Local councils to get petty crime experts

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Anti-crime "ambassadors" will be posted to dozens of local authorities across Britain to clamp down on loutish behaviour, the Home Office said yesterday.

Anti-crime "ambassadors" will be posted to dozens of local authorities across Britain to clamp down on loutish behaviour, the Home Office said yesterday.

Up to 50 councils have signed up for specialist help in cutting crime and operating new anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) under the initiative.

The "ambassadors", drawn from the Home Office and successful local councils, will hold "action days" to advise police and local government officials on cutting anti-social behaviour and implementing the ASBOs, a spokesman said. Around 2,600 orders have been issued since they were introduced in 1999. Orders ban offenders from carrying out specific acts or entering particular areas for up to two years. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, wants to increase their use as part of a drive to end petty crime.

Under the programme, local councils can apply for advice on specific problems. Expert officials will then draw up an action plan and monitor progress.

Mr Blunkett wants to cut anti-social behaviour by 15 per cent by 2008 but youth workers fear more orders are nothing more than a "quick fix".

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