Clampdown on young offenders

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A RESPONSIBLE society must set clear limits on the behaviour of its 'errant sons or daughters', Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, said last night.

She told a London conference it was unacceptable that such offenders 'should consign a pensioner to a miserable fear-ridden existence, or that they should destroy property or create mayhem on our roads, apparently with little fear for the consequences'.

New secure training orders would increase courts' power to deal with persistent young offenders. New centres would provide education, training and care for 12- to 15-year-olds convicted of three imprisonable offences for whom community sentences had been ineffective.