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HOME DEPARTMENT

Young Offenders (Shropshire)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long it took from arrest to sentencing to process persistent young offenders in Shropshire (a) on 1 May 1997 and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [154663]

Mr. Charles Clarke: We have information on performance for West Mercia. In 1997 it took an average 155 days from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders in the police force area of West Mercia compared with a national average of 141 days. The latest available West Mercia average is an estimated 114 days for July to September 2000 compared with a national average of 95 days.

Departmental Policies (Truro and St. Austell)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Truro and St. Austell constituency, the effects on Truro and St. Austell of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154535]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of

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responsibilities is set out in Home Office Annual Reports. A copy of the most recent report, Home Office Annual Report 1999-2000, is available in the Library. The next report will be published shortly. Information on recorded crime and policing is also published. "Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000" and "Police Service Strength England and Wales, 30 September 2000" can be found in the Library. The recorded crime statistics include information on recorded crime by Basic Command Unit and Crime and Disorder partnerships.

The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects, such as recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested although set out are examples relating to the Truro and St. Austell constituency or the immediate locality:

Targeted Policing Initiative

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary were awarded £950,000 under round two of the Targeted Policing Initiative for a force-wide project to tackle violent crime linked to alcohol abuse (Operation Amethyst). The project will provide immediate support to victims of domestic violence at hospital Accident and Emergency Departments. It will tackle on and off-licensed premises selling alcohol to those under the legal age limit. A media campaign will be launched to publicise the negative effects of alcohol. Youth workers will be provided to work with those people misusing alcohol. Other aims of the project include: creating an Alcohol Assessment Stabilisation Programme in conjunction with an arrest referral scheme; management of the licensing environment; creation of a Safety Advisory Group to provide guidance and advice, and provide education about alcohol.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Restormel Borough Council was awarded £70,000 for a mobile system, which will complement the existing town centre schemes in St. Austell and Newquay and private sector facilities allowing crime and anti-social issues to be targeted in an area that is predominantly rural with scattered centres of population. The project aims to significantly reduce vehicle crime, violent crime and youth offending.

Carrick District Council was awarded approximately £644,000 to extend the existing CCTV provision in Falmouth and Truro by providing 25 new cameras and a new monitoring station. The scheme will link the hospital and college sites in Truro. The project aims to reduce overall crime in Truro City Centre and Falmouth Town Centre by 40 per cent. over three years.

Youth Offending Teams (YOTs)

Truro and St. Austell are covered by the Cornwall YOT. The YOT directly provides assessment and intervention work in support of: final warnings; bail support and supervision services; supervision of youth court orders and throughcare and post release supervision for young people sentenced to custody. The YOT also provides responsible officers for child safety and parenting orders. The YOT also manages the delivery of services supplied by other agencies including: drugs misuse assessment and intervention accessed through the RAPIDLY project, which is funded with the assistance of the Youth Justice Board and the Health Action Zone; and

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the Hot Spot project dealing with young fire setters, which operates as a collaborative venture involving the Fire Service, Dreadnought and Social Services.

More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Truro and St. Austell to a greater or lesser extent. For example:





Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website www.homeoffice.gov.uk.

Violent Offences (Wales)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reported offences involving violence there were in Wales in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000 and (e) 2001; and how many of those involved (i) village shops and (ii) village post offices. [154802]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Numbers of recorded violent crimes in Wales by category are given in the table, the most recent published data being for the year ending September 2000. Recorded crime statistics do not generally include the location of offences, and so details of those involving village shops and village post offices are not available. It should be noted that, owing to the change in counting rules on 1 April 1998, figures for recorded crime before and after that date are not directly comparable. For example, from that date, figures for offences of violence against the person additionally include figures for common assault and assault on a constable, among other offences.

Recorded crime in Wales--number of recorded crimes in violent crime categories

Year endingViolence against the personSexual offences Robbery
March 199817,5891,815786
March 199932,0991,818853
March 200037,9221,749909
September 200038,1851,613885

Child Curfew Orders

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many child curfew orders have been (a) applied for and (b) issued in Wales since their introduction; and if he will make a statement. [154805]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The local child curfew scheme was introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and has been available since September of that year. The scheme allows a local authority, after consultation with the police and other appropriate local bodies and following confirmation from the Secretary of State, to set up a scheme under which unaccompanied children up to the age of nine can be banned from a particular area for a specified period at night.

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No local authority has applied to the Secretary of State to set up a local child curfew scheme.

Following consultation on why this provision has not been used we are now raising the age of children who can be covered by the scheme to 15, and allowing the police to initiate applications. These changes are being introduced in the Criminal Justice and Police Bill. We believe these amendments will encourage the consideration of child curfews as part of local crime and disorder reduction strategies.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) child curfew orders and (b) antisocial behaviour orders have been (i) applied for and (ii) issued in Lancashire since their implementation; and if he will make a statement. [154801]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The local child curfew scheme for children of nine and under was introduced by section 14 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and has been in force since September of that year. The scheme allows a local authority, after consultation with the police and other appropriate local bodies and following confirmation from my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, to set up a scheme which bans children up to the age of nine from being out late at night (for a specified period between 9 pm and 6 am) otherwise than under the control of a responsible adult.

No local authority has applied to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to set up a local child curfew scheme. We have consulted widely on why this provision has not been used and many useful suggestions are being taken forward. In particular consultations indicated that the age range was too narrow given that children out on the streets late at night are often aged 10 or over.

We are seeking to remedy this by raising the age at which children can be covered to 15. This change is being introduced in the Criminal Justice and Police Bill. We are also giving the police the power to initiate and set up a scheme following consultation with the local authority and after confirmation from my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. We believe these changes will make the scheme more likely to be used, and play a useful part in local crime and disorder reduction strategies.

The antisocial behaviour order was a new civil order created under section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which has been in force since April 1999. This community based order can be applied for by the police, a local authority or in consultation with each other, against one or several individuals (perhaps a family) whose behaviour is anti-social (ie it causes alarm, distress or harassment to one or more people not in the same household as him/herself).

We understand that at least five antisocial behaviour orders were issued in Lancashire between 1 April 1999 and 31 May 2000. Figures, by local authority area, for the numbers of orders applied for during that period are not held centrally. However from 1 June 2000 the number of such orders applied for and issued is being collected centrally. Provisional data up to 30 September 2000 show two antisocial behaviour orders being applied for in Lancashire, both of which were granted.

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