Select Committee on Home Affairs Seventh Report


3  Pressures on resources

64. In this chapter we examine issues surrounding the resources available to the police, focusing in particular on four key areas in which there is a popular perception that the burden on the police has increased in recent years:

  • The effects of immigration;
  • Alcohol-related violence and disorder;
  • The award of bail to those charged with serious offences; and
  • Gun and knife crime.

Policing funding arrangements

65. Police funding is derived from a combination of locally levied police precepts and central grants from the Home Office. Overall police spending was estimated at £12.6 billion in 2007/08.[74] Total government grants to the police increased by 19% in real terms between 1997/98 and 2008/09.[75] However, following Government indications that these levels of increases would not be sustained, the Association of Police Authorities (APA) submitted a provisional estimate to our Police Funding inquiry in 2007 which anticipated that the service would suffer the following shortfalls in required funding:[76]
Year Projected shortfall (£m)
2007/08391
2008/09656
2009/10831
2010/11966

66. The most recent Comprehensive Spending Review, announced in December 2007, increased central grants made to police forces by only 2.9% in 2008/09, 2.9% in 2009/10 and 2.7% in 2010/11.[77] The APA told us that this settlement would result in shortfalls that were roughly in line with their predictions.[78]

67. Nevertheless, police funding in the UK is the highest amongst the OECD countries. For example, in 2004 the UK spent 2.5% of GDP on public order and safety, ahead of the US at 2.2%, Spain at 1.8%, Germany at 1.6% and France at 1.4%.[79] Our previous inquiry expressed doubt about a correlation between additional resources made available to the police and police performance.[80] However, police representatives point to the growth in their responsibilities, as set out in the previous chapter, to explain the continuing need for increased funding. Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison argued that a "39% increase in funding has, I would propose, been matched by a 39% plus increase in demand".[81]

68. The greater part of the amount of central grant paid to each police authority is calculated in accordance with the principal needs-based formula. The main determinant in the formula is the projected resident population but cost adjustments are built in for the socio-economic and other characteristics of police authority areas and for differences in the costs of provision between areas.

69. However, the formula has never been fully applied. Application of the formula has been subjected to a damping mechanism to promote stability and planning by ensuring that each police authority receives a minimum percentage increase over the previous year. At the extreme ends, this meant that the West Midlands force received nearly 11%, or £48 million, less than the funding formula would have allocated in 2007/08 if applied correctly, whereas Northumbria Police received over 12%, or £29 million, more. Sir Ronnie Flanagan recommended that the Home Office move towards a fuller application of the formula in future Spending Reviews so that funding is allocated on objective need.[82]

70. We have heard conflicting views about this recommendation. Clearly, areas that currently receive less than their allocation would benefit, but those who currently receive more would lose out. The Police Federation stated that "any move of this nature is likely to cause particular hardship and financial challenge to the smaller, rural forces".[83] The former Mayor of London told us the subsequent losses in grant from the removal of damping arrangements would "have a devastating effect on policing in London".[84] However, Leicestershire Police argued in favour of receiving their grant in full, otherwise "the economic and social improvement of the city could be jeopardised into the future".[85]

71. Locally-levied police precepts make up between 18% and 50% of force revenue, depending on the extent to which assets were transferred to police authorities on their creation in 1994 and levels of council tax.[86] There is currently a 5% cap on council tax increases, which leaves authorities disadvantaged by legacy issues and formula application unable to improve their situations by investment of local resources, particularly those which did not have high levels of council tax when the cap was introduced. A representative of Lincolnshire Police Authority told us during our visit to Newark that it was in a "desperate" position despite being judged as one of the most efficient authorities in England and Wales.[87] The Association of Chief Police Officers recommended that "council tax capping guidance should allow greater flexibility to police forces and police authorities which have below the average precept levels".[88] This approach was supported by the APA.[89]

72. Police representatives believe that the funding increases allocated in the most recent Comprehensive Spending Review are not sufficient to meet requirements. We consider specific aspects of policing for which a case has been made for additional funding later in this Report. However, in general, especially given the fact that the UK spends a higher percentage of GDP on public order than comparable countries, we consider the solution lies in finding ways to release resources through greater efficiency rather than major increases in funding.

73. We support Sir Ronnie Flanagan's recommendation for full application of the police funding formula at the next Spending Review. The Home Office must work closely with forces that currently benefit from the damping arrangements to help them manage the transition. In the interim, we recommend that the 5% cap on council tax be removed for those authorities which have below-average precept levels, and that this is coupled with measures ensuring greater accountability to local people for policing.

Immigration

74. We wanted to assess claims in the media about the effects of recent high levels of immigration on police resources. To this end, we took evidence from the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Julie Spence (on whose reported comments much of the coverage had focused) and the then-Chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), Sir Simon Milton, on the extent to which funding settlements take account of rapid population growth; the extent to which disproportionate numbers of immigrants commit crimes and/or are victims of crime; and the specific demands placed on police forces in dealing with immigrants as criminals or victims.

USE OF POPULATION DATA IN THE POLICE FUNDING FORMULA

75. The Minister of State for Borders and Immigration, Liam Byrne MP, told us in November 2007 that the funding formula used to allocate money to the police for 2008, 2009 and 2010 would draw on 2004 sub-national population projections "simply because that is the best available data".[90] A recent report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee found, in relation to public services in general:

    Problems with the current immigration statistics have led to immigrant numbers in their [Councils in the South of England] areas being significantly under-estimated. Since the funding to local councils from central government is directly linked to the size of each district's population, the undercount of immigrants has, local councils argue, led to inadequate funding for public services.[91]

76. Sir Simon Milton claimed that "there is somewhere between one and one and a half million people living in Britain for whom there has been no public expenditure provision through the normal formulae because they were not expected".[92] According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, Kent, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire forces have suffered particularly from under-funding caused by the gap between predicted and real population figures.[93] Kent Police assess the total additional cost caused by immigration at £34m over the past three years, for example, but corresponding increases in funding from the Home Office have not been forthcoming.[94]

77. Chief Constable Spence agreed that funding did not match the situation in which the force found themselves:

    We have had only a 0.3% increase in the way the formula operated this year … There is nothing within government to be able to respond to the rapid changes that have happened. That was where the problems arose. The funding formulas are not rapid and flexible enough to deal with change.[95]

78. The East Midlands collaboration substantiated these concerns about funding lagging behind rapid growth in population, which in their case is caused by internal migration as well as that from abroad.[96]

79. Sir Ronnie Flanagan told us that in future the funding formula will have to take the effects of immigration into account so the money goes to the right places:

    Currently it does not really do that. There is always the possibility for forces to make special bids. I am not saying there are unlimited resources. I am not saying that special bids will always be successful. There is the opportunity when special circumstances befall an individual force for it to make a case for additional funding to meet those exceptional circumstances.[97]

The Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing agreed with Sir Ronnie that "the Government collectively is very slow in responding to large growths of population over a particular short period of time".[98]

IMMIGRANTS AS CRIMINALS AND AS VICTIMS

80. It is difficult to get complete and accurate statistics about crime committed by and suffered by immigrants because police recording practices do not accurately capture nationality, and language barriers and lack of knowledge of British law amongst migrant communities result in under-reporting. ACPO has stated that "the evidence does not support theories of a large-scale crime wave generated through migration".[99] Chief Constable Spence argued in relation to Cambridgeshire Constabulary that:

