In the Media

Cameron defends hoodies

PUBLISHED July 10, 2006

DAVID CAMERON will come to the defence of young men in hooded tops today and tell police that they are too focused on form-filling and excusemaking to prevent crime.

The Tory leader will describe the police as ?lacking?, as he outlines the changes needed to overhaul the service. He will suggest that Britain needs to replace police authorities with directly elected sheriffs and abolish most targets, which he believes hamper their work.

This comes on the same day that he is due to make his controversial declaration on the subject of ?hoodies?, calling for greater understanding of wayward teenagers.

It also comes as an embarrassing series of e-mails from a personal aide to Mr Cameron were leaked. Desmond Swayne, Mr Cameron?s parliamentary private secretary, paints a bleak picture of the pledge to withdraw from the European People?s Party and makes candid comments about colleagues, including Francis Maude, the party chairman, and Theresa May.

Today Mr Cameron will try to seize the agenda on Crime and Justice Day, making two speeches on the subject. The first, on the causes of crime, will be at a conference on social justice, and the second, on the state of the police, at the Police Federation.

He will tell police chiefs: ?[The public] don?t want agonised apologies and promises to get it right next time. They want the police to be crime fighters, not form writers. They want the police to be a force as well as a service.?

However, he faces more criticism for his remarks on ?hoodies?. He is expected to say that teenagers who hide under hooded tops are trying to ?blend in? rather than appear threatening.

Last year the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent banned people wearing hooded tops, and said youths were using the hoods to shield their faces from CCTV cameras while committing crimes. Mr Cameron is expected to criticise the ban. ?For some, the hoodie represents all that?s wrong about youth culture in Britain today. For me, adult society?s response to the hoodie shows how far we are from finding the long-term answers to put things right.?

A Downing Street source said that Mr Cameron?s speech was a ?another example of David Cameron doing one thing and saying another?.