HC Deb 17 January 2000 vol 342 cc543-4
4. Mr. Piara S. Khabra (Ealing, Southall)

How much the Government are investing in CCTV systems in the current financial year. [103964]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Charles Clarke)

The Government are investing £153 million over three years in the closed circuit television initiative. I am pleased to announce today a further 181 awards to a value of £34 million under the first round of the initiative, bringing the total funding allocated during the current financial year to just under £40 million for 217 schemes. Details of the approved schemes are available on the Home Office website. A further 137 schemes, with a potential value of £25 million, require further information or reassurance before approval can be given.

Mr. Khabra

I am grateful to the Minister for his reply. May I also thank him for his support for the borough of Ealing's application? Two bids have been approved to install more cameras in my constituency. How effective is CCTV in the reduction of crime under the Government's programme? In what categories of crime has such reduction taken place, and which areas have benefited most?

Mr. Clarke

I was delighted that the approvals that I mentioned earlier—including schemes from Southall town centre, Springbridge road and Acton town centre— bring investment in CCTV in my hon. Friend's constituency to a total value of £644,000. There is no doubt that CCTV reduces crime, especially in areas such as secure car parks, where individual reductions of up to 80 per cent. have been achieved, and on housing estates, where CCTV can make a material difference to security. There is no doubt that it has an impact; we are investing far more than ever before, and I am delighted that the programme is being established strongly throughout the country.

Mr. Jonathan Sayeed (Mid-Bedfordshire)

I hope that your cold gets better, Madam Speaker.

I am pleased that the Minister is funding CCTV in Labour constituencies, but why has the application by Ampthill in Mid-Bedfordshire been turned down in the past? Will he be funding it this time round?

Mr. Clarke

I cannot immediately tell the hon. Gentleman why the application was turned down. However, two programmes were agreed today in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe), so we cannot be accused of refusing the application on party-political grounds.

Miss Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and The Weald)

Thank you very much.

Mr. Clarke

I am glad to collect credits from wherever they come.

We have a detailed set of specifications on making CCTV work more effectively to ensure value for money.' Where schemes have been turned down—in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, for example—the Home Office is committed to discussing with the local authorities and police ways of improving the scheme so that applications can be agreed in future. That applies to a number of schemes. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are prepared to look closely at the scheme to which he referred and see what can be done.