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Written Answers

Monday, 19th July 1999.

Identity Cards

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the latest stated position of the Police Federation on the question of introducing an identification card scheme; and what are the observations on it.[HL3399]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): We have had no recent discussions with the Police Federation about this issue; but we understand that its latest stated position is that it would favour a voluntary identity card which also acts as a driving licence and travel document. We have not yet formed a view on the merits of this or any other option.

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the recent stated position of the Association of Chief Police Officers to the

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    Government on voluntary or mandatory introductions of identity cards.[HL3454]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have had no formal discussions with the Association of Chief Police Officers about identity cards. But we understand that its stated position remains as in its evidence to the 1996 Home Affairs Select Committee that it would favour a voluntary scheme.

Recorded Criminal Offences: Women and Young People

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the number of recorded offences by (a) women and (b) young people since 1992.[HL3449]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The data on recorded crime count the number of offences committed and are not broken down by age or sex.

The data given in the table show the number of known offenders (those cautioned or convicted) for indictable offences in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Number of female and young(1) known offenders (those cautioned or convicted) for indictable offences, England and Wales(1)
and Northern Ireland, 1992-97

199219931994199519961997
Female known offenders
England and Wales(1)101,13393,67695,72890,75186,25588,277
Northern Ireland(1)3,4313,5313,2193,4003,3193,531
Young(1) known offenders
England and Wales(1)143,647129,525135,811132,869124,241120,070
Northern Ireland(1)7427698791,009972955

(1) For England and Wales the young are defined as 10 to 17 year-olds while for Northern Ireland they are defined as 10 to 16 year-olds.

(1) There are known shortfalls for 1992 in the recording of convictions for indictable offences.

(1) Convictions only. Northern Ireland figures are not readily available for the number of cautions administered by sex of offender.

(1) Convictions only. Northern Ireland figures for juvenile cautions are not produced on a comparable basis with those of England and Wales.


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Peter Clarence Foster

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to guarantee the safety and well-being of Peter Clarence Foster when he is returned to this country after his extradition from Australia.[HL3539]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In the event of Mr. Foster being extradited back to this country and placed into Prison Service custody, prison staff would take all reasonable steps to ensure his safety, as is done with all prisoners.

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Prison Service was in breach of its regulations when, in 1996, it permitted a serving inmate, Peter Clarence Foster, to participate as a registered informant in Operation Outreach.[HL3540]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer of 24 March, (WA 159) to his Question concerning Operation Outreach in which

I stated that the Derbyshire police had not conducted any operation within the specified period with that name. I also said it is not the policy of the police either to confirm or deny whether anyone is a registered informant. There is no indication that the Prison Service breached its own regulations in relation to the case of Mr. Foster.

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action, if any, was taken to investigate the detailed allegations of corruption within the Prison Service outlined in the letters of 18 June 1998 sent by Peter Clarence Foster's lawyers, Janes Solicitors, to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister.[HL3541]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: I regret to say that there is no record of any letters of 18 June 1998 from Mr. Foster's solicitors having been received.

Allegations made against Prison Service staff are either referred to the police for investigation or investigated internally, depending on their seriousness. If the allegations are found to be true, appropriate action is taken under the terms of the Prison Service code of discipline.

Houses of Parliament: Age Limit

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 24 June (WA 103), whether they consider that to put an upper age limit on membership of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords would be contrary to human rights.[HL3547]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As I said on 7 June (WA 123), the Government have no plans to introduce an upper age limit for membership of the House of Commons. And as my right honourable friend the Leader of the House said in her previous Answer, the future composition of the House of Lords is currently being considered by a Royal Commission and the Government have taken no view on the question of an upper age limit for its members. The Government have not therefore sought legal advice on whether such limits would be in breach of the European Court of Human Rights.

Crime Reduction

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration is being given to the use of part of the additional resources to be made available under both European Union and national regional policies in order to reduce crime and nuisance and to protect persons and property.[HL3563]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are many sources of funding available to local communities to help them improve community safety. These include: the urban European Community initiative programmes which operate in the United Kingdom and provide measures to improve security provisions and prevent crime in eligible areas in order to encourage economic development; the Single Regeneration Budget which provides resources to support regeneration initiatives in England (the scheme it supports can have a mix of objectives, including tackling crime, the prevention of drug abuse and improvements to community safety); the new deal for Communities which was launched in September 1998 and which earmarked £800 million over three years to help the most deprived communities to tackle their problems in an intensive and co-ordinated way (tackling crime in their neighbourhoods will be one of a number of key issues to be addressed by the partnerships established under the programme); and the

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Crime Reduction Programme which was announced by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary last year and which is providing £400 million for community safety initiatives in England and Wales.

Recorded Criminal Offences

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many criminal offences were recorded in each police force area in England in both 1978 and 1998.[HL3564]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Figures for the calendar year 1998 are not yet available. The figures for 1978 and the year ending 31 March 1998 are given in the table. They represent notifiable offences recorded by the police, and include most indictable and triable either way offences, together with certain summary offences.

Notifiable Offences Recorded by the Police by Police Force Area
All offences

Police ForceJanuary 1978 to December 1978April 1997 to March 1998
Avon and Somerset56,018144,556
Bedfordshire26,19245,250
Cambridgeshire29,50758,864
Cheshire28,756 60,716
Cleveland35,23563,634
Cumbria19,76135,777
Derbyshire39,45174,436
Devon and Cornwall44,60092,800
Dorset25,66743,536
Durham29,02147,311
Essex53,27689,380
Gloucestershire17,36946,044
Greater Manchester159,477315,000
Hampshire68,179121,042
Hertfordshire38,59849,426
Humberside46,595123,722
Kent57,468118,892
Lancashire54,387116,947
Leicestershire30,87481,183
Lincolnshire17,89241,792
City of London6,0085,137
Merseyside110,381125,312
Metropolitan Police District567,387778,279
Norfolk23,82552,580
Northamptonshire23,23653,645
Northumbria98,324134,457
North Yorkshire23,23650,297
Nottinghamshire71,869125,097
South Yorkshire57,111125,907
Staffordshire36,12989,820
Suffolk19,08535,262
Surrey26,36438,015
Sussex46,665110,320
Thames Valley76,238154,014
Warwickshire14,30635,604
West Mercia36,27175,330
West Midlands161,192277,970
West Yorkshire132,983242,646
Wiltshire21,89032,831
England total2,430,8234,312,831


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