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Tuesday, September 29, 1998 Published at 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK

Blair delivers zero tolerance

Car crime will be tackled by a new task force

Tony Blair has unveiled zero tolerance policies as part of a wide-ranging attack on crime.

The prime minister confirmed in his keynote speech there will be 20 pilot "hot spots" where targeted policing will aim to crack down on crimes such as burglary.

He said: "When I announce today that we will be introducing - first in 20 of the worst crime hotspots then across the whole of Britain - targeted policing that has cut burglary in Huddersfield by 30% and crime on one Leicester estate by 29%, don't tell us it can't be done because some of you have been doing it already.

BBC News' Kevin Bocquet watches zero tolerance in action in Stockport
"Don't tell us it can't be done, because some of you are doing it already. Don't show zero imagination, help us to have zero tolerance of crime."

The scheme will initially last for three years and cost £32m.

He also pledged to crack down on car crime with a vehicle crime task force, a new initiative in collaboration with carmakers.

Car target

He said: "Today we are announcing an agreement between police, car manufacturers and government on a target to cut car crime by 30% over five years.

He said it was "one of the boldest partnerships in fighting crime this country has ever seen, and done under a Labour government".

"But we can do so much more. From tomorrow, thanks to new laws passed by this government, kids can be picked up for truancy, young children alone on the streets can be subject to curfews, parents made responsible for their children's behaviour."

The decision to make crime a central part of his keynote conference speech was reinforced by this month's visit to New York where Mr Blair met the city's mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, who has also taken a tough stance on crime hotspots.

Mr Blair's moves will be part of Home Secretary Jack Straw's £250m crime reduction strategy.

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