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Police (Kent)

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what contribution his Department will make towards the extra staff required by Kent County Constabulary to enforce the provisions of the Kent County Council Bill and the Medway Council Bill; [130934]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 17 July 2000]: Meetings were held between the Home Office, Kent County Constabulary and the Trading Standards Authority to investigate the principle of the Kent County Council Bill and the Medway Council Bill before they were deposited. Additional meetings and telephone calls have been held between the Home Office and the solicitors representing the Kent County Constabulary. The Home Office submitted a report on the Bills and Kent Country Constabulary met any concerns.

Records are not kept centrally of the number of meetings held, e-mails exchanged, or telephone calls received or made by the Department on any specific subject.

The Chief Constable has advised me that he does not anticipate that enforcing the provisions of the Bills will impose any significant increased demand on police resources. He is confident that the Bills will enhance Kent's existing intelligence led policing and lead to increased efficiency for individual officers investigating individual crimes.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many written parliamentary questions tabled to his Department between 19 October

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1999 and 20 April 2000 have not received answers, citing as the reason commercial confidentiality or other confidentiality. [131229]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 20 July 2000]: My Department answered a total of 2,751 written parliamentary questions between 19 October and 20 April 2000.

It is always my practice to provide as full a reply as possible to all parliamentary questions, and to provide all relevant information even where that specifically requested is not available. Where, occasionally, information is withheld, the reasons for non-disclosure are consistent with the exemptions contained within the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information Section Second Edition (1997). For example:

information which could harm national security or defence, (paragraph 1a);

information whose disclosure could prejudice the enforcement or proper administration of the law, including the prevention, investigation or detection of crime, or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders (paragraph 4b);

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information whose disclosure could endanger the life or physical safety of any person, or identity the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes (paragraph 4f); and

information whose disclosure could lead to improper gain or advantage or would prejudice negotiations or the effective conduct of personnel management, or commercial or contractual activities (paragraph 7a).

Crime Statistics

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences were committed in the borough of Hertsmere in each of the last four years for which figures are available, broken down by type of offence; and what the clear-up rate was in each case. [131948]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The latest available data for notifiable offences recorded by the police in Hertsmere are given in the table. No data are available for the year to March 1997 due to substantial changes in boundaries.

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Year to March 1998 Year to March 1999 Year to March 2000
OffencesPercentage cleared upOffencesPercentage cleared upOffencesPercentage cleared up
Violence against the person29675.366164.81,00039.3
Sexual offences89100.02941.46036.7
Robbery4327.92810.7494.1
Burglary(1)----90415.61,0547.5
Theft and handling2,60015.22,48113.03,0268.7
Fraud and forgery37325.729319.14669.9
Criminal damage1,35514.81,24211.11,5167.5
Drug offences(1)----118(1)115.310395.1
Other notifiable offences5472.25145.15920.3
Total5,65721.75,80721.77,33314.0

(1) Data for the year to March 1998 are not available

(1) Clear up rates are based on crimes detected in a given period compared to crimes recorded in that period, because some crimes detected in the period may have been recorded in a previous one the clear up rate can exceed 100 per cent.

Notes:

1. The rules for recording crimes changed in April 1998 which led to a large increase in the number recorded, see Home Office Statistical Bulletin 18/99 'Recorded Crime Statistics, England and Wales April 1998 to March 1999' for more details

2. The definition of clear ups changed in April 1999, to exclude certain types of police action that would previously have been recorded as clear ups, and led to a decrease in clear up rates, see Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/00 'Recorded Crime Statistics, England and Wales April 1999 to March 2000' for more details


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Young Remand Prisoners

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) 15 and (b) 16-year-olds were held on remand in adult prisons according to the most recent figures available; and if he will list the prisons concerned. [131723]

Mr. Boateng: On 30 June 2000, the latest date for which figures are available, the numbers were:

Prison15-year-olds16-year-olds
Altcourse01
Doncaster1213
Norwich12
Total1316

Alcohol

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions he has held

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with alcohol retailers on measures they are proposing to help prevent high percentage volume beers, lagers and ciders from reaching under-age drinkers; [132255]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 21 July 2000, Official Report, columns 362-63W.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the numbers of recorded incidents of criminal damage that have involved the consumption of alcohol by the perpetrator, indicating the proportion which involved under-age drinkers; [132243]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested is not available. The police do not routinely provide information on the perpetrators of the offences that they record, and for many offences the perpetrator will not be known.

