HC Deb 25 April 1991 vol 189 c1203
14. Mr. Patrick Thompson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on new crime prevention initiatives.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

Last week we held the first-ever national crime prevention week. We launched the Home Office car theft index, which provides valuable ad vice to car owners, car buyers and car manufacturers on which cars are particularly attractive to car thieves. In addition, the safer cities programme will be brought to its full complement of 20 projects later this year, when those in Derby, Hammersmith and Fulham, Leicester and Middlesbrough come into action.

Mr. Thompson

Will my hon. Friend confirm that there has been a positive response to recent crime prevention initiatives in Norwich? In particular, will he commend the work of the crime prevention panel, crime stoppers and the neighbourhood watch scheme? Does he agree that deterrence and sentencing policy should play a very real part in crime prevention, and that we should not calmly accept the present level of crime?

Mr. Lloyd

We certainly do not accept the present levels of crime. Nor, obviously, do my hon. Friend's constituents in Norwich, who have been so active in crime prevention measures. The value of Crime Prevention Week is that we have put the problem high on the agenda. There were about 5,000 local initiatives during the week. These will be valuable in crime prevention activities over the coming weeks, months and years.

Miss Lestor

Does the Minister accept that the reoffending rate is greater among juveniles than in any other group? As was underlined earlier, there is some evidence that, in the case of young people, non-custodial sentences are more effective than any other sentences. Does the Minister agree that, as truancy may be linked to juvenile crime, it is important to remember that truancy has its roots in the lack of appropriate education and training for many young people? Unless that problem and the rising rate of unemployment among young people are tackled, juvenile crime will continue to increase.

Mr. Lloyd

I accept the hon. Lady's first point. Indeed, it reiterates the Government's policy as set out in the Criminal Justice Bill that is before the House. It is true that the tendency to reoffend is greater among young people. It would be surprising if it were not so. The in-community penalties that are now being introduced are clearly a better way to proceed than were the actions of previous Governments.