Thursday, 1 October 2009

Let the decent citizens reclaim our streets

All the crime figures over the past 50 to 100 years show how anti-social disorder has gradually taken over. In my constituency of Birkenhead, there are now more violent crimes against the person than there were in the whole country 50 years ago. When I first started campaigning in Parliament against anti-social behaviour there were too many unruly youths in Birkenhead, but I didn't come across more than six "families from hell". Now the Prime Minister puts the total at 50,000 across the country. This is a national emergency, and it is time for the Government to empower decent citizens to reclaim the streets.

At present, the neighbourhood can go into court and get a warrant issued against these low-level community terrorists. But because this is deemed a private action, the police will not enforce the warrant to bring the thugs into court that day. The bench must be given power to rule that neighbourhood-inspired action is a public action, and to enforce the warrant immediately. This would, for example, have allowed Fiona Pilkington's neighbours collectively to have protected her family and themselves. It is a reform that could be enacted in 10 days' time, when Parliament returns, and at a stroke would change the balance of power in favour of decency.

We must also address the fact that our country is increasingly losing the knack of producing good parents. In short, we need a government that believes in turning out good citizens as seriously as did our Victorian and Edwardian predecessors. Only then will the fight against the evil forces that destroyed Fiona and her family be made more equal. Read more
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