Previous Section Index Home Page

Offences against Children

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the Government's policy on offenders who commit offences against children. [150569]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government believe those who offend against children should be dealt with severely by the courts and appropriate action taken to prevent their re-offending. Recent measures include the provisions in Part II of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to prevent people who commit serious offences

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 255W

against children from subsequently working with them; to raise the penalties for the offence of possession of child pornography to five years' imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both, and for the making and distributing of child pornography to 10 years' imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both; and to raise the age limit for the offence of indecent conduct towards a child to protect children up to 16. All these measures came into force on 11 January 2001. They form part of a programme of work we have undertaken to increase protection for children from those who may harm them.

Assaults on Police Officers

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on assaults on police officers. [150570]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Assault is a serious offence and assaults on the police are deplorable. The Government are committed to reducing the number of assaults on police officers as part of their overall strategy to reduce violent crime, as set out in "fighting violent crime together: an action plan" published in January. We are determined to support the right of every law-abiding individual to go about his or her daily life without the fear of falling victim to crime. We recognise our responsibility in supporting the police to protect the community. That is why we are increasing police funding significantly and in real terms.

The Government are determined to ensure that all police officers are protected in carrying out their duties. We support the use of the best available means to protect our police officers. In addition to the development of protective clothing to guard against knife or gun attack, police now have access to the up-to-date extendable side handled batons and the CS incapacitant spray, which help to protect them from assault. The Home Office's Police Scientific Development Branch continues to monitor developments in this area, in order to provide the police service with advice on the most effective equipment available.

We recognise the importance of high quality training in protecting police officers in carrying out their duties. In May 2000 the Government published "Police Training:

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 256W

The Way Forward" which set out a range of proposals to ensure common national standards in police training and life-long learning for staff.

In order to allow the identification of the level of recorded assaults on the police, in 1998 we introduced assault on a constable as one of the new elements in the recording of crime figures. Assault carries a range of sentences depending on the seriousness of the incident. We expect the courts to use their full powers when considering sentences in cases where the police are assaulted.

Departmental Business (Overseas Travel)

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visits abroad have been made by Home Office officials on departmental business (a) since 1 May 1997 and (b) in the last 12 months. [149042]

Mr. Straw: The information which has been requested is not held centrally and would incur disproportionate cost to obtain.


Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many sex offender orders have been made to date in each police force area in England and Wales; how many have been (a) discharged and (b) breached; and if he will make a statement; [149162]

Mr. Charles Clarke [pursuant to his replies, 8 February 2001, c. 674W]: The information given in the table covering the number of Parenting Orders and Child Safety Orders made up to 31 May 2000 was incorrect. An updated table with amendments is given.

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 255W

Number of parenting, child safety and sex offender orders (as introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998) made, discharged or breached within pilot areas and nationally up to 30 September 2000(31)

Type of order and police force areaNumber up to 31 May 2000Nationally from 1 June to 30 September 2000(31)DischargedBreached (up to June 2000)(31)
Sex Offender Order(32)(33)3211(34)n/an/a
Greater Manchester--1----
Metropolitan police--1----
West Yorkshire--2----
North Wales--1----
Parenting Order(35)(36)284(37)40n/a(38)1
of which given at:
Civil and family proceedings courts--18n/a--
Greater Manchester(40)--6----
Metropolitan police--5----
West Sussex(40)--1----
Criminal courts(36)28422(37)n/a--
Devon and Cornwall12------
Greater Manchester(40)--4----
Metropolitan police241----
South Yorkshire121----
West Midlands213----
Child Safety Order(35)2--(39)n/a(40)--
Care Order for Non-Compliance with Child Safety Orders----n/a(40)--

(31) Provisional.

(32) Implemented on 1 December 1998.

(33) Data by area for Sex Offender Orders only available from 1 June 2000.

(34) Subsection 2(7) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provides that "except with the consent of both parties, no sex offender order shall be discharged before the end of the period of five years beginning with the date of service of the order".

(35) Piloted from 30 September 1998 and implemented nationally from 1 June 2000.

(36) An actual breakdown by type of court is not readily available for parenting orders made within the piloting period. Information suggests that 62 per cent. were made by criminal courts, 37 per cent. by civil courts and 1 per cent. at family proceedings courts.

(37) Data for parenting orders given at criminal courts up to 30 June 2000 only.

(38) Breach recorded in Dyfed-Powys police force area in 1999.

(39) If the child fails to comply with any requirement, the court may, on application of the responsible officer, discharge the order and make in respect of him a care order under s31(10(a)) of the Children Act 1989.

(40) Not applicable.

n/a = not available

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 257W

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 257W

Departmental Policies (Pendle)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives embarked upon since May 1997 have benefited Pendle; and if he will make a statement. [149910]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Under round one of the Crime Reduction Programme Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Initiative, £201,000 was awarded to the Pendle Community Safety partnership in January 2000, for a CCTV scheme in Nelson town centre. The scheme proposes to reduce violent crime, vehicle crime, burglary and fear of crime.

The Youth Justice Board has also invested £228,018 on two development projects in Lancashire, including Pendle. The projects cover a victim/offender mediation service and a community bail support scheme.

£14,000 has also been invested in Pendle under the Youth Inclusion "Summer Splash" Scheme, aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds at risk of offending during the Easter and Summer school holidays.

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 258W

Next Section Index Home Page