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21 Dec 2004 : Column 1540W—continued

Budd Inquiry

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the (a) name and (b) job title of Home Office officials assisting Sir Alan Budd with his current inquiry. [205338]

Mr. Charles Clarke: As he makes clear in his report Sir Alan Budd has been supported by Geraldine Meneaud-Lissenburg, a Home Office official currently on loan to the Gaming Board of Great Britain and by John Thompson, an Immigration and Nationality Directorate official.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons a Home Office official accompanied Sir Alan Budd to interview Mrs. Kimberly Quinn on 9 December. [205339]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Sir Alan was accompanied by the Secretary to the inquiry.
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Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Sir Alan Budd is enquiring into the circumstances surrounding other visa applications in addition to the alleged fast-tracking of the application for a UK visa for Leoncia Casalme. [206162]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The terms of reference for the inquiry were "to inquire into the handling by the Home Office of the application for indefinite leave to remain, made by Leoncia Casalme in April 2003, and to report." He investigated all actions and events relevant to those terms of reference.

Child Destruction

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 8 December 2004, Official Report, column 638W, on crimes against young people, what the definition is of the offence of child destruction. [205998]

Ms Blears: Child destruction is an offence under Section 1 of the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929. The relevant extract is as follows:

Community Support Officers

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2004, Official Report, columns 1021–22W, on community support officers, how many of the community support officers in place at the end of September are posted (a) in Merseyside and (b) the Wirral. [206299]

Ms Blears [holding answer 20 December 2004]: At the end of September 2004 there were 82 community support officers (CSOs) on patrol in Merseyside. Of these, 28 CSOs were deployed in the Wirral Basic Command Unit, which covers that part of the Wirral which falls within the Merseyside police force area.

Merseyside police were allocated a further 85 CSO posts in November under the first round of the Neighbourhood Policing Fund.


Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on crime against business premises. [205363]

Ms Blears: The Government takes business crime very seriously and recognises the costs and disruption that crime causes—as well as the knock on effects for communities and consumers. According to the 2002 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS), published on 26 November, crimes against retail premises is seven percentage points lower than almost ten years ago and crime against manufacturers 12 per cent. lower. This demonstrates the success of the action we have taken in a number of areas to combat crimes against businesses.
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For example, over the last three years we have invested £15 million to help small retailers in the most deprived areas and over 12,500 shops have benefited from this scheme, which has had a positive impact in reducing crime. We are providing almost £1 million to the Action Against Business Crime Group to create a national network of crime reduction partnerships. We launched a new "top tips" postcards containing step by step advice on protecting businesses on 23 September this year and will be publishing a more detailed booklet on surveying business premises early next year. We have also appointed a Business Crime Reduction Adviser in each of the Government Offices in the regions to help a wide range of businesses, as well as established a dedicated business crime team in the Home Office.

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will include crime against property on business premises as a police key performance indicator; and if he will make a statement. [205416]

Ms Blears: As part of the drive to reduce bureaucracy, the Home Office is reducing the number of Statutory Performance Indicators (SPIs) for the police and we have no plans to introduce an additional national performance indicator on business crime. However, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships are currently undertaking an audit of the crime and disorder and misuse of drugs problems in their area and are required to put in place effective strategies to tackle these. Where business crime has been identified as a specific problem locally, these should appear as a local priority within the strategy for that area. The 10 regional Business Crime Reduction Advisers, appointed by the Home Office, are working locally to help ensure that businesses are consulted as part of this process and that their concerns are reflected in strategies.

In addition, local priorities identified in crime, disorder and misuse of drugs strategies in the areas of burglary, vehicle crime, street crime and antisocial behaviour will also benefit businesses, as they are often the victim of these types of crime in and around town centres.

Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that crimes against business are recorded separately from other crimes; and if he will make a statement. [205542]

Ms Blears: The Home Office currently publishes annual total crime statistics recorded by the police in England and Wales for the following offences specifically relating to business crime; robbery of business property, theft by an employee, theft from shops and theft of an automatic machine or meter. The most recent figures are available in Statistical Bulletin 10/04 "Crime in England and Wales 2003–04" at However, we recognise that these figures provide a limited picture of the true nature of crimes experienced by the business sector. We are also aware that businesses do not report every incidence of crime for a variety of reasons.

Bearing this in mind, on 26 November, the Home Office also published the initial findings of the 2002 Commercial Victimisation Survey. This provided
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further information on the actual levels of business crime as well as an indication of the proportion of businesses which report the crimes which they suffer.

