Howard says yobs must ‘fear the police’

Yobs and hooligans must be made to once more “fear the police” if the nation’s growing problem with teenage violence is to be tackled, Conservative leader Michael Howard said today.

He promised to put more police on the streets and reduce the amount of paperwork they have to fill out as part of a five-point plan to tackle Britain’s “yob culture”.

Speaking in London today, the Conservative leader said ordinary people’s fear of yobs had become so bad that in some areas elderly couples were afraid to walk home from the pub, and parents did not dare take their children to the park to play.

“Decent, hard working families are regularly intimidated by yobs on their streets and in their town centres,” he said.

“In today’s Britain no-one seems prepared to take a stand – to hold these arrogant young yobs to account for their appalling behaviour.”

He accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of having “lost the plot” on crime and creating a culture that put “political correctness [and] form-filling” above actual crime fighting.

Claiming he would “put the fear back into the hearts of the yobs”, he said: “It’s time to give the yobs a dose of the fear they’ve been dishing out to the rest of us.

“I use that word deliberately – fear. I want to make them fear the police.”

The Conservatives’ five-point plan includes a promise to put 5,000 more police on the streets each year and scrap the requirement that police fill out a form each time they stop someone.

It also calls for police to publish on the internet weekly crime statistics for their area, and for police commissioners to be elected by their local area.

Mr Howard added that the election would be “as much about crime as anything else” and promised a series of initiatives on crime throughout the campaign.