The return of a form of national service to tackle "yob culture" was proposed yesterday by David Cameron in the wake of the murder of Garry Newlove.
The Conservative leader said Helen Newlove, widow of the father who was kicked to death by a drunken gang of teenagers, "spoke for millions" when she said that Britain's streets had been taken over by violent youths.
"She said that in too many parts of the country the streets have been taken over by the thugs and society has retreated. Passing a new law is not enough. We need a big social, cultural and political change about our whole approach to these issues," Mr Cameron said on GMTV.
"It's also about a return to a form of national service, what I call national citizens' service, something that every 16-year-old should do to learn about their duties and responsibilities as a citizen and inspire them as being part of our country instead of being people who hang round on street corners," he said.
Mr Cameron chaired a discussion of the Shadow Cabinet about the ills of society and has asked his frontbench team to come up with proposals for instilling responsibility in parents and their children.
He envisages 16-year-olds undertaking a six-week residential programme in which they would mix with people from different backgrounds. Training with the Army could form part of the scheme, Mr Cameron said, but he did not favour traditional national service.
Adam Swellings, 19, from Crewe; Stephen Sorton, 17, of Warrington; and Jordan Cunliffe, 16, formerly of Warrington, were convicted at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday of murdering 47-year-old Mr Newlove outside his Warrington home last August.Reuse content