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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Clarke to 'eliminate disrespect'
Home Secretary Charles Clarke
Mr Clarke: Nip problems in bud
Charles Clarke has vowed to "eliminate" anti-social behaviour and disrespect in society by the time of the next general election "whenever it comes".

The home secretary also denied government policy was to blame for the 7 July London bombings.

And he pledged to protect human rights "and the values which underlie them".

But he said the right of people to be protected from "indiscriminate" terrorism was "at least as important" as protecting terrorists from torture.

'Firing line'

Addressing Labour's annual conference, he pledged to "fight terrorism with every weapon at our disposal".

But he hit back at suggestions the 7 July London bombings had been provoked by government policy, following claims by one of the bombers the attacks were prompted by the war in Iraq.

"It is not some particular government policy decision, or even some overall policy stance, which we could change and somehow remove our society from their firing line," Mr Clarke said.

He pledged to "retain and strengthen" human rights but added: "The right to be protected from the death and destruction caused by indiscriminate terrorism is at least as important as the right of the terrorist to be protected from torture and ill treatment."

He attacked the Conservatives' general election campaign - which focused on asylum and immigration - as the "most unpleasant and pernicious campaigning by any major political party I have seen".

'Fair'

By the next general election Labour had to ensure it had created a "fair" asylum and immigration system and show "we have eliminated the anti-social behaviour and disrespect which still blights the lives of so many".

Labour also had to build on its "success to reduce dramatically the levels of violent crime and that we have put in place a criminal justice system which is genuinely focused upon promoting effective justice and preventing re-offending".

He said "responsive local policing" was the key to "tackling lack of respect in our communities".

"Neighbourhood police teams will be able to respond quickly to local concerns about anti-social behaviour.

"Their local knowledge will enable them to focus rapidly on troublespots and troublemakers, nipping problems in the bud before they take hold."

He also pledged more support for "parents who are finding it hard to raise their children right", backing education secretary Ruth Kelly's efforts to boost school discipline.

Mr Clarke told delegates: "The British people expect us to promote a society which is based on the true respect of one individual for another, one culture for another, one faith for another."

Home Office minister Hazel Blears reportedly told a fringe meeting on Monday the government was considering videoing the behaviour of binge drinkers to show in public places, as part of a new "naming and shaming" initiative.


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