Tearaway children will be subject to tough control orders and night-time curfews even before they commit a criminal offence under a new drive against anti-social behaviour.
Under measures directed by the Prime Minister to be introduced next month, the authorities would be able to intervene when they suspected a child was having problems, not once an offence had been committed.
Under a series of new orders backed up by a threat of a fine or even a jail sentence, parents of troublesome children will be required to attend parenting lessons, make their children attend school and ensure they obey curfews.
Parents will also be required to ensure that children attend literacy or numeracy clubs, or programmes dealing with anger management or drug or alcohol misuse.
Parenting orders can also stop children visiting areas such as shopping centres, or require them to stay at home at night under supervision.
Parents can be forced by the order to accept support and advice on how to bring discipline to their child's life. They can also be compelled to attend school meetings to deal with misbehavior.
Given the number and frequency of problems facing communities across the country where ASBOs are collected rather like combat awards by some teenagers, I rather wonder if we have the will or the resources to carry through the Prime Minister’s programme. After all, if we can’t put enough policeman and community wardens on the streets of Thanet to “hoover” up the truant son a weekly basis, how one earth are we going to find the resources to make this plan, however sensible it might appear to some, work.