Tony Blair's crackdown on yob culture and nuisance neighbours fails to tackle the root of the problem, Birmingham's head of community safety warned last night.

Jim Whorwood said get-tough measures announced yesterday to "put the respect back into our communities" were more about making the Government look good.

At the same time, the city's head of anti-social behaviour admitted Asbos - a key plank of Labour's Respect Action Plan - had little effect on the worst offenders.

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Mr Blair's #70 million Respect Action Plan to "restore the liberty of the lawabiding citizen" was launched across the country including Birmingham by Cabinet Ministers.

It promises legislation to tackle poor behaviour among youngsters both in and out of school and new measures to ensure parents face up to their responsibilities.

But Coun Whorwood (Lib Dem South Yardley), Birmingham's cabinet member for local services and community safety, said: "All these ideas help at the margins. It helps some people. It certainly makes the Government look like they are doing something but the impact on the ground is very very limited.

"As far as I can see it doesn't address the core of the cases I come across. On the ground level you need more people. You need the law enforcers but also the social workers who can assist and guide their families to interest in their children."

Coun Whorwood said enforcing anti-social behaviour orders banning people from activity such as playing music loudly or entering an estate, could further alienate young people from society.

"These kids feel rejected. All the residents on their estate want these kids out. You have to talk to these kids one at a time and find out what they are good at and try and build on that to give them confidence."

The Birmingham Post yesterday revealed that for every Asbo issued in the West Midlands since 1999 there were, on average, three breaches.

Mr Blair admitted he could not "guarantee good behaviour" or "impose a set of common values about acceptable behaviour".

But he said: "Anti-social behaviour by both adults and young people creates havoc for the communities around them.

"Where that happens, we will not allow it to go unchallenged and unchecked."

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly visited Birmingham to highlight the work of the Choice Family Intervention Project in Corporation Street in curbing anti-social behaviour.

Speaking to project leaders, she claimed the Government was not just focusing on enforcement.

"We think it is really important to look at the root causes of anti-social behaviour," she said.

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