lunes, 15 de agosto de 2011

England riots: Broken society is top priority - Cameron

 
Cameron: "Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face"
David Cameron has said tackling the "broken society" is back at the top of his agenda following last week's riots.
He said he would review all policies, speed up plans to improve parenting and education and turn around the lives of 120,000 "troubled" families.
To tackle a "moral collapse" he pledged a war on gangs, but the home secretary said there would be "no quick fixes".
Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the PM of looking for "superficial answers" instead of lasting solutions.
As the two politicians gave speeches, courts continued to hear cases of the hundreds of people involved in rioting, looting and disorder across England.
In other developments:
  • Total arrests across seven police forces by Monday morning were 2,772.
  • By noon, more than 1,179 people had appeared before the courts, the Ministry of Justice said, mostly on charges related to burglary, theft and handling, violence and violent disorder - 65% of people charged were remanded in custody.
  • Police investigating the death of Richard Bowes, 68, in Ealing last week say a potential witness has come forward. A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder
  • Two men and a 17-year-old boy have appeared in court charged with the murders of three men hit by a car in Birmingham last week. Another man was arrested on Monday - three others are already on bail
  • Gordon Thompson, 33, has appeared in court charged with starting a fire which destroyed the 150-year-old House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon
  • Bill Bratton, the former US police chief advising the government on gangs, tells the Guardian he can reduce crime despite cuts to police budgets
  • Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith tells the BBC that people convicted of involvement in rioting could lose their benefits even if they are not jailed
Mr Cameron described the disorder that spread from London to parts of the East and West Midlands, Merseyside, Bristol, Manchester and Gloucester as "a wake-up call for our country".
In a speech in Oxfordshire, he said politicians had been unwilling to talk about rights and wrongs, but "moral neutrality" would not "cut it any more". He questioned whether politicians had "the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations".
The riots were not about cuts, poverty or race. They were about the difference between right and wrong.
That was David Cameron's view.
In a speech that ranged through topics as diverse as parenting, health and safety legislation and the Human Rights Act, he did not spell out exactly how the government would change its policies.
But he did say there would be measures to deal with gangs and troubled families.
For Ed Miliband that thinking was shallow and superficial.
Poverty mattered, as well as the national culture.
He demanded an inquiry to investigate the causes of the trouble, and said bankers, MPs and journalists had been greedy, selfish and immoral as well as the rioters.
Both men know they need to reflect the public mood.
Both know diagnosing social problems is one thing, prescribing answers will be quite another. 
He included children without fathers, schools without discipline and communities without control in a list of what he believed has gone wrong in parts of the country and said people were "crying out" for the government to act.
"The broken society is back at the top of my agenda," Mr Cameron said.
Over the next few weeks, he said ministers would "review every aspect of our work to mend our broken society".
He pledged a "concerted, all out war on gangs and gang culture", which he said was a "major criminal disease that has infected streets and estates across our country".
"Stamping out these gangs should be a new national priority," he said - adding that a cross-government programme would look at "every aspect of this problem".
He has already announced plans to give police more powers to demand face masks are removed and to allow "gang injunctions" for over-18s, launched in England and Wales in January, to be used for children and adults.
Tackling gang culture was the subject of a meeting involving Home Secretary Theresa May, ministers and Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin on Monday.
Mrs May said people had had to live with gang violence "for too long" and said they would "urgently assess" the extent of the problem and look at work going on in the UK to tackle it - before reporting back to Parliament in October.
She said there were "no quick fixes" and every angle, including schools, communities and jobs and benefits, must be considered.
School discipline Mr Cameron also said he wanted a "family test" applied to all domestic policies to ensure they did not undermine or "stop families from being together".
Plans to improve parenting would be accelerated, including work to target "troubled" families - the prime minister said his ambition was that the government would "turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families in the country" by the next general election in 2015.
More police officers were needed on the streets he said, pledging to cut bureaucracy and arguing that those demanding he reverse plans to cut police funding were "missing the point".
He wanted to push "faster" on plans to strengthen school discipline and said ministers would look at the Human Rights Act and health and safety legislation - which he argued had been misrepresented by some in a way that had undermined personal responsibility.
Ed Miliband: "We all bear a share of responsibility for the society we create"
And, following concerns from senior police officers about his plans to take advice from US "supercop" Bill Bratton, he said the US had been dealing with the problem of gangs for longer and it was right to listen and learn to "inspirational" police chiefs.
Downing Street said that officials and ministers were "looking at a whole range" of options before deciding whether benefits should be cut for rioters and looters given non-custodial sentences - something raised by cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith earlier.
But in a speech at his old school in north London, Mr Miliband warned against "knee-jerk gimmicks".
"The politician's instinct - reach for new legislation, appoint a new adviser, wheel out your old prejudices - will not meet the public's demand for real answers and deep rooted, lasting solutions," he said.
"We've heard it all in the last few days, water cannon, supercops, a daily door knock for gangs and today, more gimmicks. A prime minister, who used to say the answer was to hug a hoodie, now says the answer is to reform our health and safety laws.
"Day by day the prime minister has revealed himself to be reaching for shallow and superficial answers, not the lasting solutions the country needs, based on the wisdom and insights of our communities."
'Inconsistency'
He urged a "national conversation" about the causes of the riots - arguing that commissions had been set up after previous major disturbances to look into the causes.
The police and the government have clashed over the handling of the police response. Home Secretary Theresa May said it was her job to tell the police what the public wanted them to do, as acting Met chief Tim Godwin accused MPs of "inconsistency of guidance".
The Police Federation said on Monday that Mr Cameron was "wrong" to suggest "back office" police officers could be freed up to increase police numbers on the streets - pointing out that many did important roles in child protection and domestic violence units.
Some of the Conservatives' coalition partners have also warned against "knee jerk" responses - Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes has warned against treating rioters in social housing differently to others by removing housing and benefits.