MPs query Clarke on funding new orders

The home secretary last week failed to confirm if the government will provide extra support for the introduction of an order to control high-risk offenders in the community.

Charles Clarke told parliament the order would put restrictions on violent individuals and that a breach could lead to five years in prison.

He also said all chief probation officers would be required to improve the quality of risk assessments in their areas.

But, after MPs pressed him on costs, Clarke said that no final decision had been made on the funds needed. He said the probation and prison services should focus existing resources on the most challenging cases. He also denied that the freeze on the Home Office budget, announced in March’s Budget, would lead to cuts in services.

Shadow home secretary David Davis argued against the introduction of the orders.

He said: “If 42 per cent of antisocial behaviour orders are ignored by young tearaways, how effective will the so-called super-Asbos be against psychopathic hardened criminals?”

He also said the government’s failure to provide enough resources for the “overstretched” probation service had contributed to recent offences committed by offenders on parole.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of probation union Napo, called on the government to look at alternative measures for violent offenders and invest more in prison rehabilitation programmes.

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