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Chris Grayling promises a “21st-century clip around the ear” for the "Nokia generation"

Grayling470 In a speech yesterday that also included all of the social responsibility themes that have characterised David Cameron's leadership of the Conservative Party, Chris Grayling promised to give the police the power to deliver a “21st-century clip around the ear” for the minority of young people who cause "systematic unrest".

"Today I want to float another option which would go right to the heart of what matters to a Nokia generation of young people.  I’d like to see police given the power to confiscate temporarily a young troublemaker’s mobile phone.  Removing their SIM card, with all their mobile numbers and text messages on it.  For a fortnight or a month.  Not permanently.  But long enough to make a point.

And to give a strong reminder that there are immediate consequences for – for example - verbally abusing a local shopkeeper – and that the police aren’t afraid to take action if necessary.

The same principle could well be applied to some of the other things that are important to them.  Like their bikes.  Taking them away for a month would also be an irritation – but could also offer an additional benefit.  In areas where there is a genuine gang culture, such a step could also give police an additional tool to disrupt gang activity and make it practically more difficult for teenage gangs from different areas to confront each other.

The name of the game has to be simplicity and speed.  Not a response that takes months of complex bureaucracy – like getting an ASBO.  Not a response that puts a teenage troublemaker before the courts for a minor offence.  But a consequence that impacts on their lives and makes them think again.  If we’re to deter potential troublemakers, the consequences they face have to be relevant to the lives they lead, and to be immediate.  Otherwise why would they stop doing what they were doing."

Read the Shadow Home Secretary's full speech.

Tim Montgomerie

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