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Dr Sentamu urges mutual respect


THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has responded to the Government's drive to make young people show more respect with an alternative vision: if leaders want people to respect them, then they should show them respect.

The Government said this week that it would seek powers to evict people from their homes for three months if they were too unruly. It also wanted police to issue £100 on-the-spot fines for street disorder.

But Dr Sentamu gave the example of the late Bishop Trevor Huddleston CR, who, as a white priest in South Africa under apartheid, who had met a black domestic worker with the words: "Good morning, ma'am." The greeting had made an "indelible impression" on the woman's nine-year-old son, who grew up to become the Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu.

Trevor Huddleston's show of respect had also made his own ministry possible, Dr Sentamu told the BBC. Speaking of young people, he continued: "If they are not treated lovingly and forgivingly, they will be unforgiving. If we do not trust them, they will not trust us."

The Government launched its Respect Action Plan to "tackle the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour". The campaign was aimed at supporting families, offering a new approach to the most "challenging" families, improving behaviour in school, finding more activities for young people, strengthening communities, and ensuring effective enforcement and "community justice".

The Government said it would offer more help in parenting, and give more organisations the chance to apply for parenting orders when children misbehaved. It wanted people to stand up to bad behaviour and make public services more accountable to local people. In the country's most disadvantaged areas, it wanted to link physical regeneration to measures to manage behaviour.

The Evangelical Alliance warned that the respect agenda could turn into a political gimmick. "If the Government is really serious about tackling the causes, rather than the incidence, of anti-social behaviour and the lack of respect in society, it must do more to support agencies and groups who are seeking to mentor young people and families and instil values over the long term," said David Muir, its public policy director.

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