HC Deb 08 January 2001 vol 360 cc416-7W
37. Mr. Healey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the levels of household burglary. [142680]

Mr. Charles Clarke

We are committed to reducing domestic burglary by 25 per cent. by March 2005.

Under the reducing burglary initiative, part of our crime reduction programme, 231 local anti-burglary projects, covering over 1.3 million households, have been approved so far at a total cost of around f21 million. It is expected that the Initiative will soon be funding projects in high crime areas containing a total of over 2 million households and that it will prevent at least 15,000 offences by March 2002 and 25,000 in the longer term. Just as importantly, the lessons that we learn from the Initiative about what works and is most cost-effective in which particular circumstances, will help other crime and disorder partnerships to design their own anti-burglary strategies.

Up to £12 million has also been made available to provide home security improvements for low-income pensioners living in high crime areas in England and Wales.

We are also putting in place a wide variety of other measures to help reduce burglary: driving up the performance of crime and disorder partnerships including through development programmes, the new regional crime reduction directors, toolkits, and the crime reduction website; other parts of the crime reduction programme such as the CCTV and targeted policing initiatives and "Designing out crime" will also have an impact; better ways of dealing with offenders or those at risk of offending, including tougher sentencing for repeat burglars.

We have also launched the property crime reduction action team, which we expect to make a real impact on property crime by bringing together partners in central and local government, police, fire service and key players in the insurance and commercial sectors.

We are taking forward ideas to combat bogus callers through the distraction burglary task force, and two distraction burglary projects have also been funded under the reducing burglary initiative.

All police authorities have been required to set targets for domestic burglary reduction under the best value regime.

And we have also set ambitious targets for tackling drugs misuse, which is strongly connected to property crime, and have launched a number of related initiatives, including new drug treatment and testing orders and arrest referral schemes.