HC Deb 02 April 1987 vol 113 cc1210-1
14. Mr. Tom Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any proposals to seek to deal with pick-pocketing in London in the light of the recent increase in its incidence.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

The Commissioner's strategy for 1987 highlighted his determination to tackle street crime. I understand that this includes pick-pocketing and that additional resources have been provided to help to combat the problem. In particular, territorial operations support groups were formed in January and each division has been authorised to form a divisional crime squad to combat street crime, including pick-pocketing.

Mr. Clarke

Although the Minister has declined to give the figures, will he bear in mind that the increase in Faganism, which is clearly reflected in his reply, suggests that the Government's economic policies have an influence on these matters among communities and families? Will he encourage his right hon. Friend in Cabinet to seek a change in those policies?

Mr. Hogg

Talking about economic policies, the one pick-pocket that this country needs to beware of is the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley).

Mr. Favell

Is it not about time that the Opposition stopped excusing crime and started condemning it?

Mr. Hogg

That advice is long overdue and I hope that right hon. and hon. Members opposite will heed it, although I doubt that they will.