§ Mr. Charles Clarke
The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of responsibilities is set out in Home Office Annual Reports. A copy of the most recent report, Home Office Annual Report 1999–2000, is available in the Library. Information on recorded crime and policing is also published. 'Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000' and 'Police Service Strength England and Wales, 30 September 2000' can be found in the Library. The recorded crime statistics include information on recorded crime by Basic Command Unit and Crime and Disorder partnerships.
The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects, such as recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested although set out are examples relating to the Stroud constituency or the immediate locality:126W
Two Intervention Schemes and two Bail Supervision Schemes are being funded by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in Gloucestershire that includes coverage of Stroud.
- (a) Gloucestershire Mentoring Scheme.
- This is a mentoring project which is targeting 14–16 year olds causing concern to partner agencies by way of offending behaviour and disaffection with the education system. The objectives include supporting and re-focusing the young people through the provision of adult mentors and to re-engage these young people in education and training through intervention.
- The YJB contribution is approximately £76,000 (September 1999 to March 2002).
(b) Developing Skills Accredited Community Service (Education, Training and Employment)
- This project provides support to parents of young people who are offending so that they may help their child reduce offending.
- The YJB contribution is approximately £357,000 (September 1999 to March 2002).
Two Bail Support Schemes
- >(a) South Gloucestershire Bail Supervision and Support Scheme
- The main objectives of the project are to reduce the incidence of custodial/secure remands and/or to reduce to a minimum the length of time young people spend on such remands.
- The YJB contribution is approximately £59,000 (April 1999 to March 2002).
(b) Gloucestershire Secure in the Community Scheme
- This project aims to identify young people who meet the criteria for remand to secure accommodation. Then to provide robust and acceptable alternatives to Magistrates that will ensure that these young people remain in the community in appropriately supervised accommodation.
- The YJB contribution is approximately £123,000 (April 1999 to March 2002).
Youth Offending Teams (YOT)
- In conjunction with Police and Courts, Gloucestershire YOT, which includes Stroud, is reducing the time from arrest to sentence for all Persistent Young Offenders.
- Having now established the interagency YOT model, developments in 2000 have established the beginnings of a working model between the YOT and local District Crime and Disorder strategies. Using the Data Protection legislation, information is shared on Young Offenders and local Peer Group with a view to jointly reduce local crime and target key indicators to prevent the development of criminal behaviour in younger children subject to delinquent influences.
- The application of the Final Warning Scheme is demonstrating a 10 per cent. reduction so far in the number of repeat offences by young people. This compares with the previous application of re-offending when looking at the use of Cautions in 1998–9.
- With the application of Reparation Orders and Action Plan Orders, written evidence from victims and local commercial sector indicates improved satisfaction.
- The re-organisation of the local Attendance Centre by the YOT has reduced re-offending rates from 73 per cent. in 1999 to 51 per cent. by November 2000.
- Gloucestershire YOT is assisting local police in the preparation, and in some cases the prevention, of Anti Social Behaviour Orders. This is achieved by closer liaison and examination of public complaints into anti-social behaviour by young people. A joint plan of prevention and enforcement is then initiated, which via the police is fed back to the general public.
- Gloucestershire YOT has commissioned the support of Parent Line Plus to provide training for the parents of teenage offenders. We are targeting up to 100 parents. There is growing evidence of satisfaction both by the courts and parents as a result of this initiative.
More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Stroud to a greater or lesser extent. For example:376 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships have been established;racial harassment and racially motivated crimes have been made criminal offences by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998;the asylum backlog has been cut from 103,495 at the end of January 2000 to 66,195 by the end of December 2000;good progress is being made in reducing the incidence of fire deaths in England and Wales. They have dropped from 605 in 1997 to 534 in 1999.
Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website. (www.homeoffice.gov.uk).