§ Mr. Irving
asked the Prime Minister what consideration the Government have given to the extension of community service; whether the Government have commissioned any estimate of costings of various community service options; and if she will make a statement.
§ The Prime Minister
Community service schemes are available to courts throughout England and Wales. In all areas, except Humberside, these schemes have been or will be extended next month to cover offenders aged 16 and over. In Scotland, schemes for offenders aged 16 or over are available to sheriff courts serving four fifths of the population and we hope for further extensions. Schemes for offenders aged 17 and over are available to courts throughout Northern Ireland.
The schemes are administered locally and vary according to local needs and circumstances, as would alternative options and their costs. The Government believe that the schemes are administered in an effective and imaginative manner, and do not see a need to commission centrally any studies such as my hon. Friend has in mind.