Gordon Brown has set out new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, as he put the fight against the fear of crime and yobbery at the heart of the general election battle.
The Prime Minister accused the Conservatives of ramping up the fear of crime by "abusing" statistics and spreading the "fiction" that Britain is a broken society.
And he warned that David Cameron's party would "politicise" the police by introducing elections for top officers.
Mr Brown repeated pledges that Labour will protect frontline policing against cuts as the Government seeks to halve the state deficit in four years. He also said he wanted policing to be more "visible", with neighbourhood officers spending 80% of their time on the beat and patrolling singly rather than in pairs.
Speaking to an audience of police officers in Reading, Mr Brown said that he would legislate in the next session if Labour is re-elected to give victims of serious anti-social behaviour a "guarantee of protection".
Citing the case of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter after failing to receive protection against bullies, Mr Brown said that victims should be supported in getting legal injunctions, with the costs paid by the agencies who had let them down.
He confirmed plans for a new non-emergency number to inform police about anti-social behaviour and said that from now there would be an expectation that anyone breaching an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) will be prosecuted, and that the parents of those under 16 would also face action.
Mr Brown said the Conservatives were wrong to oppose the extension of CCTV schemes and the retention of DNA samples from people who are arrested but not convicted, and promised that both would be "on the ballot paper" in the coming election. And he was scornful of shadow home secretary Chris Grayling's comparison of Britain with The Wire - pointing out that the city of Baltimore, where the TV cop show is set, experiences almost 200 fatal shootings a year among a population of around two-thirds of a million, compared to 39 in England and Wales.
Mr Brown quoted the British Crime Survey as proof that crime was down by more than a third since 1997, with six million fewer crimes each year including fewer burglaries and violent incidents and the lowest number of homicides for a decade.
He accepted that despite these figures, fear of crime and anti-social behaviour continued to rise. But, in a direct attack on the Conservative rhetoric of "broken Britain", he argued: "You don't tackle the fear of crime by cultivating it, by ramping up a public sense of panic, by abusing the figures and claiming our society is broken."