    There has been no crime wave per se. The pattern is similar to that for the rest of the community except for certain pockets. For example, we have identified that particularly where alcohol is concerned there is much more alcohol-fuelled criminality. Forty per cent of our detainees for drink driving, for example, are migrants particularly from Eastern Europe … In terms of normal criminality it mirrors the resident population but it takes twice or three times as long to deal with it …

    Just because you come into the country as an immigrant does not make you more or less likely to commit crime. The fact that we have a number of new people in the country means that, like the resident population, a proportion of them will commit crime. Some of it is because they have criminal tendencies; some of it is because they do not understand the law and how we operate within the UK, so there is an education process to go through.[100]

Sir Simon Milton agreed that "nationally, there has been no crime wave but there are instances of local spikes in certain types of criminal activity, much of it low level".[101]

81. Amongst the areas of criminality that have risen with increased migration, Sir Simon cited pick-pocketing by organised gangs—particularly from Romania—begging, driving offences and fraud.[102] Cambridgeshire has experienced increases in knife-carrying amongst Iraqi Kurds, Poles and Lithuanians, a greater 'international' dimension to criminality in terms of cannabis factories, credit card skimming and human trafficking, as well as drink and disqualifying driving offences.[103] Regional responses to the Government's Migration Impact Forum in 2007 corroborated these accounts and also noted increases in anti-social behaviour.[104]

82. A report by the LGA, Estimating the scale and impacts of immigration, concluded that migrants are more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators, particularly hate crime and exploitation by gang-masters.[105] Chief Constable Spence noted:

    One way to get a good identification of the issue is by looking at translation budgets. Half of that goes to dealing with the custody and justice processes and half to other community cohesion issues. Of the half that goes to custody issues, one half goes on offenders and the other half deals with victims. Therefore, from our perspective there is as much victimisation as there is offending.[106]

ADDITIONAL COSTS IN POLICING IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES

83. The House of Lords Economics Affairs Committee also found that:

84. In terms of specific costs caused by immigration, translation costs appear to be the key factor for policing. In Kent, translation costs have risen by a third in three years.[108] Sergeant Guy Rooney told us that in Ealing alone the interpreters' bill for the last financial year was £1 million.[109] Cambridgeshire's translation costs are also around £1 million per year:

    The real resourcing issue is the fact that one has to translate issues, whether they involve on-the-ground problems or those in custody where investigations take two or three times as long. A Police and Criminal Evidence Act review that an inspector could deal with in 10 minutes could take 90 minutes in the case of someone for whom English is not his or her first language.[110]

A report by KPMG concluded that Cambridgeshire requires an additional 100 police officers to cover the additional workload generated by policing foreign nationals.[111]

85. Foreign nationals can spend significantly longer in custody than British citizens, either where interpreters are unavailable, or where an individual has been detained for immigration purposes but immigration authorities do not have the facilities to hold the detainees prior to deportation. This generates additional costs in providing food, phone calls and supervision, as well as a potential loss of custody facilities. Chief Constable Spence told us that in 2002 there were on average three non-UK nationals in custody per day in Cambridgeshire, rising to an average of 13 per day in 2006, with the figure now standing at ten per day. She provided the following chart to demonstrate this increase in workload:[112]

SOLUTIONS

86. ACPO has highlighted examples of good practice employed by forces to manage the effects of immigration, including encouraging migrant membership of independent advisory groups, recruitment of migrants as police community support officers (PCSOs), special constables and volunteers, publicity campaigns and police training.[113] Chief Constable Spence argued that "diversification of the workforce is absolutely needed".[114] Cambridgeshire has made concerted efforts to recruit applicants with language skills.

87. Led by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Government published a cross-departmental Migration Impacts Plan on 11 June 2008. It includes a £12 million Migration Statistics Improvement Programme to improve the next three-year local government settlement; setting up a Transitional Impacts Migration Fund from 2009/10; and tougher enforcement against exploitation of vulnerable workers. The plan says very little about policing, other than acknowledging that costs of detecting and prosecuting crimes increase if interpretation services are required, and noting that the Home Office is developing good practice tools to show how Neighbourhood Policing Teams can identify and engage with communities.[115]

88. There is some confusion as to whether the transitional fund, raised by increased charges on visa fees and other migrant services, is available to the police. Police forces were apparently told by the Home Secretary in April that they would be able to bid for a share:

    The Home Secretary announced there would be a transitional fund. That was already in existence but it was unclear whether or not the police could apply for it … It is that fund which will be redistributed but no doubt we will be at the door of that fund with colleagues from other agencies as well. It is not a new fund just for policing as became clear after the announcement was made.[116]

However, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has since indicated that the fund will be mainly allocated to projects relating to English language training and integrated websites providing information about coming to live in the UK, saying: "I think we can make the most of it by not providing bits and bobs to individual hospitals and local police forces".[117]

89. Sir Simon Milton told us that some councils, including Burnley, Fenland, East Cambridgeshire and West Lancashire, provided information packs to migrants which explain aspects of the law and also how to keep themselves safe.[118]

90. It would appear that foreign nationals are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crime. However, it would also appear that they are disproportionately represented among numbers of those committing certain—mostly low-level—crimes. We recommend that all forces employ consistent recording practices for offender and victim nationality, in order to improve understanding and allow resources to be allocated to meet demand. In addition, we recommend that some of the monies from the transitional migration fund allocated to integration projects be diverted to support greater education on British laws, particularly those governing driving, on how immigrants can protect themselves from becoming victims of crime, and how to report crime, in the manner of information already provided by some local authorities. The results of the Migration Statistics Improvement Programme should be made available in time for the next Spending Review. The Home Secretary should give consideration to how population growth can be captured more quickly in funding settlements.

91. It is clear, however, that dealing with foreign nationals is more expensive for police forces because of the need to employ interpreters and because offenders often spend longer in custody. In replying to this report, the Home Office should clarify whether or not individual police forces will be allowed to bid from the transitional migration fund. If they will not, the Home Secretary must set out proposals to assist those forces whose funding has not kept pace with changes in population.

92. A more diverse workforce can ease some of the burden on forces by reducing interpretation costs and facilitating information-sharing between new communities and the police.

