Boris Johnson says 'fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs' will help beat crime

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·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read
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Watch: PM plans hi-vis 'chain gangs' to fight anti-social behaviour

Boris Johnson has claimed hi-vis “chain gangs” will act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour.

Johnson, launching his “beating crime plan", said people should be able to identify others who have been sentenced to community service.

The prime minister, speaking during a visit to the headquarters of Surrey Police on Tuesday, said low-level disorder can have a major impact on victims.

He said the coronavirus lockdown “has driven some anti-social behaviour” and promised to tackle it.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) and Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel (R) visit Surrey Police headquarters in Guildford, south west of London, on July 27, 2021 to coincide with the publication of the government's plans to tackle crime. (Photo by Yui Mok / POOL / AFP) (Photo by YUI MOK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson launching the 'beating crime plan' with home secretary Priti Patel on Tuesday. (AFP via Getty Images)

He went on: “I also want to see those who are guilty of anti-social behaviour properly paying their debt to society.

“Somebody’s anti-social behaviour may be treated as a minor crime but it could be deeply distressing to those who are victims.

“If you are guilty of anti-social behaviour and you are sentenced to unpaid work, as many people are, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be out there in one of those fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs visibly paying your debt to society.

“So you are going to be seeing more of that as well.”

The new crime plan also includes a permanent relaxing of conditions on the use of controversial Section 60 stop and search powers.

Section 60 gives officers the right to search people in a defined area during a specific time period when they expect serious violence.

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It is controversial due to concerns that it disproportionately affects Black and minority ethnic communities. Human rights organisation Liberty UK said it would “compound discrimination”.

The PM, however, said: “I think that giving the police the backing that they need in law to stop someone, to search them, to relieve them of a dangerous weapon… I don’t think that’s strong-arm tactics, I think that’s a kind and a loving thing to do.

“The people who often support stop and search most passionately are the parents of the kids who are likely themselves to be the victims of knife crime.”

Liberty, meanwhile, has also criticised the PM's "chain gang" comments, saying they show "this plan has nothing to do with making communities safer. It's designed to create more stigma and division. A short-term stunt that will cause long-term generational harm."

Watch: PM defends 'kind and loving' stop and search

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