§ Mr. Callaghan
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he plans to take to curb the increase in crimes of violence and sexual attacks.
§ Mr. Maclean
The Government are committed to tackling all crime, including that part of it—5 per cent. of all recorded crime—which is violent or sexual, across a broad front. With Government support and with the support of the whole community, the police will continue to give a high priority to the prevention and detection of crimes involving sex or violence, where there is already a high clear-up rate, and to encourage victims, not least victims of racial or domestic violence, to report offences.
We will also keep under constant review the penalties available to the courts. For the worst sorts of crime, including homicide, rape, robbery and the most serious wounding, life imprisonment is already available. The Government believe that violent and sexual offending should be severely punished. That is why the Criminal Justice Act 1991 provides courts with powers to impose a longer sentence than would be justified by the seriousness of the offence alone upon a violent or sexual offender if such a sentence is necessary to protect the public from further harm. We will not hesitate to take further measures, if we are convinced that they are necessary.