Alcohol-related crime

Scale of alcohol-related crime and disorder and impact on resources

93. The relationship between alcohol and crime is multi-faceted; the trading and consumption of alcohol are tightly controlled by law, and the loss of inhibition created by excessive consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of offending. Offences specific to alcohol include sale to underage or intoxicated customers, bootlegging and selling unlicensed alcohol, simple and aggravated drunkenness, and driving whilst under the influence. In addition, alcohol may play a role in other offences, particularly violence and public order offences. In the most recent British Crime Survey, 45% of all victims of violence described their assailant as being under the influence of alcohol at the time.[119] The Home Secretary has stated that alcohol is a factor in over 30% of city centre arrests.[120]

94. Alcohol-related crime imposes a significant burden on the criminal justice system. The headline costs were broken down in a study undertaken by the Cabinet Office in 2003, as follows: [121]
Costs incurred in anticipation of crime
£1.5bn
Costs incurred as a consequence of crime
Property / health and victim services costs £2.5bn
Crime costs of lost productive output £1bn
Costs incurred in response to crime
Alcohol-specific offences £30m
Alcohol-related offences £1.7bn
Costs of drink-driving
£0.5bn
TOTAL CRIME COSTS
£7.3bn

95. Alcohol-related crime and disorder necessitates a high level of police presence in town centres. Chief Constable Stephen Green wrote to us in relation to Nottinghamshire:

    It is no exaggeration to state that the whole focus of officer shift patterns is to deploy sufficient resources at weekends to cope with alcohol-fuelled disorder, and football violence … The net effect is there are fewer officers on duty during the rest of the week to deal with other types of crime and fewer opportunities to be seen in their communities. This has a major impact on local policing because the neighbourhood bobbies are re-deployed to weekend and late night work to help their colleagues cope with the un-relenting demand … [The drinks industry] has stretched policing to the absolute limits.[122]

Alcohol Concern cited polling evidence to our predecessors that 70% of police officers believed that attending alcohol-related incidents frequently diverted them away from tackling other kinds of crime.[123]

96. In Devon and Cornwall, according to Chief Constable Stephen Otter, there has been "a fairly significant increase in the proportion of violent crime where we can be absolutely sure there is an alcohol-related aspect" since 2004/05. In addition to disorder taking place on the streets, he advised that "when we start to look at the nature of that violent crime 42% is in the street but what concerns us is that 30% is in the home and it is related directly to domestic abuse".[124]

97. Moreover, intoxicated detainees are more time-consuming and expensive for the police to process. The risk of death in custody requires intoxicated arrestees to be carefully monitored. Detainees under the influence of alcohol also cause problems in terms of noise, hygiene and disruptive behaviour. The Cabinet Office estimates that it costs, on average, £59 more to process an alcohol-related arrestee than a similar non-alcohol related arrestee.[125]

98. The Licensing Act 2003, which came into effect in 2005, allowed licence-holders to apply to local authorities for longer trading hours. Part of the rationale behind the changes was for pubs, clubs and bars to close at different times of night. Previously, the majority shut at 11pm, meaning that large numbers of drunk people were out on the streets simultaneously, increasing the likelihood of assaults and anti-social behaviour. We were keen to assess the effects of the Act on police workload. Evaluation of the Act by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport showed that average closing time across all on-licensed premises increased by 21 minutes and that there was little change in the number of premises open after midnight. 4% of all premises have 24-hour licences, comprising 3320 hotel bars, 920 supermarkets and stores, and 470 pubs, bars and nightclubs.[126] In terms of the effects on crime and disorder, the Home Office compared data from 30 forces between December 2004-November 2005 and December 2005-November 2006 to assess the effects of the Act on crime and disorder, which showed:

  • A 1% rise in the overall number of violent crimes, disorder and criminal damage incidents occurring between 6pm and 6am;
  • A 22% rise between 3am and 6am in the 3 month period after the law changed;
  • A 25% increase in serious violent crimes committed between 3am and 6am.[127]

Sergeant Rooney, a custody sergeant at Acton Police Station, told us:

    I could not tell you if the number of offences has increased. The workload has increased. We now deal with many more people who are drunk during the day, who are coming into custody during the afternoon drunk. That has a knock-on effect. In relation to licensing hours, instead of having minor public order problems at tradition pub leaving time, those problems are now spread from 11 o'clock in the evening all the way through to 4 o'clock in the morning.[128]

99. While overall alcohol consumption has not changed since the introduction of the Act, the Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), Rob Hayward, described the change in drinking patterns and its implications for policing:

    In many cases there has been a movement away from consumption in high streets and city centres into the outer areas, because if you can drink for an extra half-hour or so in a pub or bar why pay for a cab to go into a town, the entry fee and all the rest of it? There are a number of cities where the whole lifestyle has changed which throws up different problems in terms of the policing of bigger areas.[129]

100. Alcohol-related crime places a heavy burden on police resources and diverts officers away from dealing with other types of crime. There is limited evidence of the effect of the Licensing Act 2003 on the total number of alcohol-related offences, but there is certainly a strong perception amongst police forces that alcohol-related violence is on the increase. What is clear is that forces now deploy resources to deal with alcohol-related crime and disorder for longer periods of time, as a result of longer opening hours, and in larger areas, as late-night drinking is no longer confined to city centres.

POLICE POWERS TO TACKLE ALCOHOL-RELATED CRIME AND DISORDER

101. The Licensing Act 2003 was intended to make it easier for responsible authorities and local residents to call for the local authority to review a licence. Between April 2006 and March 2007, there were 675 such reviews, resulting in 92 licences being revoked and 91 being suspended.[130] Industry representatives asserted that the Act has resulted in more action being taken against licensees who break the law or fail to act responsibly to prevent crime and disorder. The Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), James Lowman, told us: "It challenges our members in terms of standards and gives local authorities and stakeholders including the police immediate and effective powers in respect of licensed premises".[131]

102. This was endorsed by Chief Constable Otter: "I think that one of the real powers of the legislation is that the review process works very well. We have carried out 40 reviews." However, he also stated:

    I do not believe that the licensing laws have responded to the change in culture … There is a view that one ought to be able to stop a strip of high-volume drinking establishments in a town centre … There ought to be a way to regulate the way people drink within premises. We cannot do that at the moment.[132]

103. A range of other legislation to assist in policing the night time economy has been introduced since the introduction of the Licensing Act, including penalty notices for disorder (PNDs), drinking banning orders, directions to leave, licensed premises closure orders, designated public places orders and dispersal orders. However, according to Chief Superintendent Neil Wain, resources rather than legal measures are key to reducing alcohol-fuelled crime:

    Policing the night time economy is resource intensive and often draws officers away from other areas. This is fine while national campaigns are running, when extra funding is pumped in by the Government. This often results in short term success but when Government money dries up I believe there is an expectation from the Government that the same success can be achieved without the resources.[133]

There is some evidence from the Government's campaign on tackling violent crime that proactive use of PNDs early on can contribute to a reduction in more serious offences later in the evening, and this in our view warrants further research. This is notwithstanding the practical difficulties associated with awarding PNDs for drink-related offences, taking into account guidance that they should not be issued when the suspect is too drunk. This often necessitates their issue at the station, which takes officers off the streets.[134]

104. Chief Constable Otter summarised his view as: "I believe that the legislation is good for policing but that the volume and demands are increasing at such a rate that there must be a more fundamental change".[135]

105. Alcohol referral pilots are another Home Office initiative, in which an offender taken into custody can be referred by police to a resident alcohol specialist for advice. Those with more complex alcohol misuse problems, and who are given a conditional caution, can be referred to more in-depth advice sessions. Where similar schemes have previously operated in Gloucestershire and Dudley, police have reported reductions in re-offending: in the former, re-offending among offenders who had attended two advice sessions approximately halved after twelve months.[136] Sergeant Rooney was, however, sceptical about the benefits, noting that the take-up by detainees is not very high in Ealing "because these people do not want help with drinking because they do not think they have a drink problem".[137]

106. Licence-holders who sell to under-age drinkers or who do not take reasonable steps to prevent alcohol-related crime and disorder increase pressure on the police. We are not convinced that full use is being made of powers under the Licensing Act 2003 to review licences where the holder is found to be irresponsible. The Government should also investigate the ability of local authorities to refuse licences or impose appropriate conditions on licences to promote the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder, and their capacity to monitor compliance with licence conditions.

