David Cameron is about to give a speech on the "anarchy" of youth crime from a community centre in Darwen, Lancashire. He told GMTV today that the government’s approach was one-dimensional, saying that there needs to be focus not just on criminal justice but on:
- reforming police bureaucracy – "free up police from targets and paperwork and make them accountable to the local community"
- strengthening families and communities – "in the end it is stable homes – good values taught in the home- that is the best way to tackle crime in the long term".
Cameron will also advocate giving more sentencing power to magistrates.
Update: You can download a Word doc of the full speech here (and pdf
here). One of the stand-out lines was a very appropriate quote from Sir Robert Peel (the Conservative Home Secretary and PM who created the police as we know it):
"The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it."
In the Q&A afterwards Conservatives from the region asked about banning outside drinking, fear on the streets, bringing the concept of shame back into society, and how political correctness affects apprenticeships. Cameron has now headed off to the local police station.
4.30pm update: I’ve just read the speech and think these lines are spot on:
"We need to make men realise that having children is an 18-year commitment – not a one-night stand.
We need to make mothers realise that it’s work, not welfare, that offers their family the best future.
We need to help couples stay together, not drive them apart with the tax and benefits system.
And we need to make society as a whole – that’s you and me – realise that we all have duties to our neighbours."