UK Politics

UK riots: Michael Gove stresses new discipline measures

Michael Gove
Image caption Michael Gove said police had to cope with gangs collaborating for the first time

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said measures he is introducing will help tackle concerns about the absence of discipline shown by recent violence.

Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast it was too early to say what the cause or causes of the violence was.

But people had raised legitimate concerns over an "absence of discipline in the home and in the school".

Mr Gove said he had worked for 15 months on restoring a "culture of adult authority in our schools".

He said that measures coming into force on 1 September would also mean that discipline "is taken more seriously".

"Teachers will be given additional powers to deal with poor behaviour and we have made it clear that when teachers exercise authority we will support them and the legal system," he said.

These measures include giving teachers greater power to search pupils for banned items, giving anonymity to teachers facing allegations, and removing the requirement for 24 hours' notice for detentions.

Also, appeals panels will also not be able to send children back to a school from which they have been excluded.

"I think the balance has shifted too far in favour of people, often young people, who say 'I know my rights'," Mr Gove said.

Mr Gove said that poverty or disadvantage should not be blamed for the violence, saying that ultimately it was a question of morals and values.

"There are people in tough circumstances who would never think of stealing. And I think it's an insult to the majority of people in this country who are trying hard, at a difficult time to make the best of their lives, to somehow link poverty and criminality," he said.

He said this was a critical moment to show that people who want to do well should work hard and devote themselves to their career rather than going for the "instant gratification" of "gangsta culture".

Mr Gove's sentiments were echoed later by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said after a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency meeting that parts of society were "sick" and there needed to be a greater sense of "responsibility".

And London Mayor Boris Johnson raised the question, during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, of the need for some sort of government programme such as the National Citizen's Service to give a sense of purpose to people who might otherwise join gangs.