107. Increased police powers to deal with drunk offenders do not appear to have had a significant impact on their ability to reduce alcohol-related crime. We recommend that the Government commission further research into proactive use of penalty notices for disorder. Alcohol referral schemes may prove effective in reducing the numbers of repeat alcohol-related offenders but, having heard sceptical views from frontline officers, we recommend that thorough evaluation of the pilots should be completed before they are implemented nationwide.

RESPONSIBLE TRADING

108. Representatives of Tesco, Asda, the ACS and the British Beer and Pub Association agreed that the alcohol industry have a part to play in preventing alcohol-related crime and disorder through responsible trading; Mr Lowman, Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, noted "the prevention of alcohol-related disorders is one of the four principles of the Licensing Act".[138]

109. We were assured that most retailers act responsibly. Chief Constable Otter told us:

    A lot of stores work with us. We mark products with information about the postcode of the seller and so on that can be seen under ultraviolet light. That has enabled us to identify stores that sell these drinks and go back to find out precisely what happened.[139]

Asda wrote to inform us of measures they are introducing, including stopping retailing alcohol between midnight and 6am in most town centre stores; removing from sale products that are particularly attractive to young people; doubling the number of inspections designed to test effectiveness of anti-under age drinking measures; extending Challenge 25, whereby staff ask those who appear to be 25 years old or younger for identification prior to selling them alcohol, to more stores; and donating to youth projects aimed at reducing underage consumption. Tesco's Director for Group Loss, Prevention and Security, Alan Brown told us that where there have been concerns about the consumption of very strong alcohol, Tesco has withdrawn the product from its stores.[140]

110. There are limited ways in which local authorities and police forces can obtain contributions from premises towards dealing with the effects of alcohol-related crime and disorder, over and above business improvement districts, which are voluntary on the part of local businesses. Pubwatch schemes, which are also voluntary, provide a means for licensees to work in partnership with the police to prevent crime and disorder and claim some success in crime reduction.

111. Many would like to see financial contributions made mandatory. Chief Constable Green, for example, argued:

    I would submit that we broaden the base of those with a statutory responsibility to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, particularly those industries whose core business contributes to the problem. Those, for example, who market alcohol at irresponsible, underage drinkers should carry some of the responsibility for managing the inevitable public disorder that blights our towns and cities … It [the drinks industry] has already proved itself unworthy of self-regulation.[141]

Chief Constable Otter told us: "ACPO takes the strong view that essentially in this case the polluter pays." He drew an analogy with football charging:

    I regard it as being very similar to that. The police, local authority and the football club all look at the nature of the game, the history, intelligence and everything else and then make a charge accordingly; in other words, that it requires a certain level of policing. It must be judged on the basis of need rather than as a penalty.[142]

112. The Government provided for Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs) in the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 as a means of securing a financial contribution from the industry where there is a particular problem. The intention was to provide an incentive to operators to work collectively and with police and local authority partners to reduce the levels of disorder. Before the zone was designated and compulsory charging began, licensed premises would have the opportunity to implement an action plan to rectify the situation. Where they failed to do so, the premises would be required to pay a compulsory contribution.

113. However, the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee was unconvinced as to the potential effectiveness of the proposed zones:

    The Local Government Association … expressed "serious misgivings about this policy", questioning in particular how they are to recover set-up costs in the anticipated 80% of cases where the issues are resolved before the charging regime can be initiated, and whether they will be liable for the costs incurred by other agencies if the income from ADZ charges is inadequate … We are left with the impression that the system will be unduly bureaucratic.[143]

ACPO is also concerned about the bureaucracy associated with ADZs, although supportive of the principle.[144] In response, the Minister of State told us:

    In keeping with a whole range of other things that we do in terms of policing and alcohol and other methodologies like dispersal orders, like working very, very closely with the industries and taking tough and tougher action against them … taken as a whole, alcohol disorder zones could be part of a very, very positive picture. What I want to get to is a position, which I think we are at, where the police have a whole suite of powers and other policies at their fingertips along with local authorities and others and it is for them in the local area to determine which mix of the policies and laws are most appropriate for their own context.[145]

114. We support the principle behind Alcohol Disorder Zones, which encourage licensees to work with the police and local authorities where there is a particular problem of alcohol-related disorder. However, we share the concerns of the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee that they may be overly-bureaucratic. We recommend an evaluation of their take-up and effectiveness within one year of their commencement. We further recommend that the Government encourage greater participation in voluntary Pubwatch schemes to facilitate partnership between licensees and the police.

115. The price at which alcohol is sold in the off-trade also causes problems. A recent study by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University found that the vast differences in prices of alcohol between off- and on- licence sales are contributing to individuals increasingly consuming alcohol at home before they go out—'pre-loading'—in order to cut costs. This results in people being drunk in residential areas before going out, alcohol-related problems on transport into town and city centres, and individuals arriving in town and city centres already inebriated and consequently more likely to become involved in alcohol-related violence. More than half of those interviewed usually 'pre-load'; and those who 'pre-loaded' were also two and half times more likely to have been in a fight when going out in the last 12 months compared with those who did not. In fact, 'pre-loading' was more strongly associated with being involved in nightlife violence than the total amount of alcohol an individual consumed. This led the authors to the conclusion:

    Measures to tackle drunkenness and related violence have focused largely on nightlife environments. In particular, pressures have been placed on bar and nightclub management to improve practice (e.g. train staff, end cheap alcohol promotions) ... However, while such interventions are important, this study suggests that focusing measures upon on-licensed retailers alone will be of limited effectiveness. For example, discouraging cheap alcohol sales in bars while permitting such sales in off-licensed premises may simply encourage more home drinking pre-nightlife.[146]

116. The easy availability of cheap alcohol fuels alcohol-related crime and disorder and under-age drinking. In 2007, alcohol was 69% more affordable in the United Kingdom than it was in 1980.[147] British supermarkets have been accused of increasingly using alcoholic products as 'loss leaders', which are products that are priced low, sometimes below cost, to attract customers who are expected to buy other products that yield a profit. Asda and Tesco admitted that at times they sell alcohol below cost in response to competition. They argued they were happy to engage with the Government on this issue but, said that, because of competition law, the Government must take the lead. However, licensees do not appear to be so constrained when local authorities place conditions on the award of a licence, such as those banning drinks promotions, under the Licensing Act 2003.[148]

117. The enforcement of a minimum price regime for alcohol would be one method of combatting the sale of alcohol at below cost price. Most Canadian provinces, for example, operate Social Reference Prices, which are government regulated minimum prices below which retailers and bars may not sell to the public. The legal situation in Britain remains ambiguous. Advice to the Government from the Office of Fair Trading in 2003 stated "the promotion of price fixing or the creation of cartels is unlawful, and there would also be serious risks of breaching competition law".[149] However, we understand that the interim results of a report into the effects of pricing on demand for drink, commissioned by the Government, may indicate the potential for legal curbs on selling alcohol below cost price.[150]

