[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Young offender driving ban call
David Cameron
Mr Cameron said magistrates should have greater powers

David Cameron has called for young offenders to be barred from driving as part of a programme to tackle crime.

"Common sense suggests that with young people you need to hit them where it hurts: in their lifestyle and their aspirations," said the Tory leader.

He urged the wider use of powers enabling judges to disqualify offenders from holding or obtaining a licence.

He said he wanted a "three-dimensional" approach to youth crime, focusing on families, policing and the courts.

The Conservative leader said the UK was suffering a "crisis of order" and that "violence grows in the fertile soil of anti-social behaviour".

But rather than passing new laws, he said the government should widen the use of existing powers - enacted in 2004 - enabling magistrates to bar offenders from driving.

'Social breakdown'

At the moment, the powers are only used for motoring offences.

In a speech in Darwen, Lancashire, Mr Cameron said: "I'd like to see judges and magistrates tell a 15-year-old boy convicted of buying alcohol or causing a disturbance, that the next time he appears in court he'll have his driving licence delayed.

"And then I'd like that boy to tell his friends what the judge said."

He said magistrates should be also able to jail criminals for up to a year - rather than six months.

Mr Cameron also called for police to be freed up to spend more time on patrol.

He said the government had to "reverse the social breakdown which is the root cause of the criminality we see around us".

Magistrates should be allowed to sentence for longer and the early-release scheme should be scrapped, he said.

'General bonfire'

Police spent "more time on paperwork than they do on patrol" with the government "guilty of wasting police time", Mr Cameron added.

He said he wanted a "general bonfire" of police targets, making them "accountable to the people they serve" rather than Whitehall.

Social problems such as drugs, drink, unemployment and debt also needed to be tackled, Mr Cameron added, calling for "radical action" to restore families and communities.

Mr Cameron added: "We need to make men realise that having a child is an 18-year commitment, not a one-night stand.

"We need to help couples stay together, not drive them apart through a tax and benefits system that encourages people to live separately and we need to make society as a whole - that's you and me - realise that we all have duties to our neighbours and those duties are as compelling as the taxes we pay and the laws that we obey."

He added: "Other cities, other countries have fought the battle of anti-social behaviour and won it - and we've got to do that too."

On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said the "continuing problem" of gang violence was due to the absence of fathers in black communities.

He said young black men needed their fathers as role models, otherwise their development suffered.

Black girls from similar backgrounds had different attitudes and succeeded more than black boys, he said.

He was responding to US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who said inner-city violence was an economic problem.

CCTV video of yob behaviour

Gang crime 'due to absent dads'
21 Aug 07 |  UK Politics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific