|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Hurd : There were 801,500 burglaries in the 12 months to March 1989 compared to 886,400 for the previous 12 months, a decrease of almost 85,000 or 10 per cent. This information is published in table 4 of Home Office Statistical Bulletin 20/89, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Hurd : In their bid to reduce crime, of which burglary is a major element, the Government have increased police manpower by 14, 138 and civilian manpower by 8,137 since 1979. The Government are also convinced of the importance of community involvement in tackling crime. That is why we have encouraged neighbourhood watch schemes which can do much to prevent crime. There are now over 66,000 neighbourhood watch schemes in England and Wales covering approximately 3 million households. In addition there are 390 crime prevention panels and 165 junior panels which are active in spreading the crime prevention message. In the 12 months to March 1989 burglaries have fallen by 10 per cent. compared with the 12 months to March 1988.
We are constantly looking at new initiatives in our effort to combat crime. One such initiative is the safer cities programme which is the Home Office contribution to the Government's action for cities strategy. We have also launched Crime Concern, an independent organisation, whose efforts are directed at the reduction of crime.
22. Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he received in the month of June regarding Nazi war criminals in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
23. Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers the Independent Television Commission will have to ensure that individuals found to be unfit to hold a television broadcasting licence in other countries, are prevented from involvement in television companies and channels in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Renton : My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced further proposals to limit broadcasting ownership on 19 May at column 317. We are considering further the detail of the enforcement powers which the ITC and radio authority will need. We envisage that, in exercising them, they will reach their own decisions rather than necessarily following those reached by regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : As at 1 June 1989 the number of officers (including principal and senior officers) in dispersal prisons was 9 per cent. higher than two years previously when none of the establishments had moved to fresh start working.
26. Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have died over the past 25 years at the hands of previously convicted killers ; and what was the average length of sentence served by murderers released from prison over the past five years for which figures are available.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Information on the number of suspects convicted of homicide who had previous homicide convictions is published annually in Criminal statistics, England and Wales (tables 4.9 and 4.10 of the latest issue, for 1987, Cm. 498), copies of which are in the Library.
During the 25 year period 1963-87, 51 persons in England and Wales were killed by persons previously convicted of homicide.
Average times served by sentenced murderers released on licence from prison service establishments are given in the table. The average figures do not take account of the longest periods being served by some of those given life sentences following the abolition of capital punishment in 1965 who have not yet been released. They also exclude persons who have died in custody or been discharged for other reasons.
My right hon. Friend has made it clear that those convicted of the most heinous murders can normally expect to service at least 20 years in prison and in some cases even longer ; and no life sentence prisoner is released, no matter how long he or she has served, unless my right hon. Friend is personally as satisfied as it is reasonably possible to be that there is no risk to the community.
Average time<1> spent under sentence in prison service establishments in England and Wales by prisoners first released in 1984-88 on licence from a life sentence for murder Year of release |Average years<2> under |life sentence --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 |10.50 1985 |10.25 1986 |11.00 1988 |10.00 <1> Excluding any time spent on remand in custody. <2> Estimates rounded to the nearest quarter.
Mr. Hurd : In its 1985 report on offences against religion and public worship, the Law Commission recommended--by a majority--that common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel should be abolished and not replaced. A minority proposed in a note of dissent the creation of a new statutory offence of blasphemy applying to all religions. The Government have no plans to legislate on blasphemy.
Mr. Renton : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my right hon. Friend gave to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) on 14 December 1988 at cols 576-7. That essentially remains the position, and it was last extensively discussed in this House on 4 May at columns 395-417.
It is encouraging that in the 12 months ending March 1989 recorded offences of theft from vehicles fell by 9 per cent. compared to the corresponding period last year, and offences of theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle fell by 6 per cent.
Mr. Hurd : We have strengthened the law on sales of alcohol to underage drinkers and increased the penalties available to the courts. We have issued advice to the police and courts about powers available to deal with outbreaks
Column 640of disorder. We have encouraged the drinks industry to increase the production and promotion of low and no alcohol drinks. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, as chairman of the ministerial group on alcohol misuse, together with my hon. Friends the Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Home Department will shortly meet representatives of the drinks, fast food and leisure industries and the licensed trade to discuss other matters raised by the report. These moves by the Government need to be backed up by local action, with local organisations working together to identify any particular problems in their areas and the steps which might be taken. The need for such co-operation was spelt out in inter-Departmental guidance issued in February, which gave advice about local action to tackle all forms of alcohol misuse.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend has no plans to create new combined police forces. I would also refer the hon. Member to the reply which was given to questions from my hon. Friend the Member for Rydale (Mr. Greenway) and the hon. Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) on 11 May at column 529.
