HC Deb 17 January 2000 vol 342 c554
16. Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

If he will make a statement on the latest crime figures for Lancashire. [103976]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Jack Straw)

The latest figures, covering the 12 months to September 1999, will be published tomorrow. However, I can tell the House that, for the period to March 1999, there was a 10 per cent. reduction in recorded crime in Lancashire.

Mr. Pike

I thank my right hon. Friend, who is a neighbour of mine, for that answer. Is not such news good for Lancashire, and does it not show that the Government's policies are working: the police, local authorities and communities are working to ensure that the mindless minority are not allowed to destroy the lives of the law-abiding majority?

Mr. Straw

The record of Lancashire police is exemplary. It shows the good sense of the Government's policies in providing full backing to the police and local authorities. I am delighted to note that in a financial settlement that was below the average for the current financial year, Burnley and Padiham are to get 14 more front-line police officers in the next financial year.

Mr. Michael Jack (Fylde)

The chief constable of Lancashire is to be congratulated on the use of her resources to achieve such an excellent reduction in crime. Does the Home Secretary agree that the fact that the chief constable has now had to make application to the crime-fighting fund for more police officers is a clear indication that her existing police budget is not the source of additional manpower for her fight against crime?

Mr. Straw

I am delighted that the chief constable of Lancashire is making application to the crime-fighting fund for additional officers. I am also pleased to place on record what Chief Constable Pauline Clare said when the settlement for next year was announced on 26 October: An increase of 4 per cent. is more than we expected and should be sufficient to match anticipated increases in pay and inflation. It should also help us to maintain police officer numbers.