§ Mr. Callaghan
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proposals he has to reduce the level of crime committed by those of school age in the north-west region;
(2) what action he proposes to take to combat crime in the north-west region of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Jack
The Government have encouraged the police and other agencies in the development of effective crime prevention programmes and have funded a number of 221W initiatives aimed at tackling crime, including youth crime. The Home Office safer cities projects in the north-west—Rochdale, Salford and Wirral—are major crime prevention initiatives which include schemes aimed at diverting the young away from crime. We have also established local drugs prevention teams in Manchester, Salford and the Wirral with the aim of tackling the spread of misuse, particularly amongst the young. In addition the probation service grant scheme provides funding for eight projects in the north-west region, which in the main provide programmes of supervision or support for young offenders and defendants. There are also over 16,000 neighbourhood watch schemes in the region covering almost 500,000 households.
The Department for Education announced recently that Lancashire and Manchester are each to receive £147,000 under its grants for education support and training (GEST) programme for youth crime prevention schemes in 1993–94. School community action teams are also in operation in secondary schools in Lancashire carrying out a range of crime prevention activity. Diversionary projects for young people and other schemes to reduce crime and the fear of crime, including property security measures, will be financed under the Department of the Environment's city challenge programme in Wirral, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackburn, Wigan, Sefton and Bolton.
Under its estate action programme Lancashire will receive £7.9 million, Greater Manchester £29 million and Merseyside £36.8 million in 1992–93 for improvements to run down council estates. These improvements will, among other things, led to reduction in crime and vandalism.
As part of its programme of action on youth crime for 1993, the Government-supported independent organisation Crime Concern is planning a series of regional seminars, one of which is to be held in the north-west, on best practice in diverting young people away from crime. The Government recently announced plans to introduce a new sentence of detention to secure facilities for 12 to 15-year-old boys and girls who persistently re-offend and for whom supervision in the community has been ineffective.