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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Crime crackdown plan: Your views
James Nesbitt as Tommy Murphy in the BBC's crime drama Murphy's Law
James Nesbitt as Tommy Murphy in BBC's crime drama Murphy's Law
Prolific criminals in England and Wales will be tracked by satellite, says Home Secretary David Blunkett.

The plans form part of the Home Office's five-year crime strategy, launched today.

Mr Blunkett wants to give power to the public to ensure law measures are being used in their local areas.

Tony Blair says it marks the end of the "1960s liberal consensus" on law and order.

What do you think of the Home Office's plan? Will it result in behaviour change?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Richard, England:
Anti-social behaviour - isn't it now time to put the boot in?

Tagging, CCTV, etc. All nice toys but where is the manpower going to come from to monitor them and, more importantly, follow up on incidents? My home town in South Wales has CCTV but Saturday nights are an absolute zoo with drunken yobs looking for a fight all over the place. Respectable people simply don't go out any more.
Gareth, UK

I think that the problem began when we moved from a society culture to individualism. Individualism is selfish and greedy and has no concern on how your actions can affects someone else. Today we have choice, the latest electronic appliances, and more disposable income. I remember when we had less materialistic things and choice but felt safer in a more rigid, stable and caring society where we knew our responsibilities and the consequences. I am only 38 years old and blame Thatcher and not the 60s introduction of liberalism which was concerned about the good of society. This I believe is called socialism.
Tony, Sheffield, Sheffield,UK

If the main crime problem they are trying to tackle is youth crime then how about providing some more productive ways for teenagers to spend their time? It's all very well complaining about kids hanging around in the evenings in big groups seemingly causing trouble but what else is there to do in a lot of areas? How about using community service as a way of giving back to the community and improving community amenities. Punishment and community improvement in one step.
Cat, Cambridge UK

We are being promised a crackdown on crime by investing heavily in "policing on the cheap". It's all very well recruiting 20,000 Community Safety Officers, but why can the government not see that this money would be better spent investing in expanding and improving the existing police forces? Forces that are currently drowning under mountains of paperwork, who are spending more time worrying about procedure and inspections rather than getting out on the streets and sorting the problems out.
Ben, Isle of Man

Policing cost money. Public expenditure dropped from 48% of GDP during 1984 (Thatcher!) to 37% during New Labour first term. Public sector investment fell from 5% (Wilson) to 2% (Major) to 0.7% (new Labour).
Dr Yousef Abdulla, Orpington, UK

Yes action is needed. When I visit the UK I am often subjected to unpleasant scenes of public disorder. Having spent half my life in the UK and half in the US, I have come to realise that the problem is cultural and societal in nature. The UK is already heavily policed and surveillance cameras already diminish people's privacy and rights, the challenge for this Government - or any other - is pass clear laws and enforce them. Be prepared for a prison population explosion in the near term.
Bob, New York USA

Tony Blair said that when he was young, people didn't have to worry about locking their doors. I remember this too. Our front door where I grew up (in the East End of London) was left wide open all day long. But there is a simple explanation as to why this has changed, which most people can tell you, and that is that we didn't really have anything to steal! If we had all the gadgets and machines people have today, we would have locked our front door, believe me!
Rita Kitto, Geneva, Switzerland

The new ASBO Legislation is proving to be successful even in its infancy
AT, Pontypridd, Wales
Working as a police officer I believe the new ASBO Legislation is proving to be successful even in its infancy. Unfortunately, negative media coverage is already tainting it's effectiveness within the public eye. As for the Tories condemning the initiative, they are in no position to criticise, they are responsible for years of under investment in the police. Having bought loyalty prior to the Miner's strike they went on to scrapped housing allowance, free eye tests and other benefits previously enjoyed by police officers and in addition bled forces dry of finances to continue recruiting. They harp on about violent crime is increasing however the reporting structure is more honest than ever during their rule. They sidestep the fact all other crimes are down. Public perceptions and fears are fuelled by "headline - grabbing reports. A little more honesty is required from the media. The streets are not that bad.
AT, Pontypridd, Wales