Mr. Hurd : The available information relates to the police force area of Sussex. Information for 1988 was published in tables 7 and 8 of "Home Office Statistical Bulletin 7/89", a copy of which is in the Library. I have also sent some further details of the figures for 1988 for their local force area to all right hon. and hon. Members for constituencies in England and Wales and placed copies of those further details in the Library. In the first quarter of 1989 Sussex police recorded 4 per cent. more offences than in the first quarter of 1988.
Mr. Renton : I understand that about 15,650 people living in North Wales are unable to receive Welsh language television programmes because of mountainous terrain and shortage of frequencies. There are, however, plans to extend coverage to a further 1,000 people in the Gronant area.
Mr. Hurd : The Green Paper "Punishment, Custody and the Community" (Cm. 424) described the policies we are pursuing and our proposals for future changes. We are at present considering how best to take these forward.
43. Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional prison places have become available since 1979 ; how many additional places are expected to be provided this year ; and how many additional places are expected to become available in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Since 1979 more than 6,000 new places have been added to the prison estate, over half of which have been provided at the eight new prisons which have opened since 1985. The first phase of a new prison for 350 prisoners has recently opened in converted buildings at Banstead in Surrey, and by the end of the financial year it is planned that a total of nearly 2,000 new places will have been added to the estate.
Through a combination of more new prisons, additions to existing prisons and redevelopment and place producing schemes, about 17,000 new places will also be delivered between the end of this financial year and the mid-1990s. By that time a total of about 25,000 places will have been added to the system.
45. Mr. Hague : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress his Department is making in fostering greater co- operation between British police forces and their counterparts elsewhere in Europe.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We attach great importance to closer co-operation between police forces in tackling crime, and have actively sought to strengthen bilateral links. My right hon. Friend recently signed an arrangement with France providing for further practical co-operation on action against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. A similar arrangement was signed with Italy earlier in the year. Further action is in hand to
Column 642improve bilateral and multilateral co- operation in a number of areas including mutual legal assistance and extradition arrangements, the exchange of drugs intelligence, exchange of liaison officers, and the confiscation of drug traffickers' assets ; a bilateral drugs confiscation agreement with Spain was signed recently.
Mr. Hurd : Our crime prevention handbook "Practical Ways to Crack Crime" contains advice on how the risk of theft of all kinds can be reduced. Measures that can be taken to prevent theft from shops were put forward by a working group of the Home Office standing committee on crime prevention in its 1986 report ; the working group on car crime, which reported last year, made a number of recommendations about the prevention of theft of and from cars, which are now being examined. The number of theft offences recorded in England and Wales during 1988 was 1,931,000, nearly 6 per cent. fewer than in 1987.
Mr. Hurd : We do not collect information centrally. But a number of surveys and studies, including Home Office Research Study No. 108 "Drinking and Disorder : A study of non-Metropolitan Disorder", have pointed to a strong association between alcohol misuse and public disorder in particular. Advice on crime prevention is accordingly included in recent Home Office and interdepartmental guidance on alcohol misuse.
Mr. Hurd : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to a question from him on 11 May at column 531. Grants have already been made to the following voluntary organisations : the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders ; the National Children's Home ; the Rainer Foundation ; Community Service Volunteers. Other applications are under consideration.
Mr. Renton : I received a letter today from the hon. Member on behalf of the National Association of Hospital Broadcasting Organisations. It has been invited to discuss the matter with the radio authority in due course, and meanwhile to meet Home Office officials.
52. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received supporting the inclusion of the European convention on human rights in British law ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : My hon. Friend the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Mr. Patten) will be meeting representatives of the Conservative Family Campaign later this month to discuss young people's involvement in crime.
Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in the last year for which figures are available were (a) cautioned, (b) prosecuted, and (c) convicted for (i) driving or parking in or otherwise obstructing bus lanes, (ii) parking on pavements, (iii) cycling on pavements, and (iv) careless driving by failing to give way to pedestrians when turning at junctions.
