HC Deb 05 December 1985 vol 88 cc411-2
2. Mr. Eastham

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of recorded notifiable offences were cleared up by the police in England and Wales in 1979 and 1984, respectively.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Douglas Hurd)

The clear-up rate fell from 41 per cent. in 1979 to 35 per cent. in 1984, but the actual number of offences cleared up rose by 17 per cent. to 1.2 million.

Mr. Eastham

Is the Minister aware that many of these cases are cleared up thanks to the public rather than the police? Therefore, is it not essential that we maintain the public's confidence? Is the Minister aware that a recent MORI poll showed that three out of five people believe that there should be more police accountability through local councils? Would not such a move improve policing?

Mr. Hurd

I am sure the hon. Gentleman is right in the first part of his question, and that success against crime depends upon co-operation between police and public. As to the second part, I point out that, in addition to the figures that I quoted, 75 per cent. of all offences of violence against the person are cleared up, and 91 per cent. of murders.

Mr. Ward

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is much that the public could still do to help the police, particularly through such organisations as Crimewatch and by instantly alerting police of problems and not passing by on the other side of the road, as seems to happen so often?

Mr. Hurd

We are only at the beginning of crime prevention as an effective cause. My hon. Friend mentioned Crimewatch. I agree with him that the number of schemes has doubled during the year. We hope that there will a great many more.

Mr. Alex Carlile

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what is the clear-up rate of offences of insider dealing on the Stock Exchange, bearing in mind that of 100 such offences reported by the Stock Exchange to the Director of Public Prosecutions, only two were proceeded with in the courts?

Mr. Hurd

I cannot answer the hon. and learned Gentleman's question without notice.

Mr. Kaufman

In view of the serious decline in the clear-up rate during the period of office of this Government, why are they cutting the amount of money to be spent on policing in the next financial year?

Mr. Hurd

We are not doing so; we are increasing it. In statements in the country the right hon. Gentleman has quoted a figure of 2.5 per cent., which he alleges is a decrease. He is not comparing like with like. He is comparing the likely outturn this year, which includes an obviously unplanned but large amount for police overtime during the miners' dispute, with our plans for next year. We are planning for an increase. What is more, the provisional figures that we published in the autumn statement will be looked at again between Departments to take account of events and needs since then.