'Respect zones' plan to combat hooligans

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Forty deprived areas blighted by antisocial behaviour are to be turned into "respect zones". Councils with high levels of vandalism, hooliganism and truancy will be given extra cash in return for a promise to use their full powers against rowdiness, including administering anti social behaviour orders (Asbos).

But the move was dismissed by the Tories yesterday as an "admission of failure, [which] follows concern among ministers over the erratic use of Asbos around the country".

The Government also wants to drive down the proportion of Asbos breached by offenders, which is now about half. A recent report warned that some young offenders viewed receiving an Asbo as a "badge of honour".

Louise Casey, the Government's "respect tsar", said: "These are areas we have selected on the basis of indexes, such as deprivation and high levels of anti-social behaviour, but also on truancy, exclusion from school and other things. We approached these local authorities and asked if they wanted to become 'respect' areas and now they have signed up for it. They have to convince us that they will do it."

Guidelines are also being produced to help police and other officials deal with antisocial behaviour and advice will be distributed to the public on how best to demand action on the problem.

But David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "The fact the Government are resorting to having to bribe local authorities to sign up to their gimmicks betrays just how unsuccessful they have been." He called for "simple, practical measures" to catch and deter those responsible for antisocial behaviour.