118. We encountered some scepticism about the impact of price on drinking habits. The Head of Licensing for Asda, Rob Chester, told us that the UK has the second highest duty rates on alcohol in Europe but worse drink-related problems than most other European countries. However, industry representatives accepted that price does influence consumption, including Mr Hayward of the BBPA, who said "if you sold it [alcohol] at zero or 1p it is more available; if you push it up there is by definition an influence".[151]

119. Drink-related problems are not inflamed solely by policies employed by the off-trade. Alcohol Concern found that 10-15% of pubs and clubs sell alcohol to underage drinkers and that 43% of pubs have no disciplinary policies for staff who sell to children.[152] Chief Constable Otter told us: "There is a change in the drinking culture and people drink more. We think that could be due to price and it is certainly down to the concept of happy hour—buy one, get one free—so that people double their intake in an evening basically because they cannot resist the offer".[153]

120. The BBPA told us they have operated a promotions policy for a number of years, encouraging members to "move away from all you can drink all night for £5 or £10 and letting women in free, which encourages excess consumption, and speed competition so you get beer at a certain price before England score a goal or whatever it happens to be".[154] However, we have since learnt that the policy has been withdrawn on the basis of legal opinions suggesting such guidance is in breach of European competition law.[155]

121. In the week before this announcement, the Home Office published an independent review by KMPG of the industry's Social Responsibility Standards, launched in November 2005. The standards were signed by 16 trade associations but are voluntary except those relating to legislation, advertising or the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcohol Drinks operated by the Portman Group, which binds approximately 130 signatory producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and trade associations. While the KPMG review found some examples of good practice, the review noted through its eight observation studies frequent occurrences of: people who appeared to be under-18 being admitted to age restricted venues in which they could purchase alcohol; the promotion of alcohol through low price offers, inducements by DJs to consume greater quantities, and glamorisation through sexual imagery; encouragement to drink more and faster through shots and shooters being "downed in one"; sales to blatantly intoxicated people; health and safety issues inside bars and clubs, such as broken glass, overcrowding and spilled alcohol; poor dispersal practices; and several instances of anti-social behaviour and low-level crime, such as fights and assaults, urinating and vomiting in public places, and criminal damage.

122. The authors concluded that:

    Currently the Standards are not being consistently adopted and applied across the whole of the alcohol industry. In the current trading environment the commercial imperative generally overrides adherence … The Standards are currently having negligible impact on either reducing bad practice or promoting good practice on the ground. They lack focus, they are a confusing mix of regulatory and voluntary provisions, and they are not cross referenced to the Licensing Act. In driving responsible practice they are ineffective because of a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement.[156]

123. The Scottish Executive plans to ban under-21s from buying alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences, despite being defeated on this proposal in the Scottish Parliament. Media reports have suggested the Mayor of London is considering similar proposals.[157]

124. The cheap availability of alcohol in the off-trade is fuelling alcohol-related crime and disorder and under-age drinking. A lack of clarity about competition law is impeding effective action in this area. We recommend the Government establish as soon as possible a legal basis for banning the use of loss-leading by supermarkets and setting a minimum price for the sale of alcohol. The Home Office should also work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that local authorities are fully informed on how to use their powers under the Licensing Act 2003 to impose licence conditions forbidding drinks promotions.

125. KPMG has issued a damning verdict on the negligible impact of the alcohol trade's Social Responsibility Standards. The standards need to be reissued on a compulsory basis with a more effective inspection regime and penalties for breaches. They should include a ban on drinks promotions and measures to ensure responsible labelling and staff training. We are also disappointed by the decision by the British Beer and Pub Association to withdraw its policy on promotions. Safeguards intended to promote public health and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour are needed. The Government should clarify whether competition law really does prevent such safeguards, if necessary by bringing a test case.

126. We understand that policy makers are considering proposals for under-21s to be banned from buying alcohol from supermarkets and off-licences while continuing to be able to buy it in bars. Such proposals seem to unfairly penalise young people who do drink responsibly. Furthermore, we have seen no evidence to suggest that teenage drinkers cause more problems for the police than those in their early 20s. We do not support an increase in the age at which alcohol can be legally purchased; rather, young people should be encouraged to drink responsibly.

Bail

127. A further issue which we studied in our inquiry was the impact of the granting of bail on police resources and their capacity to monitor those on bail and therefore ensure public safety. A national newspaper published figures disclosed by 34 police forces suggesting that defendants on bail had been charged with 79 out of 462 murders in 2007.[158]

128. Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison told us:

    Bail is used more than it has been for some time and, therefore, what we confront as operational police officers is the frustration of people being given bail only to commit further offences. Some who are on bail and are expecting a term of imprisonment as their punishment will go on what we call spree offending, which is getting it all out of the way before they are locked away … People on bail and people who are persistent and prolific offenders are always the people that cause the police the most work. By definition, if they are locked away they cannot be committing offences.[159]

FITNESS OF CURRENT LEGISLATION

129. The Bail Act 1976 requires that "the courts should remand defendants in custody where there is a real risk of further offending, absconding or interfering with witnesses, which cannot be satisfactorily mitigated by other means and otherwise to grant bail".[160] Murder suspects released on bail often have more stringent conditions attached than other suspects, such as residence and curfew conditions, financial guarantees and the requirement to report to a police station regularly and surrender documents.

130. The Ministry of Justice released figures on 25 February 2008 showing that 60 out of the 455 murder suspects then awaiting trial had been released on bail.[161] The bail rate for those charged with murder is generally much lower than that for Crown Court cases; 13% compared with 68%.

131. We took evidence from two individuals who had been directly affected by the issue: Paul Carne, the son of Traute Maxfield, who was murdered by Gary Weddell in January 2008 while on bail charged with the murder of her daughter (his wife); and Helen Newlove, the widow of Gary Newlove, killed in Warrington in August 2007 by three teenagers, one of whom was on bail for assault.

132. Mr Carne told us that bail was opposed by the police and the family were concerned at the time of the decision about the potential for Mr Weddell to cause further harm. Mr Weddell's bail conditions were fairly limited: he had to sleep and reside at his brother's house and he had to 'sign on' twice a week; he was not tagged. Prior to the murder of Mrs Maxfield, Mr Weddell had already been caught breaching his bail conditions twice, and had been able to join a clay-pigeon shooting club from which he stole the weapon used to kill her. Mr Carne raised doubts about the thoroughness of the psychiatric assessment undertaken for the case and the lack of action taken by the court when Mr Weddell broke his bail conditions on the previous two occasions. He also argued for tighter bail conditions to prevent access to firearms. Mr Carne believed the police did attempt to keep track of Mr Weddell but were constrained by lack of resources.[162]

133. Gary Newlove's murderer, Adam Swellings, had been released on bail only ten hours before the murder, and one of his bail conditions was that he was prohibited from entering Warrington. Mrs Newlove agreed with Mr Carne that the police "do not have the resources because, as they say, they are bogged down with paperwork".[163] She believed that more local police stations and better community intelligence from local officers would help the police to monitor suspects released on bail more effectively.

