Speaking to the Carlton Club on Wednesday night, Mr Major said he believed new powers were needed to take repeating young offenders off the streets into secure accommodation where they could be 'taught and trained for a useful future'.
Home Office sources said last night that although Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, had revealed his intention last autumn to examine the possibility of new regimes, Mr Major was now giving momentum to the issue.
John Hoddinott, Chief Constable of Hampshire and secretary of the crime committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers, welcomed Mr Major's intervention. He said measures were needed to plug a 'vacuum' in the criminal justice system, which lacked ways of dealing with the small number of juvenile offenders who repeatedly committed serious offences.
Chief Constables have also called for new powers to deny bail.
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