I sometimes wonder if the people that come up with this even bother to understand what it is like to live in areas with Anti-social behaviour. I am in my late twenties and had to buy a house in a rough area as I could not afford a house in a decent area. Since I have moved in I have lived in fear of the gangs of children that stand around outside of my house. I feel for my safety when I leave my house, and try as much as possible not to. My partner who moved in with me is so stressed by it she was hospitalised but the police do nothing! When will this country give a damn about it own surroundings and teach these kids to care about there own neighbourhoods?
Gavin, Coventry

For once I actually agree with Tony Blair here. It is wrong for criminals to have more rights than their victims. It is wrong for someone to be jailed for defending their property. It is wrong for kids to get away with appalling behaviour in school and on the street by citing their "rights".
Lloyd Evans, Brighton, UK

Cut crime by 15% in four years! What a joke. In other words the government has admitted that they have no control over anti-social behaviour and do not believe they ever will. If they were serious about this very important issue, the goal should be to cut crime by 95% in the next four years.
Duncan, UK

Funnily enough, I think one of the worst legacies of the IRA is a whole generation growing up without learning to dispose of their litter tidily. Just as the Keep Britain Tidy campaign was starting to take effect, litter bins were almost completely withdrawn from public places. Even if you wanted to throw stuff away properly, you couldn't. Now dropping litter has become the norm, it is a small step to other anti-social behaviour.
Jamie, UK

I am a Thatcher's child yet believe in achievement and living within the law¿ why do you criticise Mrs Thatcher. The thugs and idiots of today's society didn't vote for her, they are the ones to be criticised.
Stuart, UK

It won't work as it is unlikely that any money will be made from the scheme. Barcode everyone, install cameras and fine offenders £60 that will do it!
Robert, Formby, UK

Therefore the government would be better investing in prison services
Ben, Isle of Man

It is a popular notion that prison doesn't work as the re-offending rates are so high when inmates are released. However, if offenders are in prison they are, by definition, not offending and the public are protected from their behaviour. Therefore prisons do work because they provide protection to the public. The system falls down because the sentences are too short and there aren't enough prison spaces. Therefore the government would be better investing in prison services.
Ben, Isle of Man

In my area there is an increase in involvement between the police and the community which is a good thing. More effective policing does make the community safer. And as far as I know, what really deters criminals is the likelihood of being caught rather than the severity of the punishment. But, what will really make a positive difference is to tackle the root causes of crime - something that governments generally aren't very good at, and this one in particular has given up on.
Anna, Cambridge, UK

Mr Blair is right that the attitudes of the 60's spawned a generation with no respect for the law. The only problem is that now some of these people run a country and spread their violence much further afield. Tag Mr Blair immediately, and if he gets anywhere near government in future, read him his rights!
Richard Blake-Reed, Bath, UK

Bring back national service and therein the identification with rules and respect. It just might work out cost effective and establish a considerate, more law-abidingly-minded 'next generation'. What else is there for them?!!?
Anon, Midlands

There's no point in any crime initiatives unless it's properly backed up by legislation. At the moment, offenders know they will get a slap on the wrist and be allowed to wreak havoc all over again. We need zero tolerance of anti-social behaviour not only on the ground but also in the courts so that the perpetrators really are deterred.
Anonymous

The community has as much, if not more responsibility to police and educate itself rather than go running to the government or police due to an often irrational fear of crime. The 1980's free market consensus has more to do with communities being torn apart and people being alienated from each other to the point where no-one feels any social responsibility.
Robert, Edinburgh, UK

Yet another knee-jerk reaction from a useless home secretary, to go with all his other worthless ideas. Time to go Blunkett.
Lester Stenner, Weston super Mare, UK

Maybe it can work for Britain
Mark H, San Diego, CA
If a crime crackdown can turn New York City from a dangerous place into one of America's safest cities, maybe it can work for Britain. If we come down hard on anti-social behaviour instead of just handing out repeated warnings, maybe the minority would begin to understand that we aren't going to put up with it.
Mark H, San Diego, CA