134. We took evidence from Mr Justice Fulford, a judge of the High Court, who explained the provisions of awarding bail, and assured us that the judiciary take the decision to award bail in a murder trial very seriously:

    In terms of a suggestion that there is an increasing trend or some kind of presumption for granting bail in murder cases, that is most certainly not my experience, nor the experience of the senior judiciary.[164]

However, he accepted that unless bail is withheld from everyone charged with an offence, there will always remain a risk that someone granted bail may go on to commit a further offence.[165]

135. Mr Justice Fulford assured us that judges were able to take the views of the police into account in awarding bail "to a very high degree":

    Particularly with cases of this kind where judges are going to be looking at the facts with extra care, you would expect a senior officer in the case to attend on the application. Certainly within my experience very often the officer will be called into the witness box to give evidence about some of the more pertinent issues in relation to whether or not bail should be granted. The views of the police are a pre-eminent consideration in relation to these applications.[166]

Judges are also able to take into consideration the ability of the police to monitor a defendant on bail:

    If you outline the conditions that you have in mind and the police say, 'It will be impossible for us to monitor that defendant', then it may be that either you are going to have to find other conditions or bail will not be appropriate. Resource issues most assuredly can and do come into play.[167]

136. In June 2008, the Ministry of Justice launched a consultation on the granting of bail in cases of murder and the enforcement of bail conditions. Respondents have been asked to consider a number of options for change, including several which are of particular relevance to our inquiry, namely:

  • Is any change to the law governing bail necessary?
  • Should the statutory test be amended along similar lines to Section 25 of the 1994 Act, that is, to provide that bail is to be granted to defendants in murder cases only "if the court is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances which justify it"?
  • Alternatively, should the courts be obliged to have regard to the fact that the defendant is accused of murder, as an expansion of their current requirement to take the seriousness of the offence into account?
  • As the standard of monitoring in particular cases is set by the local police according to their own operational criteria, should courts be made aware of local police practices regarding monitoring of bail conditions, so that these can be taken into account in determining the adequacy of bail conditions?
  • Is it appropriate for courts to impose conditions that must be met by the police (or others) before the defendant is released on bail, such as police checks on the suitability of the address at which the defendant is to reside?[168]

137. One further issue that came to our attention when taking evidence on bail was the experience of Helen Newlove and her family in attending court for the murder trial:

    As victims in court, we want more help and respect. If you go into that court, you go through all the motions and you are fighting for a seat. You should not have to do that. The press have a box, and obviously all the legal people have a box, but nobody has any respect for the families. You do not know who you are sitting next to.[169]

Louise Casey proposed in her Cabinet Office review that courts should introduce arrangements to ensure separate seating arrangements for victims' families attending court.[170]

138. We strongly believe that there should be a presumption against the award of bail in cases of murder, owing to the grave nature of the offence and subsequent risk to the public. We support the option set out in the Ministry of Justice consultation on Bail and Murder proposing that bail be granted in cases of murder only if the court is satisfied that there are really exceptional circumstances to justify it.

139. Police forces do not always have sufficient capacity to monitor offenders released on bail. Therefore, we also support proposals for courts to be made aware of local police practices regarding monitoring of bail conditions, so that these can be taken into account in determining the adequacy of bail conditions; and for courts to be able to impose conditions that must be met by the police before the defendant is released on bail. Given this lack of consistency in police practice, ACPO should consider drawing up guidance on monitoring procedures for offenders released on bail.

140. Although not directly within the remit of our inquiry, we were concerned by evidence we heard of the experiences of victims' families in attending trials, in terms of the distress they suffer in having to fight for a seat and the potential for intimidation by defendants' supporters. Therefore, we welcome the proposal that Her Majesty's Court Service should introduce separate seating arrangements for victims' families in court. This should be done immediately.

ELECTRONIC TAGGING AS A CONDITION OF BAIL

141. Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison noted that one means of facilitating monitoring is to request the court to award a tagging order as a condition of bail:

Mr Justice Fulford agreed that "tagging can be an extremely useful tool" that he had used on a number of occasions when, if it had not been available, he probably would not have granted bail.[172]

142. The technology can be bought in and used by criminal justice agencies themselves or can be outsourced to a provider. We were concerned about reports of security lapses and sought assurances from Mr Paul Moonan, the Managing Director of G4S Justice Services, who represent nearly 70% of the electronic monitoring market in England and Wales. Mr Moonan explained that the tag is fitted to the ankle, with the strap size measured to a precise level so that it cannot be pulled off without detection:

    If somebody willingly wants to break their court or prison curfew order, they can cut the tag off, but we would receive an alert in our control centre to that effect, and breach proceedings would be instigated immediately if that was to happen.[173]

G4S employees then verify that defendants are at their home or other place of curfew during curfew times—typically seven in the evening until seven in the morning—and report any instances where they are not to the police.

143. According to Mr Moonan, 95% of those on curfew complete it successfully.[174] We asked for figures on breaches. In relation to community sentences, during the period March 2007 to April 2008 G4S monitored 29,149 subjects on curfew. 76% completed their curfew either without the need for any court enforcement action, or action was taken but subsequently withdrawn, or the subject was found not guilty. A further 6.5% completed with proven breaches where the court decided that the order should continue. Overall, 2,818 (9.6%) were revoked, either before or following completion of the order.[175]

144. We welcome the use of tagging orders to enable the police to monitor more effectively defendants released on bail. However, we still have some reservations about the extent to which breaches may occur; the Home Office should keep this under review. In our opinion, breaches should be dealt with by withdrawal of bail.

Gun and knife crime

145. A further area where police workload is perceived to have increased is gun and knife crime, particularly linked to gangs. Chief Superintendent Dann told us: "in Hackney a disproportionate amount of my time and resources are employed in keeping a lid on … gang problems".[176]

SCALE OF THE PROBLEM

146. Weapons were used in 24% of violent crimes as recorded by the 2007/08 British Crime Survey (BCS); knives in 6%. These figures have remained relatively stable over the past few years. In 2007/08, all police forces started separately recording use of a knife or a sharp instrument in offences of attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and robbery. 19% (22,151 instances) of these offences involved knives or sharp instruments. Comparison with previous years is not possible nationally, but Metropolitan Police data shows there were 10,220 knife-enabled crimes in 2007/08, 16% fewer than in 2006/07, figures for which were down 4% on the previous year.[177]

147. According to BCS data, firearms were used in 1% of violent crimes. In 2007/08, a provisional figure of 9,803 firearm offences were recorded in England and Wales, a 2% increase on 2006/07, in which year firearms were used in 0.3% of all recorded crimes.[178]

148. It would appear from these statistics that gun and knife crime is not increasing at the rate suggested by media coverage. However, Cherie Booth, who chaired the Channel 4 Street Weapons Commission told us "there is no doubt whatsoever" that the number of people presenting to hospitals with wounds from guns or knives is increasing and that many of these are not reported to the police. According to Liam Black, who also sat on the Street Weapons Commission, Merseyside Ambulance Service estimate that 50% of the stabbing victims they deal with do not report the incidents to the police.[179]

149. Moreover, the average age of victims has been going down, and the BCS does not cover under-16s, although we understand that this situation may change in future years. The 2006 Offending, Crime and Justice Survey, which does survey under-16s, showed that 3% of young people aged 10 to 25 had carried a knife with them in the last 12 months.[180] Certainly more people appear to be carrying knives: convictions for 'having an article with blade or point in a public place' rose from around 3,500 in 1997 to over 6,000 in 2006.[181]

150. Liam Black argued for greater efforts to be made to tackle knife crime, as he believed it to be a far bigger threat than guns:

    What percentage of crime do you think involves a firearm? Everyone says: "40%? 30%?" It is 0.5%. Of that 0.5% how many of those firearms are replicas or toys? I think it is half. So you are talking about a relatively small impact that has devastating impacts on anyone that is involved in that. My personal view is that the knife problem, and the easy access to knives, is a much bigger issue that we face than young people and guns.[182]

151. Official statistics appear to demonstrate a slight decrease rather than an increase in knife crime but we doubt whether these represent the true picture. Greater use of accident and emergency data would help to build a better understanding of the extent of the problem, as would proposals to extend the British Crime Survey to cover under-16s. Gun crime causes irreparable damage to the communities affected by it. We do not underestimate the importance of police efforts to combat it. However, we believe that more emphasis and resources should be assigned to tackling knife crime, given its far greater prevalence.

