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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 17:59 GMT
Morgan raises respect 'tensions'
Picture of Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan said there could be 'tension' in approaches to Asbos
First Minister Rhodri Morgan has suggested there could be differences between Wales and England over measures to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Prime Minister Tony Blair launched his "respect agenda" on Tuesday, promising initiatives on yobbish behaviour.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said he wants to see anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) used more consistently across Wales and England.

But Mr Morgan said in Wales, police have regarded Asbos as a last resort.

'Law-abiding majority'

Mr Blair's respect action plan includes a series of measures to tackle problems of anti-social behaviour, including a greater use of parenting orders, evicting nuisance neighbours and new powers for the police to deliver on-the-spot fines.

Mr Blair said the plans would help "take back the streets for the law-abiding majority".

There will always be a bit of tension between those who want Asbos to be seen as a sign of success...and those who say using a lot of Asbos is a sign of failure.
Rhodri Morgan

But Mr Morgan said the term "respect agenda" was not being used by the Welsh Assembly Government although parts of the plans - including parenting lessons and the sure start and flying start programmes for very young children - are already being implemented in Wales.

Mr Morgan said: "It's a Westminster government agenda but there are Welsh aspects to it in terms of the parenting action plan and sure start.

Tony Blair launching his 'respect' plans
Mr Blair launched his 'respect' plans on Tuesday

"There is a whole range of programmes which we administer in Wales, though I don't know whether we have used the respect agenda term for it.

"But there are certainly aspects of this which are devolved."

Mr Clarke has called for Asbos to be applied consistently across Wales and England, but Mr Morgan added there could be "tension" between the approaches of police in Wales and England.

He added: "It is true that Asbos have been used more as a last resort measure in Wales and there will always be a bit of tension between those who want Asbos to be seen as a sign of success...and those who say using a lot of Asbos is a sign of failure.

"I think you'll find the chief constables in Wales have always maintained the line that the more Asbos you've issued, you should regard as a sign of failure.

"There may be chief constables in England who don't share that view."

In a statement following the launch of Mr Blair's respect action plan, the assembly government said: "We will scrutinise the proposals carefully and can opt out to parts of the legislation if this is the best solution for Wales.

"However, where there is legislation in relation to devolved issues we would always look to see if legislation is beneficial before introducing it in Wales."

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