The Home Office Business Crime Team is also looking at how current information on business crime, including retail crime, can be enhanced, in particular, whether it is feasible to identify crimes against businesses in police recorded crime statistics.

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the targets for solving (a) theft from cars, (b) domestic burglary, (c) robbery and (d) violent crimes for (i) police forces, (ii) nationally and (iii) for Northamptonshire police are: and what rates have been achieved by (A) police forces nationally and (B) Northamptonshire police. [203798]

Ms Blears: The Home Office has not agreed specific targets for detecting crime with individual police forces, however police forces will have locally agreed targets which are published in local policing plans. The National Policing Plan for 2005–08, published in November 2004, acknowledges however that there is a strong link between the Public Service Agreement to bring 1.25 million offences to justice by 2007–08 and the necessity to improve sanction detection performance. In order to achieve the PSA target it is estimated that it will be necessary to achieve a sanction detection rate of at least 25 per cent.

Local Criminal Justice Boards (which include chief constables) are currently negotiating targets for bringing offences to justice for local areas. The method being used to do this provides each force with an estimated sanction detection rate that will be required to achieve the agreed offences brought to justice target.

Nationally the sanction detection rate for theft from vehicles is 6 per cent., for burglary 15 per cent., for robbery 18 per cent. and for violence against the person 50 per cent. Nationally the detection rate for theft from
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vehicles is 16 per cent., for burglary 15 per cent., for robbery 19 per cent. and for violence against the person 64 per cent. (all figures for 2003–04).

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the most frequent type of crime committed within the Greater London area was in the last year for which figures are available. [206183]

Ms Blears: The available information collected centrally relates to the Metropolitan police force area. The specific offence with the highest number of recorded offences in 2003–04 was theft from a vehicle with 103,899. There were 142,180 offences of other theft or unauthorised taking recorded in this period but these are made up of several different offences that cannot be included in another specific theft offence classification and cannot be separately identified.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of (a) the average cost per incident of theft, (b) the average loss per completed burglary and (c) the average loss per completed robbery to the retail sector in (i) 2001, (ii) 2002 and (iii) 2003; what the level of incidence of (A) violence against staff and (B) completed robbery in the retail sector was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [202140]

Ms Blears: The Home Office does not collect these figures on a regular basis. However a commercial victimisation survey was carried out in 2002 which covered the incidence and cost of crime suffered by retailers in the preceding 12 months. A summary of the findings of that survey was published on the 26 November and is available on the Home Office website A detailed report of the findings is due to be published in spring 2005.

The British Retail Consortium carry out a regular survey of their members. Relevant findings from their annual surveys are set out as follows:
Average value of goods stolen by customersAverage stock loss per completed burglaryIncidents of robbery per 100 outletsAverage loss per robberyIncidents of violence per 1,000 staff

BRC 10 Annual Survey and 11 Annual Survey

The Government recognises the detrimental impact that crime can have on retailers, their staff and the communities they serve and is taking positive action to reduce it.

On 12 October 2004 I met with senior retailers and their trade associations to discuss the key issues faced by retailers and to seek their views on joint action to reduce retail crime. Actions coming out of this will build on the work already under way.

The Home Office has supported the work of the British Retail Consortium in developing retail crime reduction partnerships and is providing 899 of funding for them to set up the Action Against Business Crime (AABC) Group. This Group will provide a national network of business crime reduction partnerships in town and shopping centres across England and Wales. 100 new partnerships will be set up in addition to the 100 or so already established, who will be provided with a support network.

Recognising that a large proportion of retail crime is drug related, pilot outreach schemes have been set up, with £170,000 Home Office funding, in Brighton and Northampton to tackle the link between retail crime and drugs misuse.

We have recently completed the "Small Retailers in Deprived Areas' initiative which provided £15 million of government funding to the most vulnerable businesses to enable them to install security measures. Over 12,500
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businesses benefited from the scheme which also included a training programme on crime reduction for retailers.

Advice on crime reduction information is available from the Home Office produced postcards "Don't Discount Crime" and "Putting Crime out of Business", both of which provide easily accessible crime reduction advice to small businesses. These are available on the Home Office website. The Health and Safety Executive has also produced specific advice on managing the risk of work related violence.

Retailers can obtain further specific advice and assistance on crime reduction from the Business Crime Reduction Advisers based in each of the Government Offices, the Home Office website and their trade associations.

From November 2004 the police will be able to issue fixed penalty notices for some cases of retail or commercial theft. This will ensure that more minor incidents of such theft are dealt with quickly and effectively and the 80 penalty will act as a strong deterrent for first time offenders.

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