HC Deb 03 March 1983 vol 38 cc363-4
11. Mr. Delwyn Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the percentage increase in the number of crimes of violence to the person in Wales between the years 1972 and 1981.

Mr. Mayhew

Between 1972 and 1981 the average annual increase in all offences of violence against the person recorded in Wales was about 7 per cent. a year; for the more serious offences it was about 2 per cent. a year.

Mr. Williams

Does my hon. and learned Friend accept that it was extremely insensitive of his Department to announce last weekend that the elderly were less likely to suffer an attack on their person than any other people in society? Does he agree that that shows complacency towards their real fears rather than the concern that the Government should show?

Mr. Mayhew

I did not, nor did the Department, make that announcement. The Department published the crime survey. Expressed in a shorthand way in my hon. Friend's question, that was one of the findings of the crime survey.

Mr. Wigley

Does the Minister accept that the most important thing is to try to prevent such crimes taking place? One of the factors that has contributed to crime in Wales has been the increase in unemployment over that period. Does he accept that we should seek an eradication of the cause rather than go after the criminals once the crimes have taken place?

Mr. Mayhew

I am happy to enjoy the rare experience of agreeing with the hon. Gentleman on the point that we must try to stop those crimes taking place. With regard to his second point, I hope that he will read the answer that I gave a few moments ago about the research findings and note the absence of any link between unemployment and crime.

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