Mr. John Patten : The details requested on motoring offences are not separately recorded in the information collected centrally. The available information on court proceedings and cautions for parking, obstruction and careless driving offences is published annually in a Home Office statistical bulletin "Offences relating to motor vehicles, England and Wales" and in a volume of supplementary tables, both of which are in the Library. The information available centrally, which may be incomplete, indicates that in 1987, 540 persons were prosecuted for the offence of riding on a footway of whom 500 were guilty ; about 1,000 persons were cautioned in 1986 (separate information was not collected in 1987).
Column 644Information about deaths of persons in police custody including the place and cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the death have been set out, since 1980, in the annual reports of the chief inspector of constabulary and the Metropolitan police commissioner. There do not appear to have been any previous deaths in cellular police vans. Information about injuries is not recorded centrally. Cellular police vans were introduced by individual police forces at different times over a period of many years. They were first used by the Lancashire police in 1984.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which sections of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 have not yet been implemented ; and if he will make a statement explaining the reasons why these sections have not yet been implemented.
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 10 July 1989] : Section 43 of the Act which widens the powers of the Court of Appeal to order a retrial, section 146 and schedule 13, which reform rules of evidence in service courts, and section 159, which creates a right of appeal against orders restricting reporting of and access to Crown Court proceedings will come into force on 31 July. Section 119, which increases the upper age limit for jurors, will come into force on 15 February 1990.
Sections 1-22 and schedule 1, which relate to extradition, are consolidated by the Extradition Bill which has been introduced in the House of Lords. The Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent before the summer recess, and its provisions will take effect two months later.
The implementation of section 29, which concerns the issue of letters of request to foreign courts seeking their assistance in obtaining evidence, has been delayed while we have considered the role of such a provision in the context of more comprehensive legislation on mutual legal assistance, for which we will bring forward proposals at the earliest possible opportunity.
Further consideration is being given to the implementation of section 32 in so far as it is not already in force. This relates to the giving of evidence through a live television link by witnesses who are outside the United Kingdom.
Section 65, which concerns the powers of civilian fine enforcement officers, will be brought into force once the preparation of related court rules is complete.
Sections 108-117 and schedules 6 and 7 establish the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board on a statutory basis. Under schedules 6 and 7, detailed procedural rules are required for the statutory scheme, and we are discussing the content of these with the board. Sections 150 and 151 extend to Customs and Excise officers police powers to grant bail and re-arrest if a suspect seems likely to abscond. Because of operational difficulties which would arise in practice from their interaction with provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 these provisions have not yet been brought into force.
All 132 other sections of, and 12 schedules to, the Act are already in force.
Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Merseyside as to the number of formal complaints lodged at the Belle Vale police station, Liverpool.
Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Merseyside as to the number of arrests of minors by police stationed at Belle Vale during the last six months.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what prosecutions have successfully taken place in each of the past five years involving the wrongful use of orange badges for the disabled. Mr. John Patten : The latest available information, which may be incomplete, relates to the period 1983 to 1986 ; in each year fewer than 20 persons were found guilty of offences under the orange badge scheme. After 1986 these offences were not separately indentifiable in the records of court proceedings collected centrally.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many criminal cases have been brought before the courts in the past three years involving drug administering for gain of thoroughbred racehorses ;
(2) if he has plans to seek to restrict the administration of drugs on thoroughbred racehorses for the purpose of enhancing their potential ;
(3) if he will act immediately to ban the administering of anabolic steroids on racehorses in training in the United Kingdom. (4) if he will make it his policy to investigate fully the use of drugs on thoroughbred racehorses in the United Kingdom ;
(5) if the Government have any plans to investigate the drug testing systems currently undertaken in the British thoroughbred and breeding industry ;
(6) if the Government have recently monitored the drug testing systems involved in the British horseracing and breeding industry.
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 9 June 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) on 22 December at column 428. It is an offence under the Medicines (Hormone Growth Promoters) (Prohibition of Use) Regulations 1988 to administer hormone growth promoters to any horse except for specified therapeutic or zootechnical purposes. Information on the number of criminal cases brought before the courts in the past three years involving the
Column 646administration for gain of drugs to thoroughbred racehorses is not readily available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.