§ 47. Mr. Brazier
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Her Majesty's Government will take steps to improve co-operation against crime between the United Kingdom and other Western European countries.
§ Mr. John Patten
We are committed to strengthening the United Kingdom's effectiveness in the fight against international crime, and are taking forward a number of initiatives. The Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 enhances international co-operation by providing for the seizure of the profits of drug trafficking wherever it takes place. The extradition of people accused or convicted of serious crimes abroad is also a vital weapon: the reforms contained in the Criminal Justice Bill will, if enacted, enable the United Kingdom to accede to the European convention on extradition, the principal extradition660W arrangement in western Europe. At the level of operational co-operation the United Kingdom police participate in the International Police Organisation (Interpol). In other international organisations such as "Trevi" we continue to play a leading role in strengthening and improving co-operation against terrorism.
For the future, we published on 24 February a discussion paper on international mutual assistance in criminal matters, copies of which are in the Library. The paper is based on the report of an official working group which endorsed proposals for amending the law to enable the United Kingdom to participate in mutual assistance treaties and conventions (including the European convention on mutual assistance). Such participation would allow our prosecuting authorities to obtain evidence from abroad for use in criminal proceedings here, and enable us to provide similar facilities for other countries.
§ 49. Mr. Stevens
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for encouraging new crime prevention schemes.
§ Mr. John Patten
On 7 March my right hon. Friend announced the safer cities programme, under which it is intended to establish 20 crime prevention projects in high crime inner city areas over the next three years. After the necessary local consultation has taken place, a further announcement will be made about the location of the first of these projects.
On 9 March we launched a new crime prevention publicity campaign. A central feature of the campaign is a handbook entitled "Practical Ways to Crack Crime". This offers a wide range of advice and information to individuals and organisations about what they can do to help prevent crime against themselves and their communities, including advice about how to join or start up local crime prevention schemes.
We hope to make a further announcement shortly about the formation of a national organisation to support local crime prevention and initiatives.