HC Deb 06 June 1991 vol 192 cc392-3
3. Mr. Simon Coombs

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

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Kenneth Baker)

The objective of crime prevention week was to raise national awareness of the need for positive crime prevention in our community. As such, we believe that it was successful. There were more than 6,000 local events involving many organisations and individuals and, I am glad to say, in many cases many young people. It attracted a great deal of positive press and broadcast cover.

Mr. Coombs

Will my right hon. Friend take this opportunity to congratulate the staff of Crime Concern, an organisation located in my constituency, on their success in helping to organise the week? Will he also take this chance to congratulate the private sector, which responded in full measure to the call on its generosity to support the week? Will he ensure that Crime Concern continues to have the resources to enable it to do its important work?

Mr. Baker

Crime Concern has been a successful initiative undertaken by the Government. During crime prevention week it raised over £300,000. In addition, the Home Office secured support from businesses of over £1 million. Businesses throughout the country contibuted upwards of £5 million to support initiatives in schools, youth clubs and probation services. That is an involvement and commitment of business, with the police, in fighting crime.

Mrs. Mahon

Is the Secretary of State aware that during crime prevention week the crime prevention panel in Calderdale met? I have here the headline that resulted from that meeting. It says that there are 66 crimes every day in Calderdale. There has been a massive increase in every reportable crime. When will the Home Secretary fund West Yorkshire police force and the other police forces properly so that we can have community policemen and the public can be protected from such horror stories?

Mr. Baker

I remind the hon. Lady that in the past 12 years we have increased the resources of the police by more than any previous Government. The increase in expenditure has been some 53 per cent. We have increased the size of police forces in Britain by 27,000. We took over from a Government who held back police recruiting and who left a police force that was under establishment by several thousand.

Mr. Lawrence

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that if people were less careless and locked the doors of their houses and cars, crime figures would come down?

Mr. Baker

My hon. and learned Friend is right. The figures announced today and those that were announced earlier show that many burglaries take place on private property where doors and windows are unlocked and that in a quarter of all car crimes doors have been left unlocked. The obvious message is that people must look after their property better. That is a sensible message to put across.

Mr. Hattersley

The Home Secretary properly and rightly congratulated Crime Concern on its work. Neighbourhood watch is also important in the prevention of crime. Does the Home Secretary agree with Crime Concern that what is holding back neighbourhood watch is inadequate resources from the Home Office for the police?

Mr. Baker

There has been an increase to more than 19,000 neighbourhood watch schemes. I am glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman is a late convert to them. I hope that he will ask all Labour authorities to put neighbourhood watch leaflets and pamphlets through doors and posters on street furniture. I sometimes wonder why the right hon. Gentleman is so half-hearted in his support for the forces of law and order.