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19 Sept 2002 : Column 56W—continued

Yarl's Wood Detention Centre

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people who were detained at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre at the time of the fire on 14 February have since been removed from the UK; [52959]

Beverley Hughes: The immigration and asylum applications and appeals of those held at Yarl's Wood removal centre on 14 February have continued to be processed in the normal way. This will include the removal or deportation of individuals who reach the point where they no longer have any lawful basis to remain in this country. The number of persons removed or deported could be established only by an examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

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I understand that Bedfordshire Police have completed their controlled clearance of the Yarl's Wood site and that the forensic examination of the material removed continues. No evidence of fatalities has been discovered to date.

Harmondsworth Retention Centre

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) suicides and (b) attempted suicides there have been at the Immigration Holding Centre at Harmondsworth in each of the last five years. [56130]

Beverley Hughes: Central records are not maintained specifically for suicide attempts by individuals held under Immigration Act powers. Information is, however, maintained on actual self-inflicted deaths. There has been one such incident. This occurred in January 2000 at Harmondsworth.

Anti-Semitic Attacks

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will collect statistics on the numbers of anti-semitic attacks. [57625]

Beverley Hughes: The Government has no plans to collect separate statistics on anti-Semitic attacks. These cases will be included in the total figures for racist incidents and in the statistics on racially or religiously aggravated crimes. The "Code of Practice on Reporting and Recording Racist Incidents—In response to recommendation 15 of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report", lists the minimum data content for recording racist incidents by the police and other agencies. This data content includes the religion of the victim and the type of incident. The Government also receives statistics from other sources including reports of anti-Semitic incidents from the Jewish community itself.

Street Crime

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the reasons underlying the recent increase in street crime in England. [56238]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 21 May 2002]: Crime overall has fallen in recent years and the chances of becoming a victim of crime are at their lowest for 20 years. However, by contrast street crime—i.e. robberies, snatch thefts—has shown a sharp increase, particularly over the last year.

Tackling street crime is now a top priority for the government, which announced a programme of action on 17 March 2002.

The government recognises that street crime has social and economic causes that cannot be tackled by the police and criminal justice agencies alone. That is why this strategy brings together all agencies, all departments, and all systems that impact on young people at risk from crime, at risk of offending, and offenders themselves and to work together to more effectively tackle street crime.

The work aims to reverse the upward trend before looking to bring about sustainable reductions in the long-term.

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This means tackling persistent offenders, speeding up the criminal justice system and giving a better service for victims and witnesses.

We need to tackle the roots of the problem by getting to children before they become involved in crime. This means tackling truancy, young people excluded from school should not be left to roam the streets. And from September we are providing for all permanently excluded pupils to have access to full-time education. We are also supporting the placement of up to 100 police officers in schools most affected by crime.

We are also providing constructive activities to keep children out of trouble during school holidays with an additional £12 million for Summer Splash schemes.

It is also part of our strategy on drugs to break the link between drugs and crime.

Finally, we are supporting the work of the mobile phone industry to put stolen phones—a key factor in the rise in street crime—out of use by legislating to ban the re-programming of mobile phones.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many mobile telephone thefts there were, broken down by police force area, in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [72088]

Mr. Denham: Centrally the Home Office does not collect or collate statistics on mobile phone thefts.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the proportion of street robberies that involved mobile telephone theft in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [72089]

Mr. Denham: The Home Office does not centrally collect or collate statistics on the number of mobile phone thefts and individual police forces do not routinely collect such figures either, although some do for their own purposes. We cannot therefore estimate the proportion of street robberies that involved mobile phone theft in the last 12 months.

However, a Home Office Report on "Mobile Phone Theft" published in January 2002 estimated that in 2000–01 mobile phones were stolen in 28 per cent. of all robberies.

The Government has made significant progress in working with the mobile phone industry and the police to tackle mobile phone theft. From the end of September, network operators will be able to bar stolen handsets across all networks by reference to the unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. To complement this measure, the Government has passed the Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Bill which creates new criminal offences of unauthorised re-programming of the IMEI number and possessing, supplying or offering to supply equipment for that purpose. We are continuing to press the industry to put in place a long-term strategy to enhance the security of 3G devices.

