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Prison Inspections

Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average number of inspections carried out in each of her Majesty's prisons for each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [16661]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 26 February 1996]: Since January 1990, Her Majesty's inspectorate of prisons has carried out 245 inspections in the 131 Prison Service establishments in England and Wales, an average of nearly two inspections per establishment.

The total number of inspections undertaken by Her Majesty's inspectorate of prisons in each year is as follows:


Parental Control (Fines)

Sir Michael Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many parents of children convicted of an offence have been required to pay a fine in respect of refusal to comply with the court's decision to bind them over to take proper care of and exercise proper control over their child in the last 12 months. [16345]

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 26 February 1996]: Section 58(2)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 gives courts the power to fine a parent or guardian in respect of

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a refusal to comply with the court's decision to bind them over to take proper care of and exercise proper control over their child. Information on the number of such fines is not separately identifiable centrally.

Mr. Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total annual budget, for each of the last 10 years, allocated for the inspection of Her Majesty's prisons; and if he will make a statement. [16662]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 26 February 1996]: Information on the total annual budget allocated for the inspection of Her Majesty's prisons in England and Wales is not available before 1991-92. The total annual budget for each of the last five years was:

YearBudget £
1991-92568,159
1992-93664,506
1993-94726,344
1994-95665,220
1995-96737,000

Police (Bicycle Seizures)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has issued on the use of police powers to seize and retain bicycles used in demonstrations; and in what circumstances the police are entitled to take such action. [16792]

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Mr. Maclean [holding answer 26 February 1996]: There are no specific police powers of this kind and therefore no such guidance has been issued. The role of the police in controlling demonstrations is to preserve the peace, to uphold the law and to prevent the commission of offences. Police tactics and decisions on how to achieve these objectives are a matter for the independent operational judgment of chief officers of police.

Crime (Retail Premises)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many retail premise burglaries in Coventry in each of the last five years resulted in convictions; [17019]

Mr. Maclean [holding answers 26 February 1996]: This information is not collected centrally.

Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the conviction rate for retail store robbery and till snatches in Coventry in each of the last five years. [17023]

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 26 February 1996]: Information which is readily available centrally is given in the table. Data for 1995 will be available in the autumn.

Prosecutions and convictions(24) in Coventry petty sessional division for theft from shops,(25) for the period 1990 to 1994
Number of defendants

ProsecutionsConvictions(24)
1990585484
1991493408
1992491382
1993468377
1994428377

(24) Includes persons convicted at the Crown court, who were committed for trial/sentence by Coventry PSD.

(25) Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968.


Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions he has had with the President of the Board of Trade with respect to retail crime; what plans he has to combat retail crime; and if he will make a statement; [17024]

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Mr. Maclean [holding answers 26 February 1996]: My right hon. and learned Friend and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade have both contributed to the third White Paper on competitiveness, which will emphasise the importance of crime prevention.

Work to combat retail crime is being energetically pursued by the retail action group, an associate group of the Home Office Crime Prevention Agency Board. Advice booklets for retailers on preventing burglary, robber and violence to staff have already been published. Further guidance on the prevention of customer theft and external fraud and on making an arrest will be published later this year. The group is also looking at ways of identifying and promulgating best practice, including the use of technology in crime prevention.

Closed circuit television can make a significant contribution to reducing crime against retail premises, especially when it forms part of a package of crime prevention measures. The Home Office has provided advice to users in recently published guidance; and has helped promote its use through last year's CCTV challenge competition in which the majority of successful bids were from partnerships who wished to install security cameras in shopping centres and high streets in town centres around the country. My right hon. and learned Friend has announced that £15 million will be available in 1996 for a further CCTV challenge competition and it is likely that shopping areas will again be major beneficiaries.

Numerous projects are also being carried forward by police forces, local partnerships, businesses and shop watch schemes. Some have been funded under the safer cities programme. Police crime prevention officers supply regular and up to date crime prevention advice to businesses, and architectural liaison officers provide advice on the part that good building design can play in preventing crime.

The Home Office conducted a survey in 1994 to assess the risks of crime for retailers in England and Wales, including the risks of burglary. The results are reported in Home Office research study No. 146 and Home Office research and statistics directorate research findings No. 26, copies of which are in the Library. The survey does not allow any reliable results for retailers in Coventry.

Sentencing

Mr. Straw: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 6 February to the hon. Member for Blackburn, Official Report, column 107, if he will place in the Library a copy of the study of sentences given to those convicted of burglary and drug dealing and copies of similar studies he had commissioned or evaluated. [17009]

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 26 February 1996]: A study of a sample of offenders convicted in 1993 is contained in chapter 9 of "Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1994", a copy of which is in the Library. A special statistical analysis was required to provide the hon. Member with the information requested in the previous questions.

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Mr. Straw: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average sentence given to adults upon their (a) first, (b) second and (c) third or greater number of convictions for (i) domestic burglary and (ii) drug dealing. [17010]

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Mr. Maclean [holding answer 26 February 1996]: The information requested is not collected routinely. The results from a sample of those convicted of indictable offences in three weeks of 1993 are given in the table.

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Sentencing of domestic burglars and drug dealers(26) aged 21 or over by number of previous convictions

Offence1st conviction 2nd conviction 3rd or greater conviction
Percentage given immediate custodyAverage custodial sentence (months)Percentage given immediate custodyAverage custodial sentence (months)Percentage given immediate custodyAverage custodial sentence (months)
Domestic burglary391551155715
Drug dealing553261257530

(26) Based on drug trafficking offences monitored and reported in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin "Statistics of Drugs Seizures and Offenders dealt with, United Kingdom, 1994". These are offences of unlawful production of drugs other than cannabis, unlawful supply, possession with intent to supply unlawfully and unlawful import or export.


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