Why don't they try to cut away ever increasing mountain of red tape that is strangulating the public services in this country? Start with the police force and let them do their jobs properly.
Jon, London

Crime has risen because social divisions have widened and will continue to grow. None of Tony Blair's other policies seemed aimed at narrowing the gap. The causes of crime will therefore remain and not a lot will change.
Albert S, UK

I must admit I misunderstood the headline I heard on BBC radio news this morning. The newsreader said the Prime Minister was going to get tough on anti-social yobs and noisy neighbours. I assumed it was about John Prescott and Gordon Brown!!
Iain, Maidenhead

Ireland has exactly the same problems but never experienced the swinging sixties. So it has nothing to do with the sixties. It has everything to do with the culture of greed and "me" the Tories brought in during the 1980's.
Paul Bailey, Basildon, Essex

If you help people escape poverty and drug addiction you'll reduce crime far more effectively
Ben Ross, London, UK
Whatever happened to tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime? It's all very well punishing criminals in an attempt to dissuade people from breaking the law, but weren't we promised by Labour a serious attempt to tackle the root causes of criminal activity? If you help people escape poverty and drug addiction you'll reduce crime far more effectively than if you simply assume people won't do bad things if we tell them off harshly enough!
Ben Ross, London, UK

Oh joy, hearing this on the same day Birmingham City Council has confirmed to me that to save funds they do not operate an 'out of hours' service to report nuisance behaviour!! Amazingly, this council also makes a big song and dance about how 'tough' they are on this problem. Yet more words backed up by so little action!!
Glyn Bartram, Birmingham

When roughly 99% of the population is essentially law-abiding it makes sense to come down heavily on the few recidivists causing 99% of the crime. This holds true for theft, violent crime or antisocial behaviour. Make criminals toe the line through fear of long terms of imprisonment if nothing else works.
Christopher King, Islington

Another plan by this government. When are we going to get a positive result from all this?
Peter Cross, Cardiff

That really is rich on the part of Tony Blair! He tears up the UN Charter, invades a member state without a UN mandate - and then has the audacity to say it's time we tightened up on law and order. The mind boggles!
Edmund Burke, Kingston upon Thames, UK

60s bashing again. In fact it's Thatcher's generation who have produced the children causing the problems, not the 60s. Not helped by a police force that has no interest in enforcing laws that would stop the problems, because only specialist squads have the prestige, and ordinary people are ignored.
Pat Chapman, Northampton, UK

I was a child of the 60s and it was anything but a liberal free for all
Philip Smith, Kingsbridge

So Labour want an end to "1960s liberal consensus" on law. Maybe an Orwellian 1984 is more to their liking? I was a child of the 60s and it was anything but a liberal free for all. Instead of smart rhetoric this country needs positive guidance and an atmosphere where family development is more that a vote getter. Give the responsibility back to responsible parents and if you need to make more laws then aim them at irresponsible parents. This is where the problems are not in some fanciful concept of the past.
Philip Smith, Kingsbridge, Devon

The only time we see a policeman around my area is when they are called to a burglary. Foot patrols may not stop crime but they are very re-assuring and would seriously reduce the unwarranted fear of crime.
Geoff Lane, Bury, England

All sounds great, but if you read the new proposals for firearms laws, every single one is aimed at the law-abiding - none at criminals.
Alex Swanson, Milton Keynes, UK

Is it not about time that prison or borstal terms were divided into two halves - first half hard labour (as the punishment) and second half rehabilitation.
Ged, Newcastle

And now the final run in to the election starts! All sounds remarkably familiar. Rather like the Conservative's Back to Basics campaign. Perhaps Labour have forgotten how badly that backfired.
Bryan, London, UK

I look forward to seeing how they work
Will Duffay, Welling

The lock 'em up crowd are conveniently forgetting that prison doesn't work - nor does relaxing gun controls. Look at re-offending rates, and murder rates and level of prison occupancy in the US. Or do you seriously believe in life in jail for public order offences?! These proposals are interesting and new. I look forward to seeing how they work.
Will Duffay, Welling, Kent