Crime Statistics

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the reasons

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for the change in crime levels in Avon and Somerset over the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [56537]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 21 May 2002]: The most recently published recorded crime figures show that in the 12 months to March 2002, overall crime levels in Avon and Somerset rose by 20 per cent. Although drug offences fell by 7 per cent. during this period, Avon and Somerset saw rises in the other major categories of crime. The most significant increase was a 77 per cent. rise in robbery. This is why the Government launched the Street Crime Initiative in April of this year, which covers the 10 Police Force areas with the worst robbery problem—including Avon and Somerset. The initiative builds new measures on top of plans which were already in progress to ensure co-ordinated action across all parts of Government to bring street robbers to swift and effective justice.

The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS), which was introduced in Avon and Somerset and several other forces in April 2001, and in all forces in April 2002, has contributed to changing levels of recorded crime. Across England and Wales, the NCRS, along with other changes to police recording practices, has had the effect of increasing recorded crime statistics by at least five per cent. this year, which suggest that crime levels have only increased by two per cent. In Avon and Somerset it has caused an uplift of 10 per cent. It is expected to have an even more marked effect on next year's crime statistics (an estimated uplift of 15–20 per cent.).

The new standard aims to promote greater consistency between police forces in the recording of crime. Every police force must record all incidents, whether reported by victims, witnesses or third parties, and whether crime-related or not. This will result in the registration of an incident report by the police. Following the initial registration, an incident will be recorded as a crime (notifiable offence) if the circumstances as reported amount to a crime defined by law, and if there is no credible evidence to the contrary. As a result, incidents which previously may not have been recorded, are being included in subsequent crime statistics. The effect has been most marked nationally in relation to violence against the person where a five per cent. fall has been turned into an eight per cent. rise by the effects of greater levels of recording by the police.

Departmental Police (Bristol, East)

Jean Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Bristol, East constituency, the effects on Bristol of his Department's policies and actions (a) from 5 May 1994 to 2 May 1997, (b) from 2 May 1997 to 7 May 1998, and (c) since 7 May 1998. [35602]

Mr. Denham: We are not able to provide statistical information for the effects of our policies prior to 2 May 1997 as this would amount to disproportionate cost.

Brislington schools have been given approximately £89,000 for a schools' initiative. This will tackle issues through running "Coping with Teenagers" training for parents, a peer mentoring programme, 10 week Consequences of Crime course for those "at risk", a

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Lessons Withdrawal programme for those who would have been excluded and installing a new non-attendance computer system.

Further funding has been granted for various Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) initiatives. The Kingsdown Estate has received over £257,000 for a partnership between the council, police and local residents to target an urban residential area with three tower blocks by providing additional 26 cameras to an existing system. The objectives of this scheme are to reduce fear of crime, improve personal and building security, reduce graffiti, vandalism, criminal damage and vehicle crime and improve communication and response of police patrols in the area. Further CCTV schemes have been set up in Symes, St. Paul's and St. Jude's. These form part of an integrated package to reduce drug-trading, fear of crime and prostitution.

Several schemes have been set up under the Reducing Burglary Initiative in Knowle Estate, Hartcliffe (North and South), St. Agnes, Cromwell and Upper Easton. These involve providing additional window locks, "Dawn to Dusk" lighting, improved fencing and promotion of Neighbourhood Watch schemes. A significant amount of resources will placed into target hardening and measures are to be adopted to reduce repeat victimisation, improve offender detection, raise public awareness of crime prevention issues and provide research, rehabilitation and diversion of offenders. There will be interagency working including the police, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Age Concern. Follow up schemes are planned to gather feedback from local agencies and offenders. Offenders will also be referred to drug rehabilitation.

The City of Bristol will receive a minimum of £1.6 million over the next two years for a Communities Against Drugs programme. The funding is delivered through a plan agreed between the Drug Action Team, the Crime and Disorder Partnership and Local Authority. The intentions of this scheme are to disrupt drugs markets; tackle drug related crime and strengthen communities to resist drugs.

Bristol is now operating an Intensive Surveillance and Supervision Programme (ISSP). ISSP is the most rigorous, non-custodial intervention available for young offenders to tackle their offending behaviour. There are 41 schemes operating nationally targeting 2,500 of the most prolific young offenders a year at an annual cost of £15 million. When fully operational it will have the capacity to deal with 25 young offenders at any one time—50 in a year. Currently there are three people on the scheme. The programmes are managed and funded by the Youth Justice Board and the Bristol scheme has been awarded a grant of over £895,000.

Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website ( The Annual Report for 2001–02 has now been published and can also be found under the same website.

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