Estimates of the proportion of offences in which alcohol is involved have come from various ad-hoc studies. The figures they give vary somewhat according to the samples of offences taken, and the methodology of the studies. Moreover, it is difficult to say whether the misuse of alcohol was the cause of an offence, or merely a contributory factor.

One recent study looked at arrestees in five police force areas in 1996-97. This showed that 25 per cent. tested positive for alcohol, ranging from 42 per cent. in Sunderland to eight per cent. in Manchester. The proportion of offenders arrested for violent crime, burglary, non-vehicle related thefts and criminal damage that tested positive for alcohol is shown in Table 1. Information on the age of the arrestees is not available.

Table 1: Proportion of arrestees testing positive for alcohol

Main offencePercentage of arrestees testing positive for alcohol
Grievous bodily harm17
Actual bodily harm38
Burglary dwelling26
Burglary non-dwelling16
Theft from the person0
Theft from a shop12
Criminal damage46

Note:

Based on Table D.5 in "Drugs and crime: the results of research on drug testing and interviewing arrestees", by Trevor Bennet, Home Office Research Study 183, Home Office, 1998. Only offences for which there are large enough numbers are included in Table 1


The British Crime Survey also asks victims who had some knowledge of the person(s) who committed crimes

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against them mentioned in the survey whether they considered the perpetrator to be under the influence of drink or drugs. Table 2 presents results.

Table 2: Violence involving alcohol and/drugs (percentages):
1996 British crime survey

Offender under influence of alcoholOffender under influence of drugs or alcohol
Domestic violence3238
Mugging1725
Stranger violence5357
Acquaintance violence5453
All contact crime4148

Source:

The 1996 British crime survey: England and Wales, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 19-96. Home Office, 1996.


According to the most recent statistics, the number of offenders found guilty or cautioned for drunkenness in England and Wales in 1998 was 53,587. The number of those found guilty or cautioned under 18 was 8,487. For Merseyside the number of offenders was 8,602: 1,649 of these were aged under 18.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the timetable for introducing a new offence of knowingly permitting the sale of alcohol to an under-18- year-old. [132105]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: It is currently an offence under section 169(1) of the Licensing Act 1964 for the holder of a liquor licence knowingly to allow any person to sell intoxicating liquor to a person under 18. Under the Private Member's Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Mr. Truswell), the Licensing (Young Persons) Bill, this offence will be amended to include any person who works in licensed premises in a capacity, whether paid or unpaid, which gives him authority to prevent the sale. The Bill has so far enjoyed wide support and was successful at Second Reading in the House of Lords on 14 July. We therefore hope that the extended offence will become law this year.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to discuss with the brewing industry measures they are proposing to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviour by under-age drinkers. [132307]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), has this year chaired two seminars with representatives of the brewing, hospitality and leisure industry, and other interested groups to discuss this and other matters relating to the links between alcohol and crime. A further seminar is due to take place in September. A range of initiatives within a strategic action plan should flow from this work.

The Government have already been encouraged by the industry's approach to social responsibility. A good example was the launch of the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association's Partnership Initiative on 29 March this year. The Initiative is part of an ongoing industry-wide strategy to promote retailer responsibility across the licensed trade. It opens the way to direct industry involvement in crime and disorder partnerships, and will enable them to make a positive contribution to

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public order policies at local level. The aim of the initiative is to facilitate this involvement by setting up a database of company nominees and actively seeking to place them in local partnerships through liaison with local authorities.


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