HL Deb 05 March 1984 vol 449 cc5-6

2.48 p.m.

Lord Gainford

My Lords I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can confirm the recent announcement that crime in the capital fell by 4 per cent. in 1983.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Elton)

My Lords, I can confirm that the total number of notifiable offences recorded by the Metropolitan Police in 1983 was 4 per cent. less than in 1982.

Lord Gainford

My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend for that confirmation. Has he any information as to whether there has been any fall in the crimes where drugs are involved?

Lord Elton

My Lords. I do not think that, without notice. I can turn up the specific statistics for which my noble friend asks.

Lord Grimond

My Lords, is the Minister aware that this is very welcome news? But has he any comparable figures for the rest of the country, and can he say whether this fall in crime coincides with more policemen on foot on the beat, which many people think is the most effective deterrent to crime?

Lord Elton

My Lords, there has been an overall decline, we believe, of 1 per cent. over the police forces of the country, though the figures are subject to confirmation and may conceal areas where there have been minor increases, as well as areas where there have been larger decreases. As to the noble Lord's second supplementary question, we see this fall as being a result of the new strategy introduced by the commissioner, but it is, as he himself has said, a little early to draw any final conclusions from the first batch of figures.

Lord Elwyn-Jones

My Lords, does the noble Lord not agree, nevertheless, that the incidence of crime in the country as a whole, and in London also, is still very serious, especially juvenile crime? While this may not arise directly from the Question, could the noble Lord assist the House as to the rate of detection of crime, which has also been a disturbing feature of the criminal story?

Lord Elton

My Lords, the rate of offending is always a matter of concern, particularly when it is as high as it is at present. As to the rate of clear-up, I understand from the commissioner that the overall clear-up rate has increased from 16 to 17 per cent.: for offences of burglary, from 8 to 9 per cent.; for robbery and other violent theft, from 10 to 13 per cent.; and for sexual offences, from 44 to 51 per cent.