‘Summary Powers!’


Prime Minister Blair yesterday unveiled his viciously anti-working class ‘Respect Action Plan’ at a press conference.

Announcing his ‘ActionPlan’ Blair said: ‘Anti-Social Behaviour law imposed fixed penalty notice fines – instant on-the-spot. This has, bluntly, reversed the burden of proof.’

Blair went on to warn: ‘Now we want to take these powers further. Today I focus on Anti Social Behaviour. 

‘Shortly, we will do the same on serious and organised crime.

‘But the principle is the same. To get on top of 21st century crime, we need to accept that what works in practice is a measure of summary power with right of appeal, alongside the traditional court process.’ 

He added that ‘today’s action plan will show how we intend to develop pre-court powers further to bring about a fundamental shift’.

He said: ‘Penalty Notices for Disorder, which can be issued on the street, will be raised from £80 to £100.

‘Conditional cautioning will be extended, with funding for ten areas to pioneer ways of making offenders do unpaid work . . . and we are consulting on a proposal for a new power to close down properties which are a constant focus for anti-social behaviour.’

Turning to ‘problem families’ he claimed: ‘There are a small number of families who are out of control and in crisis.

‘It is those families whose children are roaming the streets and disrupting the classrooms.’

He said that ‘successful schemes such as those in Dundee and Bristol’ (where families are required to move out of their homes and live in supervised ‘sin bins’ for months) will be extended with ‘at least 50 schemes across the country’ established by the end of the year.

He warned: ‘If parents of children who are involved in anti-social behaviour refuse to take up the offer of help, then parenting orders will be made available to a wider range of agencies.’

Parenting orders carry fines and even jail sentences.

The government plans evicting ‘nuisance’ families from their homes for three months.

It is setting up a new nationwide non-emergency telephone number to make it easier to report ‘nuisance behaviour’.

A new ‘spy and tell on your neighbours’ scheme is already being piloted.

Civil rights campaigners have voiced concern about a new channel allowing households in Shoreditch, east London, to monitor local CCTV cameras, dubbed ‘ASBO TV’.

About 1,000 residents in the Haberdasher and Charles Square estates will pilot the scheme from March before it is rolled out to more than 20,000 households across Shoreditch, giving viewers access to some 400 cameras.

To encourage the use of the ‘service’, costing about £3.50 a week, the package includes cheap local calls, a free set-top box for digital TV, public service channels and high-speed internet access.

But Matt Foot, co-ordinator for ASBO Concern, said: ‘There are professionals trained to monitor CCTV and it should be left to them.

‘Here, you will have a situation of people spying on each other, which raises concerns about vigilantism and vulnerable people such as children being bullied on CCTV.’