Former home secretary David Blunkett has admitted that anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) are not working and are seen as a "badge of honour" by some youngsters.
The Sheffield Brightside MP was asked if he still had faith in the measures that, although introduced two years before his time at the Home Office, he championed. He replied: "Not wholly."
Mr Blunkett also told an ITV interview, to be screened tonight, that some estates were so bad that the only option was that "we should bulldoze them".
His comments come amid growing concern about the effectiveness of Asbos, about 10,000 of which have been issued in the past eight years. The latest figures showed that about half of all orders are now breached.
Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "It is not surprising that David Blunkett has no faith in Asbos.
"They could have been a useful weapon, although not a panacea, against anti-social-behaviour. However, under Labour, they have been reduced to nothing more than an ineffective gimmick.
"This is because Labour have been more concerned with simply handing them out to claim something is being done, rather than making sure they actually work."
Tonight's interview was conducted with former Conservative home secretary Ann Widdecombe, who questioned why Mr Blunkett's faith in Asbos had fallen.
"I think they've worked in part but two other things need to happen. Firstly you need to combine them with a range of other criminal justice measures like the dispersal of curfew orders. Where that's been done it's worked much better," he replied.
"And secondly you actually do need the positive as well as the negative. If it's only seen as a negative then youngsters actually do, and would see it as a badge of honour."
Asked about other options to deal with anti-social behaviour, he admitted: "Some of the estates are beyond repair and to be honest we need to simply say that we can't carry on with people having to live in those conditions any longer.
"In the best areas you see can see regeneration. In the worst, we should bulldoze them."
However, a spokesman for Mr Blunkett said his comments had been taken out of context and said he still believed in the use of Asbos, but thought a combination of measures were required to tackle the worst behaviour.
Last year, the woman in charge of the government's 'respect' agenda, Louise Casey, acknowledged the high breach rate of Asbos and said there would be a "debate" in the Home Office about other ways to keep young offenders' behaviour under control.