HC Deb 03 March 1983 vol 38 cc365-6
14. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what change there has been in the number of burglaries recorded in Merseyside between 1979 and the latest available date.

Mr. Mayhew

In 1981, 42,000 offences of burglary were recorded in Merseyside, about one third more than in 1979.

Mr. Alton

There has been a massive increase in the number of burglaries, which seem to have reached epidemic proportions, when one home is broken into every 20 minutes every day on Merseyside. How does the Minister account for that massive growth?

Mr. Mayhew

The hon. Gentleman knows that, unfortunately, there has been an increase in recorded crime, particularly burglaries, throughout the country. He also knows that the steps that must be taken to counter crime are multifarious and that the police cannot do it all on their own. The courts cannot do it all on their own. It depends upon the community. The Government are assisting.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

In that case, will the Minister commend the scheme introduced on Merseyside that enables burglars to make reparation for their crime by working in and for the community, and at the same time reinforce his welcome initiative on the national crime prevention scheme by allowing low-income householders to reinforce the security in their homes by providing them with subsidies?

Mr. Mayhew

I am very much in favour of the principle of reparation. The Criminal Justice Act assists the courts to make orders providing for that. To make a burglar compensate his victim one has first to catch him. That is why we rightly increased the numbers of police. We are entitled to take credit for the fact that three new attendance centres in Liverpool and the area in the Merseyside police district have been opened under this Government.