HC Deb 08 November 1973 vol 863 c1164
19. Mr. William Price

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many mugging offences have been reported in 1973; and what was the comparable figure for 1972.

Mr. R. Carr

There is no agreed definition of "mugging", but the most relevant figures are those for offences of robbery or assault with intent to rob. The number of such offences known to the police in England and Wales in the first six months of 1973 was 3,765; the corresponding figure for 1973 was 4,262. I much welcome this reduction.

Mr. Price

Is the Minister aware of the astonishing variations in the sentences being imposed by judges—everything from 12 months to 20 years? Are we not entitled to expect consistency from the courts? Is it right that one or two offenders should be picked upon for swingeing sentences as an example to others? If there are to be swingeing sentences, should they not be applied to all offenders?

Mr. Carr

It is a basic principle of our system of justice, as the hon. Member knows, that neither the Home Secretary nor any other Minister can or should comment on individual sentences, which are at the discretion of the courts.

Mr. Speaker

Questions to the Prime Minister.