Parenting classes will be given to people whose children commit anti-social behaviour, under plans announced by Labour.

Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed pledged to help mothers and fathers “take responsibility for tackling the behaviour of their own children if they repeatedly commit crime”.

In a speech at Middle Temple in central London, the Labour frontbencher said if the party wins power “we will expand the use of parenting orders, so the courts can require parents of persistent young offenders to attend parenting classes”.

Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed speaking during the Labour Party Conference at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Tuesday September 27, 2022.
Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed

He added: “We will support parents to steer their children’s lives back on track before the crime in a young life becomes a life of crime.

“Antisocial behaviour will be met with consequences, because we know how damaging it is for communities that feel powerless in the face of it.”

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Mr Reed said that while parents of low-level offenders should take responsibility for their actions they “may need support and help to get control of them”.

He said there are parents in his constituency who are “genuinely at their wits’ end because they don’t know how to get back control of their kids”, adding that their fear is that “this low-level offending” might lead on to “more serious offending later in life”.

“So giving them parenting lessons can help them get back control of their kids and steer them away from a life of crime,” he added.

Mr Reed also used his speech to promise “clean-up squads” to tackle fly-tipping, an increase in the use of community sentences to target reoffending rates and to “give a voice” to victims and local communities.

“With a Labour government, criminals will be arrested, they will be prosecuted, and they will be punished,” he said.

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After insisting that “our criminal justice system is failing in its central mission to keep people safe”, Mr Reed also pledged to increase the number of staff employed by the government to serve as crown prosecutors by one half.

He added: “We will do that by allowing associate prosecutors, with proper training, to use their skills and qualifications to get the wheels of justice turning.”

Just as Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, did in her speech at the Institute for Government think-tank on Thursday, Mr Reed also revived Tony Blair’s “tough on crime” slogan but insisted it is “time to update that approach to fit the modern world”.

He said a Labour government would develop “the world’s first trauma-informed criminal justice system”, by using the science of trauma studies across the courts, prison, probation system and elsewhere to address some of the root causes of crime.

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