Johnson admits ‘coasting’ on anti-social behaviour

By Alex Stevenson and Ian Dunt

The government has been “coasting” on anti-social behaviour orders, the home secretary has admitted to

Anti-social behaviour took centre stage during most of Tony Blair’s criminal justice initiatives, after the former prime minister decided the unruly nature of many of Britain’s town centres on Friday and Saturday nights had become an electoral issue.

But the spate of knife crimes blighting the country has taken anti-social behaviour off the front pages in recent months.

“I’ve said since I became home secretary I want to renew the focus on antisocial behaviour,” Mr Johnson told

“We did an awful lot. We introduced antisocial behaviour orders, we introduced acceptable behaviour contracts, we introduced parenting orders. And that’s had a huge, beneficial effect.

“But things have just coasted for a while. I want to get back on to that agenda.”

Mr Johnson, who was speaking while campaigning for Labour’s candidate in the Norwich North by-election, said the region has excelling in neighbourhood policing.

“I think the police are doing a magnificent job here in Norfolk, making a reality of the term neighbourhood policing,” he said.

“And all the statistics here are excellent – there’s been a ten per cent reduction in crime since 2006. So it’s really, really positive here.

“You can never ever say in a democracy, in the kind of world we live in, that we’ve got a crime-free environment. But you can say you’re on top of it and they’re certainly on top of it here in Norwich.”

Mr Johnson became home secretary during Gordon Brown’s recent Cabinet reshuffle. Since then he’s shown himself to be independent minded, notably on the topic of ID cards, which have undergone something close to a U-turn since he took over from Jacqui Smith.

Yesterday, statistics showed knife crime had actually gone up in many areas where the government was trying out a new £3 million knife crime project.

The number of teenage homicide victims of knife crime stood unchanged at 23, but the number of adults over 20 who had been killed during the campaign went up by seven.