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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 13:12 GMT
Blunkett to take on yobs
David Blunkett
David Blunkett plans wide-ranging changes to policing
Tougher measures to combat anti-social behaviour have been proposed by Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Mr Blunkett outlined the changes during a speech to senior officers on his radical plans for police reform in England and Wales.

Other than violence and sexual crime, one thing that really gets to people most is anti-social behaviour - thuggery, the breakdown of respect and order

David Blunkett
The conference at Whitehall on Tuesday comes after the home secretary unveiled a package of proposals, including civilian warden patrols and blood tests for suspected drink-drivers.

Former New York Police Department chief Bill Bratton, who pioneered "zero tolerance" policing, has also been invited to address the meeting.

Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) operate like a restraining order, forcing offenders to behave for two years or be taken back to court and risk imprisonment for up to five years.

They have not been used widely since they were introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to clamp down on those who create a climate of fear in their community.

Faster process

Excessive bureaucracy has been blamed for the slow take-up and only 466 orders have been granted in the last three years.

Mr Blunkett told the meeting police the process would be speeded up by the new measures.

Transport police would also be able to adopt the measures to deal with trouble at train stations, he said.

Mr Blunkett said: "Tackling anti-social behaviour on housing estates and on the streets of the most difficult areas is key to addressing the fear of crime and reinforcing the task of communities to build securer and safer neighbourhoods."

The new proposals to "update and slim down" existing ASBOs include:

  • an interim ASBO which comes into force as soon as the offender is taken to court, operating in the same way as an injunction

  • an ASBO which "travels" with the person involved, covering them if they move house

  • examining scope for allowing British Transport Police and registered social landlords to enforce ASBOs

  • exploring the possibility that ASBOs could be enforced by county courts, perhaps at the same time as they deal with applications for evictions.

    The measures are Mr Blunkett's latest proposals for a wide-ranging reform of the police service.

    The proposed Police Reform Bill includes provision that wardens or "community support officers" will have the power to detain suspects until the police arrive.

    Mr Blunkett also wants blood samples taken from suspected drink-drivers, without permission if necessary and even if they are still unconscious.

    The Bill also addresses the issue of under-performing police forces.

    The home secretary will have new powers to remove chief constables if he thinks they or their force are not efficient enough.

    At Tuesday's meeting Mr Bratton is expected to focus on "turning around" a poor-performing force.

  • See also:

    25 Jan 02 | UK Politics
    Beat officers 'oppose police reforms'
    05 Dec 01 | UK Politics
    'Radical' police reform unveiled
    05 Dec 01 | England
    Wardens welcome patrol reform
    29 Nov 01 | UK Politics
    Police anger over Blunkett reforms
    12 Jul 01 | UK Politics
    Blunkett reveals police reform plans
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