I don't break laws, I live by the book. However, as a young man, I was arrested (and released without charge) twice by idiot policemen, for no reason. With this new initiative, I wonder how many other innocent young people will be arrested for no valid reason?
Anon, Kingston-upon-Thames

To all those people who seem to have the view that we should lock them all up and throw away the key, I would like to remind everybody that it costs the tax payer on average £37,500 a year to keep a single prisoner in gaol. (For sake of comparison, £4,900 is the cost to keep a child in state secondary school.) Furthermore, the average re-offending rate of ex-convicts is above 50%. Liberal policy on law and order may seem soft, but if it is more effective in stopping re-offending and is cheaper, then what's the problem?
James Pittman

The question of Human Rights will always be raised, but those that are found guilty of committing a crime against another person or persons, should lose their Human Rights. The general lack of respect in society for the law, other people and their property is a disgrace. Criminals need to be taught a lesson and if this means the full term for prison sentences being served, then so be it.
Mark, Swindon

Tagging doesn't really help, it just means that in the end people will get caught, and how long will it be before everyone gets tagged, "just in case"? Why not try to change the person rather than control the person?
Nathan, Australia

A more welcome initiative would be for a change in the law to allow ordinary law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their property without fear of being prosecuted.
Chris, Hastings, UK

George Orwell will be spinning in his grave.
Richard, Swindon, UK

People will commit crimes if they believe they will not be punished. Forget tagging, introduce mandatory sentences and take the decision-making out of the hands of liberal judges. A ten year sentence for anti-social behaviour seems about right to me (and no probation!)
Mark, London, UK

Almost weekly Blunkett comes up with some extremist scheme then has to drop it when it gets challenged in human rights court. How long before this goes the same way?
John, Coventry, UK

Cut offending by 15% by 2008? Nobody can convince me that this government is serious about crime. If 71% of young offenders re-offend when they are released from custody, then there is a very obvious way to dramatically cut crime, and the government just do not want to do it!
Graham, Macclesfield, UK

It certainly is a bold statement but at last Mr Blair is focusing on Britain's terrible record for youth crime. Enough is enough.
Tim McCaskie, Coventry

If I had any faith in Tony, then I would be cheering from the rooftops and eating my hat whilst conceding he actually cares about his domestic subjects. Instead I feel resentful, that he comes up with what can only be perceived as a right wing vote winning policy. Is this therefore a concession, his quasi-liberal stance is not what Blighty wants? The times, are they really a-changing (back)?
Gary, Aberdeen, UK

I can't wait for the bleating protests from the bleeding-heart social conscience brigade on this. You shouldn't punish these people. You must talk to them and give them free holidays in Majorca. Not! Good on you Tony. Round 'em up, lock 'em up and throw away the key! Make them feel is if their every move is being watched.
Kevin, Luton, UK

I favour far harsher punishment regimes with sentence tariffs to mean exactly what they are
Chris Green, Hagley

I am inclined to give it a chance as any meaningful improvement has to be good, so long as it is not merely away to re-brand crime and massage statistics. I favour far harsher punishment regimes with sentence tariffs to mean exactly what they are. Early release would have to be really earned! In order for there to be meaningful behaviour change, there has to be a fear of and respect for the Correction Services. Blair, however discredited, is right about the liberals and their concentrating on offenders rights. In my view, break the law and you lose your rights!
Chris Green, Hagley, Worcs, England

Look to history for a solution to crime problems - permit all law-abiding civilians to carry guns and reintroduce the status of "outlaw"- if you are caught in the act of committing a (serious) crime, you are outside the law and therefore are not afforded any protection under the law.....
Shahid, Bradford

I'm no genius, but am I the only one in the country that thinks the alcohol is behind a huge percentage of police and health service waste of time? How about banning consistent offenders from drinking any alcohol for two months? It would be a much worse punishment for them than six months in prison! Come on Blunkett, stop worrying about human rights for persistent offenders, and teach them a lesson!
Chris Coulson, Kent, UK

End of the 1960s liberal consensus? Secure beneath the watchful eyes? George Orwell would struggle to come up with a better story, sadly.
James K, Exeter, UK

