Government puts tackling crime top of the agenda

Prime Minister Tony Blair has put tackling crime at the centre
of his plans for the next parliamentary session, in the
Queen’s speech today, writes Haroon

New measures to reduce crime, covering everything from street
violence, juvenile crime, reoffending and drug abuse, were
announced by the Queen in a grand ceremony at the Houses of

The speech, which announced 32 bills, showed that security would
be at the heart of the government’s build up to the next
general election, expected next May. The government also reaffirmed
its promise to continue reform of the public services.

Crime tops the agenda

The speech was dominated by nine Home Office bills.

Among them were plans for reducing re-offending and cutting
juvenile crime with more effective rehabilitation and

Another bill announced the creation of a new serious organised
crime agency, dubbed the British-style FBI, which would focus on
drug smugglers, people traffickers and paedophiles.

There were also plans for compulsory drug testing for people
arrested for certain crimes and rules to force drug addicts into

Another bill called for the creation of a new offence of
incitement to religious hatred.

Other bills dealt with the introduction of national identity
cards, scheduled for launch in 2008.

David Blunkett’s more controversial plans to combat
al-Qa’eda and other Islamist groups were left out.

Better deal for children

The speech announced several bills and plans to improve school
standards and children’s lives.

One bill would see school inspections streamlined and another
would extend financial support for 16- to 19-year-olds in training
and education.

Other proposals announced would safeguard the welfare of
children who had undergone inter-country adoption or whose parents
were separated.

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