The Daily Telegraph (p13) reports that giving local authorities the power to impose local curfews on under-10s was one of the flagship measures in the government's Crime and Disorder Act.
But the paper says council officers are sceptical about the legislation, which came into force at the end of September, and some MPs believe the failure of local authorities to take advantage of the measure shows the plans are badly flawed.
James Clappison, a Conservative home affairs spokesman, said: 'This was meant to be one of the key measures in the Crime and Disorder Act, but it has been grossly over-presented by the Labour party.'
Mr Beith said: 'The general lack of interest suggests that curfews were a bit of a gimmick.' One local authority official is quoted as saying: 'There are negative feelings all round about this.'