Former Tony Blair adviser Ben Rogers raised eyebrows today when he recommended that front-line public-sector workers be trained to intervene against anti-social behaviour.
Transport workers, street cleaners and park keepers should all be trained to tackle aggression by members of the public, according to a Royal Society of Arts report published today.
Author Mr Rogers, who worked in Mr Blair's "strategy unit," wrote that the huge pressures on public spending "only makes the need to forge more productive relations between citizens and services all the more urgent."
He's also at right-wing think tank Demos which has blue Labourite Jon Cruddas, Tory Chancellor George Osborne and his Liberal Democrat bedfellows Danny Alexander and Vince Cable on its advisory council.
Mr Rogers suggested that police officers or "lay trainers" use a model to train people in first aid to teach front-line public-sector workers how to act when they confront anti-social behaviour in their communities.
Parking enforcement officers, caretakers, teachers and other school staff, social workers, youth workers, shop keepers and postal workers would also be included should the government be interested in adopting the plans.
Mr Rogers said that the coalition government has been "committed to rolling back the state and promoting civic and community initiative" but noted that to date this approach has not featured strongly in relation to policing of local crime and disorder.
MP Jeremy Corbyn told the Morning Star: "This smacks of a fatal combination of privatisation and vigilantism imposed upon the rest of us by one of Blair's former advisers.
"Real change will happen by educating people away from anti-social behaviour and employing more police."
And Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever said that brutal cuts have meant the police service does not have the resources to take on this additional burden.
He said: "Our concern is how we would be able to resource the training for the public when our resources are being cut and are already stretched.
"We also have concern over members of the public getting involved in scenarios which may then escalate into something far more serious."
A government spokeswoman said she looked forward to reading the report.
Morning Star, 8 August 2012