The crackdown will fail. In a nutshell the self-appointed do-gooders will crawl out of the woodwork and shout "human rights" (even though they are criminals!)
Darren, UK

I will believe this when I see it. I bet if they do crackdown it won't be in my area. The councils and the police are creating a vigilante state because they fail to tackle these yobs. I hit one of them and was arrested for assault. Now my family and I are living like prisoners in our own home. Now that the summer holidays have started its going to get a lot worse.
Stu, Skelmersdale

Stamp out this behaviour at grass roots level. At present underage yobs have absolutely nothing to fear from committing a crime.
Rich, UK

Am I the only person who remembers Mr Blair's assertion that he would be tough on crime and on the causes of crime at the start of his first term? The victims so far seem to have been the police, by being perpetually persecuted as being racist and the law abiding public. Why don't we just take law and order out of the politicians hands, they have made a mockery of it so far.
Mike Hunt, Kent

And how long will it be before we are all expected to do the same? The war on terror has been used as a fulcrum for some very disturbing law changes that would otherwise be objected to by the general public. As an innocent man I would never give consent to a law that allowed me to be tracked.
Nick, Alcester, UK

I don't want criminals tagged; I want them locked up (for good)
Keith, UK

More words with little substance. I don't want criminals tagged; I want them locked up (for good). I want youths of the streets unless they are adding value to the community. I want people to be worried about the consequences of breaking the law, instead of sneering at it.
Keith, UK

We should start by fundamentally re-writing the laws on Human Rights such that they explicitly define a citizen's rights, and responsibilities to respect those rights of other citizens - freedom and rights with no responsibility is a recipe for the crime and anti-social behaviour we see today. These new laws should be enforced on a zero-tolerance basis.
Andy, Edinburgh

Why were approved reform schools ever abolished? They may have not been Politically Correct but they delivered real benefits by taking troublesome youths out of circulation during the time when they were most likely to do most damage in their communities. They offered them real alternatives to crime and imprisonment at the exact time they really needed it.
Rex Lester, Chessington Surrey , England

I think electronic tracking (rather than tagging) is a great step forward. I live in a town with a population of 10,000. There are about 20 career burglars who are either in prison or jobless. Tracking allows offenders to be engaged in gainful employment. Tracking is a better measure than probation, community service or a month in jail. The person being tracked is less likely to carry on mixing in the criminal fraternity.
Jonathan, Manchester, UK

What do we need tags for? I know exactly where they are. Right outside my house. Every night, making a racket, taking drugs, vandalising everyone's' property.
Richard, England

It won't make any difference. The only solution is to lock them up and throw away the key.
Lisa, London

It is all good and well giving police "extra" powers to disperse groups (weren't they already allowed to do that?), and tagging offenders, but until we have a true meaning of the word "justice" it is all just pie in the sky. Let five years mean five years and life be 20 years, not eight. Make vandals pay for their damage and yobs who create a punch-up on a Saturday night can pay for their medical treatment. And re-educate our judiciary (some of whom seem to live on a different planet) so we can achieve consistent sentencing. If we need to build more jails, so be it!
Matt, Birmingham, England

Technology is fallible and I am confident that prolific criminals will find a way round the tagging scheme in order to carry out their chosen profession of criminal activity.
Alan Glenister, Bushey, Herts UK

Aaargh!! Another 5-year plan. Is this current frenzy for 5-year plans meant to indicate work-in-progress, so that they (again) get the benefit of doubt at the next election, or do they really think we have goldfish-like memories, whereby we can only remember policies that have just been announced? What has all the Home Office legislation since 1997 been about then? Was there no plan or strategy involved then? It is a ridiculous way of governing
Matt Ransom, Watford

We have recently had a spate of arson attacks in our area. The local Police commander has described this as "anti social" behaviour. Not it is not, its serious crime. I do not want more community wardens, or community officers, I want more real police officers to catch the criminals and when they are caught proper sentences to keep them in prison and out of society for longer. I remain convinced that if we had a mandatory prison sentence for most serious crimes people would think twice before committing offences.
John Watson, Sutton, UK

