HC Deb 08 February 1972 vol 830 cc1133-4
Q5. Mr. Peter Archer

asked the Prime Minister if he will take steps to co-ordinate the activities of the Departments responsible in the fields, respectively, of employment, housing, education, environment, health and social welfare, to reduce the factors which lead to an increasing crime rate.

The Prime Minister

The policies of the various Departments are already closely co-ordinated to secure a wide range of social advances. But there is no simple relationship between these advances and the crime rate, which is influenced by many other factors.

Mr. Archer

Is the Prime Minister aware that every question on the social background to crime is transferred by his Ministers to the Home Secretary, that in the past 20 months the Home Secretary has done nothing to improve bad housing conditions, inadequate schools and juvenile unemployment, and that if the next Conservative Party Conference is seriously concerned to reduce crime it will pay as much attention to those factors as to severe sentences?

The Prime Minister

No one has ever denied that the environmental factors which the hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned can have an impact on the amount of crime. But when the hon. and learned Gentleman puts down Questions it must be apparent that one member of the Government is mainly responsible for particular aspects of Government administration, and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is responsible for criminal matters. The massive programme for replacing old primary schools in the deprived areas and the programme to produce better housing could, on the hon. and learned Gentleman's own analysis, have a beneficial effect in diminishing crime.