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Criminal Responsibility

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding the age of criminal responsibility. [52150]

Beverley Hughes: The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10. We need to nip early offending in the bud and reinforce young people's sense of personal responsibility for their behaviour. Timely intervention can make a difference and most young people of that age are mature enough to know the difference between right and wrong, to take responsibility for their behaviour and to cope with the operation of criminal law.

8 May 2002 : Column 223W

The Government's youth justice reforms ensure that young offenders receive appropriate interventions to make them understand and take responsibility for their offending behaviour, and are subject to programmes which directly tackle the causes of their offending.

Hare Coursing

Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will establish a power of arrest for persons found committing an offence under the Game Act 1831; [52287]

Mr. Denham: There is no immediate intention to strengthen legislation relating to illegal hare coursing or to increase relevant fines. The police and the courts already have extensive powers and substantial penalties available to them in dealing with this issue.

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Depending upon the exact circumstances the police may be able to arrest alleged offenders and a court may have the capacity to order forfeiture of vehicles used in committing or facilitating an offence.

Offences relevant to the disorder sometimes associated with illegal hare coursing are contained in the Public Order Act 1986. They include, for example, an offence of intentionally using threatening, abusing or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress. There is also the more serious offence of violent disorder which carries a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many net additional staff his Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. [52428]

Angela Eagle: I am sorry for the delay in replying. For the period June 2001 to March/April 2002 the net additional staff recruited to the Home Office and its agencies in the grades requested are set out in the following tables.

(i) The main Home Office (centrally managed, Immigration and Nationality Directorate, and managed by Merseyside Management unit)

Entrants to Department Leavers Net intake
June 20013454139178195669261
July 200150921512144645181
August 20014471643341361731
September 200123131971446172-1039
October 2001101114531660588
November 20016610752055-857
December 2001519322253-1642
January 2002241119274078-5121
February 2002511018211388523108
March 2002275185358142-2646
April 2002337110212212891


The word recruitment is used in the strict sense and does not include transfers from other Government Departments, transfer of functions, etc., which are in other.

(ii) Forensic Science Service

Entrants to Departments Leavers Net intake
June 200160350612023
July 200110280012116
August 200120230314-19
September 200180611520342
October 200151281511118
November 200100150512-53
December 20012070290-2
January 2002101111507
February 2002190231451519
March 20021060071-1
April 2002110703483


The word recruitment is used in the strict sense and does not include transfers from other Government Departments, transfer of functions, etc., which are in other.

(iii) United Kingdom Passport and Criminal Record Agency

New recruits Leavers Net intake
EO gradeAdmin gradeEO gradeAdmin gradeEO gradeAdmin grade
June 200133112328
July 200116653301335
August 20013391452-6
September 2001322465-1-43
October 2001758214544
November 2001162955111-22
December 200112505120
January 2002358822-536
February 2002265315-150
March 2002355417-138

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(iv) Prison service agency

Newly recruited Leavers Net intake
June 20014100450050
July 20015101457144
August 2001161970-8-9
September 2001292497-2-5
October 2001180445-335
November 2001287839-648
December 2001053330-323
January 2002293858-635
February 2002077943-934
March 2002073453-420


Recruitment would include transfers from other Government Departments, but not from the main Home Office.

Street Crime

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the level of street crime in each Metropolitan Police division between January and March in each year from 1997 to 2002. [52334]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 25 April 2002]: The Home Office did not collect borough figures prior to April 1999 and does not publish monthly or quarterly statistics. The Home Office will publish national statistics for the year 2001–02 in the summer in its crime bulletin. The Metropolitan police have already published figures for this period, which are available on its website. The table contains figures for total recorded robberies (including robberies of personal property and business property) in London boroughs for 1999–2000 and 2000–01.

The Metropolitan police force area is one of the 10 areas included in the Government's wider street crime initiative, which involves a concerted response to street crime across all the criminal justice and social agencies.

The 10 Force Street Crime initiative began in April 2002 across the 10 force areas with the biggest robbery problem. The police and criminal justice agencies are working together in these areas to target and fast-track all street crime offenders. The initiative also brings together the resources and expertise of non-criminal justice system agencies to help tackle the causes of street crime and take preventative action.

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Metropolitan police—total robbery offences by Basic Command Unit (BCU) Financial years 1999–2000 to 2000–01—based on force boundary since 1 April 2000

Year ending
BCUMarch 2000March 2001
Barking and Dagenham514731
Hammersmith and Fulham853911
Heathrow airport66
Kensington and Chelsea828991
Tower Hamlets1,5891,757
Waltham Forest9431,281
Grand total36,01540,992

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