Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were (a) reported and (b) cleared up involving (i) licensed handguns, (ii) unlicensed handguns, (iii) licensed shotguns, (iv) unlicensed shotguns and (v) other firearms in each year since 1997. [30209]

Mr. Denham: The overall numbers of offences committed using handguns, shotguns and other firearms, over the period in question are as follows.

Numbers of firearms offences—England and Wales

HandgunsShotguns(10)Other firearms

(10) 'Other firearms' includes imitation and unidentified firearms, and rifles.

(11) There was a change in counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which expanded the offences covered, and placed a greater emphasis on counting crimes in terms of numbers of victims. Numbers of recorded crimes after this date are therefore not directly comparable with previous years.

Market Research

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what expenditure has been incurred by his (a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years on (i) opinion polling, (ii) focus groups and (iii) other forms of market research; and if he will list the surveys commissioned and the purpose of each. [27937]

11 Feb 2002 : Column 51W

Mr. Blunkett: The Department conducts or commissions market or opinion research only when it is justified by the specific needs of a particular policy or programme, and when this is the most economical, efficient and effective way to achieve the purpose.

Detailed breakdowns of costs are not held centrally and would be possible only at disproportionate cost.

Market research undertaken by the Department, its agencies and non departmental public bodies (NDPBs) from 30 May 2000 to date, is as follows:

British Crime Survey—used to monitor the level of crime independent of levels of reporting and recording of crime; 2001 Home Office Citizenship Survey—measures performance in delivering the Home Office's Aim 7 objectives; British Market Research Bureau—conducted a survey of all core Home Office staff and provided the Department with a report; A survey research project examined the impact of different formats of information on knowledge about, and attitudes towards crime and the criminal justice system; A postal survey of criminal justice system practitioners beliefs and opinions about sentencing philosophies and framework; A survey was commissioned for United Kingdom Passport Agency (UKPA) to determine the likely demand for their services in the coming year as part of a redevelopment of the passport demand forecasting system; Research into the attitudes of people from ethnic minority communities towards a career in the police service; An exploration of people's reactions to, and experiences of stop and search during the pilot of Macpherson recommendation 61; and the investigation more generally of views on the use of stop and search by the police; Prison Service staff attitude survey; The Youth Justice Board published a Youth Survey—undertaken with school children and young people excluded from mainstream schooling; Youth Justice Board research involving undertaking one to one interviews with non-offenders, offenders and persistent young offenders; Employee satisfaction survey for the Forensic Science Service; Police customer satisfaction surveys; Milton Keynes reassurance Project—survey of estates undertaken as part of an evaluation of interventions to reduce fear of crime; Qualitative research study into the social context of drinking among 18 to 24-year-olds; Attitudes towards and experiences of drink driving; Feasibility surveys on a strategic research objective of the Research, Development and Statistics Directorate; Qualitative and quantitative research with first stage respondents to police recruitment campaign to aid the recruitment process; Qualitative research with serving police officers to inform recruitment campaign development and police reform communications; Quantitative crime reduction campaign tracking—police recruitment and vehicle crime reduction; Quantitative research into attitudes of motorists towards car security products; Creative development research for used car security package pilot campaign; Creative development research for drugs; Pre/post campaign tracking research into drugs campaign; Strategic research with parents and young people about issues surrounding child protection on the internet (specifically chat room use); Creative development research for child protection on the internet campaign; Pre/post tracking research for child protection on the internet campaign; Desk research on existing

11 Feb 2002 : Column 52W

parenting information provision; Research with parents and parenting professionals into their communications needs on parenting issues.

Community/Police Partnership

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms exist for (a) monitoring performance and effectiveness and (b) disseminating best practice in community/police partnerships; and if he will make a statement. [33378]

Mr. Denham: The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires that crime and disorder reduction strategies are kept under review to monitor their effectiveness. Proposals currently in the Police Reform Bill will require responsible authorities to publish such reviews on an annual basis. A performance template is currently under development to assist partnerships in assessing and monitoring progress. Crime reduction directors located in the Government offices in the regions and the National Assembly for Wales monitor the performance of the partnerships and the effectiveness of projects in their area under the crime reduction programme. In addition, annual recorded crime figures are published twice yearly at crime and disorder reduction partnerships' level. The crime reduction toolkits provide comprehensive web-based guidance dealing with the key areas of crime and criminality for partnerships and provide a problem- solving approach with details on research, evaluation and examples of good practice. The toolkits are available on

Child Prostitution

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidelines to police forces to treat cases of child and youth prostitution as child abuse; and if he will make a statement. [33023]

Mr. Keith Bradley: This Government accept that children involved in prostitution need to be recognised primarily as victims of abuse and has issued guidance that emphasises this.

In May 2000, the Home Office, together with the Department of Health, issued guidance entitled "Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution". This guidance flowed from the original Association for Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidelines on child prostitution, published in 1998. The guidance was drawn up in consultation with the Associations of Directors of Social Services and Chief Probation Officers, other Government Departments and other relevant agencies. It reflected both best practice and a multi- agency approach.

A key message of the guidance was that wherever possible criminal justice action should be pursued against those who abuse children through prostitution or seek to exploit them as prostitutes. It also gave guidance about how to support children and young people and help them to leave prostitution.

Child Sex Tourists

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent co-ordination of efforts has been made between countries to reduce the incidence of child sex abuse by tourists; and if he will make a statement. [32136]

11 Feb 2002 : Column 53W

Beverley Hughes: The Government abhor the sexual abuse of children, whether in a commercial or domestic context, whether committed by British citizens in the United Kingdom or abroad or by visitors to the United Kingdom and other countries. Officials attended on my behalf the second World Congress on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Yokohama, Japan, in late December 2001. Reducing the incidence of sexual abuse of children is central to the aims of the congress.

Domestically, part two of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 provides the jurisdiction for the prosecution here of British residents or citizens who commit sex offences against children abroad. We have also implemented legislation introduced by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 requiring sex offenders subject to the requirements of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (the register) to notify the police if they intend to travel abroad for a period of eight days or longer. In relevant cases, the police will share this information with the authorities in other countries.

The United Kingdom is one of the strongest supporters of the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Convention 182, on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, such as prostitution. In ratifying this instrument, the United Kingdom committed itself to assisting other members of the ILO through "enhanced international co-operation and/or assistance including support for social and economic development, poverty eradication programmes and universal education". This commitment is being taken forward through the work of the Department for International Development. We have also ratified the key international instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the United Nations (UN) Slavery Convention. We are promoting their widest possible ratification and supporting their practical implementation to achieve real change.

We are supporting the Centre for Europe's Children to maintain the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Child Welfare Initiative Resource Centre. The centre maintains a web site which aims to share best practice and stimulate international discussion and cooperation in the field of child protection.

The Government, through the Department for International Development, has also given £3 million for the International Labour Organisation's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) programme in the Greater Mekong region (parts of Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam). This involves a number of inter-linked interventions to raise awareness and prevent the trafficking of women and children, including those trafficked for sexual exploitation, and to withdraw women and children from labour exploitation and reintegrate them back into their own or new communities. And we are supporting non- governmental organisations (NGOs) working with tour operators to develop a code of practice for the travel industry to eliminate child sex tourism.

More details of the United Kingdom's extensive portfolio of action to tackle the sexual abuse of children can be found in our "National Plan for Safeguarding Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation", which was published in September 2001.

11 Feb 2002 : Column 54W

Next Section Index Home Page