming up against anti-social behaviour. Impoliteness to aggression to violence, it’s hard to know what to do and how stop it. Like most people, I don’t want to wade in and make a bad situation worse but I want to be able to help people and would hope someone would help me if needed it.

“I stopped a group of teens with sticks attacking a jogger in the park by getting in the way while the jogger got away. I was lucky they chose not to fight and ran away. I don’t want to be a ‘have a go hero’. I just want to live in a decent world and know how to defuse trouble so no one gets hurt. I didn’t know how to do this until I read about Dfuse. After one day with them on their training course, I knew how to make myself and others safe and how to handle trouble in the right way. Now I’m better at dealing with conflict everywhere: in my work, at home and on the street.”

To date, Dfuse’s work has:

  • Trained hundreds of people with 94% saying they would recommend it to others and 54% ‘very much so’
  • Only 40% felt they had any experience of the skills and techniques needed to defuse conflict and anti-social behaviour prior to the training
  • As a result of the training 83% said they would feel confident using the skills and techniques they have learnt?

In addition to the Thames Valley Police partnership, which followed a pilot of three courses delivered in 2011 and 2012, Dfuse have worked with Victim Support training their volunteers to provide tips and advice on defusing conflict and The Communication Trust to explore how defusing skills can be delivered with the greatest impact to young people in the youth justice system.

Dfuse has developed its approaches within schools over the last 12 months working with organisations such as Teaching Leaders to train teachers to defuse situations with students, parents and even colleagues. Most recently Dfuse has developed classroom resources to support teachers to respond to the growing challenge of aggression in young people.

For more information, to interview Matt Overd from Dfuse or members of the public who have attended Dfuse training, please contact Laura Smith or Della Bolat on / 07766651366 or / 07841763833.

Notes to editorsAbout Dfuse

  • Dfuse was founded by Jane Atkinson in 2007 in response to a growing number of reported incidents of antisocial behavior, including one where an individual was fatally stabbed on a public bus whilst others looked helplessly on
  • Dfuse skills people to deal with conflict, confrontation, aggression and antisocial behaviour wherever they encounter it: in the street; in the workplace; in the school; or in their own community.
  • Dfuse operates across the UK delivering training and support for businesses, charities, the public sector, communities and young people.
  • Dfuse programmes draw on a range of experts and evidence from specialist communicators; hostage negotiators; safety and self defence trainers, psychologists, teachers and youth and community workers. Therefore, whilst training is based on a core set of defusing skills and principles, courses can be tailored to the specific situations participants are likely to encounter.
  • Training is practical, which enables individuals to build confidence using new skills in a supportive environment•Dfuse’s mission is to create a critical mass of individuals willing and able to act in a safe and appropriate way to reduce the occurrence, and mitigate the consequences of, anti-social behavior particularly amongst those who face confrontation, aggression and violence on a regular basis and to those who respond aggressively to conflict to assist them to resolve situations peacefully.
  • Dfuse teaching resources are available at
  • Dfuse offers bespoke training to organisations and two core courses for the general public (Defusing Conflict and Antisocial Behaviour and Defusing Anger and Aggression). Information about these courses is available at