Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 16:23 UK

Take vandals' mobiles - Grayling

A group of youths
The number of asbo orders issued fell sharply last year

Vandals and those in involved in anti-social behaviour could have their mobile phones confiscated under plans set out by the Conservatives.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said withholding someone's phone for a month may help "disrupt" gang activity and make a point to troublemakers.

The Tories also want to give the police more discretion to deal with low-level offences without having to record them.

Ministers say police have "many tools" to deal with anti-social behaviour.

'Nokia generation'

In a speech in London, Mr Grayling said police should have the power to confiscate SIM cards and handsets to deter anti-social behaviour.

Such a move, he said, "would go to the heart of what matters to a Nokia generation of young people".

Troublemakers and gang members could also have their bicycles take away.

"In areas where there is a genuine gang culture, such a step could also give police an additional tool to disrupt gang activity," he added.

In areas where there is a genuine gang culture, such a step could also give police an additional tool to disrupt gang activity
Chris Grayling, Shadow Home Secretary

The BBC's Home Affairs Correspondent Danny Shaw said this could happen in cases where, for instance, someone had verbally abused or intimidated a shopkeeper.

The Tories argue that the raft of measures introduced by Labour to tackle anti-social behaviour have not got to the root of the problem.

They point to the declining effectiveness of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) and fixed penalty notices designed to tackle offences such as shoplifting, vandalism and drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Earlier this year, Mr Grayling floated plans which could see young troublemakers confined to their homes, outside school hours, for a month.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson recently called for a reinvigoration of Asbos as a weapon in the fight against extreme cases of intimidation and harassment.

He said courts must be able to issue Asbos quicker - in some cases it can take two years - to make it easier for problems to be reported and to provide more counselling for victims.

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