THE GOVERNMENT'S APPROACH TO GUN AND KNIFE CRIME

152. The Government has introduced a series of laws which have been designed to tackle gun and knife crime. The Firearms Act 1997 banned the private ownership of all cartridge ammunition handguns; the Criminal Justice Act 2003 established mandatory, five-year minimum sentences for the illegal possession of a prohibited firearm; and the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 made it an offence to be in possession of an imitation firearm or air gun in public, banned the sale, manufacture and import of guns that use self contained gas cartridge systems, and raised the minimum age of purchase for air guns to 17. The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 raised the maximum penalty for possession of a knife in a public place without good reason from two years to four years, introduced tougher sentences for carrying imitation firearms, introduced a new offence of using another person to hide or carry guns, and increased the age limit for buying a knife, air weapon or crossbow to 18.

153. According to the Home Office, those prosecuted for carrying knives are almost three times as likely to go to prison now as they were 10 years ago (6% were given prison sentences in 1996, 17% in 2006), and the average sentence length has increased by almost a third over the same period.[183] However, the Sentencing Guidelines Council has issued guidance to magistrates' courts that a sentence for possessing a bladed article should begin at a band C fine. The Minister of State agreed with us that this is not an appropriate sentence.[184]

154. Anyone caught carrying a knife illegally is now likely to face criminal charges as of June 2008. Previously police tended to charge only over-18s while younger teenagers were given a caution, if their first offence. There have been similar criticisms over gun crime: in 2005, only 40% of people convicted of being in possession of a firearm received the minimum jail term.[185]

155. £5 million of additional funding has been pledged by the Home Office for the Metropolitan, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Essex and Thames Valley police forces to support increased use of searches in intelligence-led operations, fast-tracking the 'knife referral project' in which all young people convicted of a knife offence are taught the consequences of knife crime, and home visits and letters to parents of young people known to carry weapons.[186]

156. The police approach has focused on increased use of intelligence-led searches. Operation Blunt 2, a targeted initiative to tackle knife crime through use of stop-and-search within high-risk areas, resulted in over 1,200 people being arrested by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of possessing weapons and other suspected knife-related crimes between 19 May and 29 June 2008, and a total of 528 knives were recovered as a result of 26,777 searches.[187] The Minister of State commended police in London and Liverpool for "setting up in an area with search warrants, knife search arches and really bearing down on an area, based on intelligence—it works and works very, very effectively" and said he would encourage other forces to adopt this approach where there is a problem.[188]

157. The Street Weapons Commission were impressed by close working between the police and local authority in Hackney to combine enforcement activity with efforts to provide alternatives for young people. Mr Black told us that: "All the committee were very impressed with Hackney where they sit down and say, 'It is that person and that person who are causing the trouble in this borough, so we are going to target them and let them know we are all over them'".[189]

158. Chief Superintendent Dann has ten officers dedicated full-time to Operation Curb, targeting around 20 offenders, supported by an intelligence team linking in with youth offending and other teams. However, he emphasised how difficult and resource-intensive it was to identify and monitor those 20 offenders: his officers made 122 visits in six months to home addresses.[190]

159. We learnt on our visit to Moss Side that this approach of targeting key offenders, coupled with diversionary activities provided in partnership with the local authority and other agencies, has also been successful in tackling gang-related gun crime. At the time of our visit in July, there had been no gang-related firearms discharges in the division since Operation Cougar began on 14 February 2008, whereas since 2003 there had been at least one every month, with 51 occurring in total in 2007/08.

160. This level of success has been achieved through a combination of approaches, which the division considers to be sustainable. Officers have carried out a high number of stop and searches under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which gives them the right to search people in a defined area at a specific time when they believe, with good reason, that there is the possibility of serious violence or that a person is carrying a dangerous object or offensive weapon. 909 had been carried out as of 30 June, resulting in 148 arrests.[191] They know exactly who the gang members are and where they live, and are 'in their faces'. Dedicated resources for diversion activities have been provided, in partnership with the Youth Service, and this period of high enforcement has also marked the highest take-up in terms of education and diversionary activities. In addition, the police adopted a more supportive approach to parents: letters were sent to over 30 parents outlining police concerns about their children's activities, and by and large, parents have been willing to work with the police. Those who are unwilling have been subject to parenting orders.

161. We explored a concern that police officers who stop people for non-arrestable minor offences, on discovering that they have recent convictions for knife and gun carrying may, technically, be unable to search them. Chief Superintendent Dann considered there is sufficient room for flexibility within the current legislation and that officers must also take care to avoid damaging relations between the police and local communities.[192]

162. During our inquiry we heard a great deal of evidence on all aspects of knife crime, including prevention and early intervention measures, and sentencing. We were particularly struck by Chief Superintendent Dann's assertion that " by the time we [the police] become involved … it is too late".[193] We decided to launch a separate inquiry into knife crime to begin in autumn 2008.

163. The evidence we heard on knife-crime convinced us of the value of undertaking an inquiry devoted to that subject, which will commence in the autumn. We do, however, make a series of initial recommendations here, based on the evidence we have taken in this inquiry.

164. We were impressed by successful approaches in Hackney and Moss Side which combined focused, intelligence-led campaigns against key offenders with diversionary activities to tackle knife and gun crime respectively. We recommend that the additional funding provided by the Government to tackle knife crime is used to replicate this approach.

165. The power to search for weapons, where used appropriately, is a key tool in tackling knife-crime. We recommend that police officers are given clearer guidance as to when they may search those they have stopped for non-arrestable offences for weapons, upon discovery of any recent convictions for carrying a knife or gun.

166. We are concerned at evidence suggesting that many who are convicted of being in possession of a firearm do not receive the minimum jail term, and that very few teenagers found in possession of a knife receive appropriate sentences. Possessing a weapon is a very serious offence. We recommend that the Home Secretary asks the Sentencing Guidelines Council to revisit their guidelines for knife and gun offences to ensure this is properly reflected.


