HC Deb 12 January 1987 vol 108 cc3-4
2. Mr. Cartwright

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps beyond those announced on 28 November he is taking to respond to and implement the recommendations in the report "Crime on the London Underground".

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. John Moore)

Our priority is to ensure that the extra £15 million is used to greatest effect. To this end we are in close touch with London Underground and the British Transport police on monitoring the pilot schemes and ensuring that the other recommendations are followed up.

Mr. Cartwright

Although the Secretary of State's reply is welcome, will he confirm that that £15 million is sufficient only to fund pilot schemes in a number of very important crime prevention areas? In view of the seriousness of the problem, will he give an assurance that resources will be available to make crime prevention measures more widely available if the pilot schemes turn out to be successful?

Mr. Moore

The £15 million goes beyond the pilot schemes. The hon. Gentleman and, I believe, all hon. Members rightly support what is being done, and I think that they will first want to see the pilot schemes in operation. The £15 million is spread over three years. I shall not go into the other things on which the money will be spent, but it will be spent on more than pilot schemes. The key issue is not resources, but putting them effectively to work.

Mr. McCrindle

Although I welcome the prospect of there being improved equipment to enable the British Transport police to carry out their task on the London Underground system, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that their establishment is adequate for that? Although equipment is desirable, effectiveness may well depend, at the end of the day, on the number of men available to prevent crime on the London Underground system.

Mr. Moore

I welcome my hon. Friend's comments. However, it is not a matter, in this case, of the number of officers involved. Indeed, the number of British Transport police has increased. We are talking about an improvement in specific facilities. That is what the report sought, and that is what the Government are committed to.

Mr. Tony Banks

Is it not also a crime of sorts for the management of London Regional Transport and of the Underground to disregard and tear up negotiated agreements with the unions? That has led to the strike that is threatened on Wednesday. Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to do anything about the fact that in a 75 per cent. turnout, 82 per cent. voted for a strike on Wednesday——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The question is about crime.

Mr. Banks


Mr. Moore

The hon. Gentleman's attempt to change the question was the absolute in crime. London Regional Transport staff were asked whether they would oppose the current threat to pay, conditions and employment opportunities by taking industrial action, including strike action if necessary, and were assured by the general-secretary that that would mean that they would not be going to the barricades on 6 January. There is no dispute with London Regional Transport, and in the absence of a dispute, it would be a crime against the travelling public if there were a strike.