HC Deb 16 December 1982 vol 34 c474
15. Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the percentage detection rate for crimes of burglary in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Mr. Whitelaw

In 1981 the clear-up rate for recorded offences of burglary in England and Wales was 30 per cent. More recent figures are not available centrally.

Mr. Lyons

In view of the low percentage that the right hon. Gentleman has given, would it be right to say that a material increase in the clear-up rate, which would result in more convictions and more prison sentences, would mean that the prison system would collapse? Does he agree that the prison system survives on the low clear-up rate and that a high one would be disastrous?

Mr. Whitelaw

I do not agree, especially as it is the Government's policy, for which I am responsible, to ensure that the prisons have sufficient places for those whom judges and magistrates convict for the crimes with which they are charged. My task in doing that would be much easier if the leader of the party to which the hon. and learned Gentleman now belongs had not done everything that he could to undermine the building of the prison system of the future.

Mr. Shersby

Will my right hon. Friend ask the police to do everything possible to encourage members of the public to make their homes secure against burglary? Does he agree that about 80 per cent. of all burglaries could be prevented by proper precautions being taken by householders?

Mr. Whitelaw

That is an important point. I am glad to say that the police, with the support of the public and many consultative groups which we are now setting up, are keen to achieve lower crime figures and to encourage crime prevention methods in houses in their areas. The more difficult it becomes for people to burgle houses, the better it will be for the community.

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