74   CIPFA, Police Statistics 2007/08 Estimates, http://www.cipfastats.net/  Back

75   Home Office, From the Neighbourhood to the National: Policing our Communities Together, July 2008, p 8 Back

76   Home Affairs Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Police Funding, HC 553, para 36 Back

77   HC Deb, 6 December 2007, col 88WS [Commons written ministerial statement] Back

78   Q 716 Back

79   "Boys in blue head into the red", The Economist, 24 January 2008. http://www.economist.com  Back

80   Home Affairs Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Police Funding, HC 553 Back

81   Q 172 Back

82   Sir Ronnie Flanagan, The Review of Policing: Final Report, February 2008, pp 26-29 Back

83   Ev 207 Back

84   Ev 251 Back

85   Ev 142 Back

86   B. Loveday & J. McClory, Footing the bill: Reforming the police service, Policy Exchange, 2007, p 10 Back

87   Committee visit to Newark, 25 February 2008 Back

88   Ev 243 Back

89   Q 716 Back

90   Oral evidence taken on 27 November 2007, HC (2007-08)123-i, Q 39 Back

91   House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, First Report of Session 2007-08, HL Paper 82-I, The Economic Impact of Migration, para 149 Back

92   Q 378 Back

93   Presentation by Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell to the Home Office Migration Impacts Forum on 16 July 2008, http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk Back

94   "Police chief: 'migrant tide adds to crime'", Sunday Times, 27 January 2008, www.timesonline.co.uk Back

95   Q 365, 367  Back

96   Ev 224 Back

97   Q 20 Back

98   Q 821 Back

99   "ACPO comment on migration and policing", ACPO press release 041, 16 April 2008 Back

100   Qq 363, 375 Back

101   Q 364 Back

102   Q 363 Back

103   Q 377; Ev 286-7 Back

104   Presentation by Liam Byrne MP to Migration Impacts Forum, 17 October 2007, http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk Back

105   Local Government Association, Estimating the scale and impacts of immigration at the local level, November 2007, pp 53-4 Back

106   Q 370 Back

107   House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, First Report of Session 2007-08, HL Paper 82-I, The Economic Impact of Migration, para 136 Back

108   "Police chief: 'migrant tide adds to crime'"¸ Sunday Times, 27 January 2008, www.timesonline.co.uk Back

109   Q 228 Back

110   Q 362 Back

111   Cambridge Constabulary, The changing demography of Cambridgeshire, September 2007, p 2  Back

112   Ev 281 Back

113   Presentation by Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell to the Home Office Migration Impacts Forum on 16 July 2008,http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk  Back

114   Q 383 Back

115   Department for Communities and Local Government, Managing the Impacts of Migration: A Cross-Government Approach, June 2008 Back

116   Q 365 Back

117   "We're struggling to cope with scale of migration says Blears", Daily Mail, 12 June 2008, p 18 Back

118   Q 383 Back

119   Home Office, Crime in England and Wales 2007/08, July 2008, p 76  Back

120   Cabinet Office, Alcohol Harm Reduction Project: Interim Analytical Report, September 2003, p 64 Back

121   Ibid., p 68 Back

122   Ev 200 Back

123   Home Affairs Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2004-05, Anti-Social Behaviour, HC 80, p 27 Back

124   Q 474 Back

125   Cabinet Office, Alcohol Harm Reduction Project: Interim Analytical Report, September 2003, p 65 Back

126   Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Evaluation of the Impact of the Licensing Act 2003, March 2008 Back

127   Home Office, Violent crime, disorder and criminal damage since the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, 2007 Back

128   Q 226 Back

129   Q 400 Back

130   Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Evaluation of the Impact of the Licensing Act 2003, March 2008, pp 12-13 Back

131   Q 395  Back

132   Qq 481-482,  Back

133   Chief Superintendent Neil Wain, "Night life", Police Review, 30 May 2008, p 31 Back

134   Ibid., pp 30-31 Back

135   Q 490 Back

136   "Action on alcohol-related criminal behaviour", Home Office press release, 16 October 2007 Back

137   Q 227 Back

138   Q 447 Back

139   Q 491 Back

140   Q 423 Back

141   Ev 200 Back

142   Qq 494, 497 Back

143   Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments, Eighteenth Report of Session 2007-08, Draft Local Authorities (Alcohol Disorder Zones) Regulations 2008, HL 100, p 3 Back

144   Q 494 [Chief Constable Otter] Back

145   Q 809 Back

146   K. Hughes, Z. Anderson, M. Morleo & M. Bellis, "Alcohol, nightlife and violence: the relative contributions of drinking before and during nights out to negative health and criminal justice outcomes", Addiction, 13 November 2007, http://www.addictionjournal.org  Back

147   NHS, Statistics on Alcohol: England 2008, May 2008, p II Back

148   Qq 416, 439 [Mr Brown], 417, 434 [Mr Chester], 428 [Mr Lowman] Back

149   HC Deb, 15 November 2004, col 965W [Commons written answer]  Back

150   "Pubs may be forced to make it a small one", The Times, 19 July 2008, p 3 Back

151   Qq 425 [Mr Chester, Mr Lowman, Mr Hayward], 432 [Mr Hayward] Back

152   Cited in "Happy hours in pubs may be outlawed", Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2008, p 12 Back

153   Q 477 Back

154   Q 419  Back

155   "Setback for drive against binge drinking", Financial Times, 25 June 2008, www.ft.com  Back

156   Home Office, Review of the Social Responsibility Standards for the production and sale of Alcohol drinks, KPMG LLP, April 2008 (published July 2008), Volume 1, pp 8-9 Back

157   "Plan to ban under-21 drink sales goes on despite defeat", The Times, 2 October 2008, www.timesonline.co.uk; "Mayor backs ban on alcohol for under-21s", Evening Standard, 17 July 2008, www.thisislondon.co.uk  Back

158   Information disclosed by forces to a freedom of information request, cited in Ministry of Justice, Bail and Murder Consultation Paper CP11/08, 17 June 2008, para 28 Back

159   Qq 165-166  Back

160   Ministry of Justice, Bail and Murder Consultation Paper CP11/08, 17 June 2008, para 2 Back

161   "Demand for stricter bail after 60 on murder charges go free", The Guardian, 25 February 2008, p 10 Back

162   Qq 240-8, 259; Ev 263 Back

163   Q 268 Back

164   Q 865 Back

165   Q 866 Back

166   Q 871 Back

167   Q 873 Back

168   Ministry of Justice, Bail and Murder Consultation Paper CP11/08, 17 June 2008 Back

169   Q 269 Back

170   Louise Casey, Engaging Communities in the Fight Against Crime, Cabinet Office, June 2008, Executive Summary, p 10 Back

171   Q 165  Back

172   Q 875 Back

173   Q 537  Back

174   Ibid. Back

175   Ev 274 Back

176   Q 779 Back

177   Home Office, Crime in England and Wales 2007/08, July 2008, pp 75-76 Back

178   Ibid., pp 73, 75 Back

179   Qq 729-30 Back

180   Home Office, Crime in England and Wales 2007/08, July 2008, pp 15, 76 Back

181   Home Office, Violent Crime Action Plan 2008-2011, p 13 Back

182   Q 749 Back

183   "Tough new sanctions to tackle knife crime", Home Office press release,, 5 June 2008 Back

184   Q 815 Back

185   Policy Exchange Research Note 2, Gun and Knife Crime in Great Britain, September 2007 Back

186   "Tough new sanctions to tackle knife crime", Home Office press release, 5 June 2008 Back

187   "Youth's death sparks police vow", BBC News Online, 2 July 2008, www.bbc.co.uk/news  Back

188   Q 791 Back

189   Q 733 Back

190   Q 765 Back

191   Committee visit to Manchester, 7 July 2008 Back

192   Qq 774-6 Back

193   Qq 768-9 Back


 
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