HC Deb 14 December 1967 vol 756 cc601-2
6. Mr. Roebuck

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement about the incidence and detection of crime in the Metropolitan Police area since 1st January last.

Mr. Callaghan

During the first nine months of 1967, indictable offences known to the Metropolitan police showed a reduction of 4.2 per cent, over the corresponding period of 1966. Twenty-four per cent. of such crimes were cleared up compared with 22 per cent, for the same period last year.

Mr. Roebuck

That is a most satisfactory statement. Will my right hon. Friend convey to the Commissioner and all ranks the thanks of law-abiding citizens for their hard work in this respect? Can my right hon. Friend say to what extent this improved performance is due to the use of technological aids?

Mr. Callaghan

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for what he says. I shall see that his observations are conveyed to the police, whose morale I find to be extremely high at present. To some extent, as far as I can ascertain, this is because of the factor to which my hon. Friend refers—the introduction of modern methods of policing and new equipment, together with the placing of more responsibility on individual officers and the response of the public. All those factors seem to have given the police a substantial improvement in their approach to the problem of preventing and solving crime.

Mr. Frederic Harris

As the Metropolitan police are so under-staffed at present, will the right hon. Gentleman see if a new initiative can be taken to release some of the police from their clerical and administrative jobs and their road work, giving them a better chance to prevent and detect crime?

Mr. Callaghan

I am sure that that is what a great many of the police would like to do. We should certainly keep the administrative tasks to a minimum. The matter is constantly under review in the organisation and methods division of the police.

Mr. Hogg

Could the right hon. Gentleman break down these admittedly satisfactory figures to show what relation the proportion of crimes associated with violence—robbery with violence, assault with attempt to rob and possession of firearms—bears to the total?

Mr. Callaghan

In the first nine months of the year, as compared with the first nine months of last year, the figures have fallen as follows: housebreaking is down by 14 per cent.; shop and warehouse breaking by 17 per cent.; theft of motor cars by 15.6 per cent.; unauthorised taking and driving away of motor vehicles by 22.5 per cent. Robberies and assault show the least decline. Robberies and assault with intent to rob are down by 2.4 per cent.