Another plan, hopefully they will go ahead with this one
John Karran, Merseyside, UK
Another plan, hopefully they will go ahead with this one. The words sound right, end of the liberal consensus which has obviously failed. The law must move towards the protecting the victim not the crooks, who at the moment, laugh at all the do gooders on the left.
John Karran, Merseyside, UK

Yet another "five year plan", a year before the election. I'd treat it with the cynicism it deserves...
Ajay Arora, London, UK

Crime is only partially solved by punishment. The main reasons for crime rest in the society that is essentially created by Government. In my view, prolific crime in England and Wales is caused by this Government constantly ignoring the large number of under-privileged and doing everything in their power to assist the rich minority to get richer.
The 1960s liberal consensus on law and order created the fairest and happiest society this country has ever experienced.
Raymond Rudaizky, London, UK

Why couldn't he have done this five years ago? There will never be any improvement until more "real" police officers are put in place to implement all these new laws we are getting.
John, Borehamwood, UK

All sounds very similar to the stuff politicians have been spouting for about a decade. The problem comes from the fact that so many kids from 2 to 22, don't understand that you can't do whatever you like in life. There are others to consider.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England

It's must be Monday - another new initiative! Every week the government launches new initiatives - presumably to make the public feel that they are doing something useful... It's just a shame they don't even get the basics right first.
Kevin T, Alton, UK

Unless any government takes a stronger, firmer hold of crime in this country nothing will change. The government is too old fashioned and set in it's ways to make any real changes. Negative this may sound but true.
Lynn Walley, Manchester

The technology may be available to track these criminals, but where is the manpower to monitor them and act on any possible incidents? The probation service can barely cope with keeping track of tagged criminals - they certainly can't keep track of any more!
Carol K, UK

If it marks the end of the liberal consensus then why are electronic tags being used? If people need tagging then they really ought to be confined to prison. A far cheaper way of keeping them in order. The 50% remission for good behaviour should also be scrapped, or keep it and just double the sentence. I fear this is more stuff and nonsense from the government - they were spouting on about being tough on crime in 1997. I don't think things have improved since then despite all of these plans and strategies they keep coming up with.
Dave Hough, Nottingham, UK

Hooray! At last, a government that is willing to take a hard line against these thugs that make the ordinary decent citizen afraid to leave their house. For far too long successive governments have been far too soft. The silent majority I'm sure will be delighted (and yes I am aware that an election is coming up....)
Tim, Southampton, UK

Deal with the causes more - we need to abolish all council estates and incorporate social housing throughout the community. This will reduce the ability of gangs to develop and share the responsibility throughout the community rather than the current situation which encourages the development of anti-social behaviour.
Jack, Essex

There is considerable potential for abuse in pushing through such measures
Alice, London
How long before those convicted of minor offences, or deemed to have carried out antisocial behaviour, are tagged and tracked by satellite also? There is considerable potential for abuse in pushing through such measures.
Alice, London

This is a cynical government ploy to divert attention from Tony Blair's disgrace. This government has no right to make five-year plans when it will be turned out of office so soon. When we have a new government they will have a lot to do as this one has proved big on spin and small on delivery (except on higher taxes and more central controls). New Labour has failed to tackle any of the basic issues on schools, crime, education and transport effectively despite two terms in office.
Graham Shelton, Oxford, England

Another headline grabber - punishment will just alienate people - anti-social behaviour has to be fought in schools to create better future citizens.
Joe, London, UK

It won't make a bit of difference. The PC brigade will see to that. Prison and community service should, first and foremost, be punishment. This simple fact seems to elude the liberal elite and is the root cause of our abysmal rates of crime. They are empty words yet again.
Andy, Wednesbury, England

Not before time - I'm sick of living in a country where you can't go out for fear of finding yourself involved with the sort of louts that seem to populate most town centres. However, welcome as the end to the pre-sixties liberal nonsense about crime is, I notice that the word punishment is notably absent from the proposals. Not quite the return to old-fashioned values as it at first appears!
Geoff, London UK





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