Twin-track deterrent for young joyriders should be made 'to go out racing'

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Teenage joyriders would be compelled to "go out racing cars" on speedster tracks as part of a new Liberal Democrat approach to tackling antisocial behaviour.

Teenage joyriders would be compelled to "go out racing cars" on speedster tracks as part of a new Liberal Democrat approach to tackling antisocial behaviour.

Tearaways who steal cars would also be given a new type of anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) that forces them to take car maintenance courses.

The proposal for a new "Asbo plus", to be spelt out at the Liberal Democrats conference by Mark Oaten, the party's home affairs spokesman, is designed not only to punish troublemakers but to act as "a twin deterrent". Mr Oaten said the idea of twinning instant fines with car-racing was part of his new approach of "tough liberalism".

"At the same time as you are issuing the joyrider with the £40 fine, he also has the requirement to turn up to a course on being a car mechanic or a creative scheme where they take youngsters that are joyriding and sent on certain tracks and go out racing cars," he said. Mr Oaten made it clear he would "not repeal Asbos ... I would keep the Asbos and create Asbos plus," he said.

His proposals are expected to be seized upon by Labour and the Conservatives as evidence that the Liberal Democrats want to "reward" joyriders and other criminals. They have already been criticised by Labour for opposing the introduction of Asbos in a House of Commons Bill before Mr Oaten took over as their home affairs spokesman.

Mr Oaten will also launch a new asylum policy today which would include taking decisions on who stays in Britain out of Home Office control. An independent asylum agency would decide who could stay. The Liberal Democrats will also promise to introduce new immigration quotas to help fill gaps in the labour market.

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