HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 cc127-9W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Warrington, North constituency, the effects on Warrington, North of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [152319]

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 Warrington, North constituency or the immediate locality:

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) One scheme, "Warrington Action Toward Community Harmony", was awarded approximately £32,000 under the first round of the CCTV Initiative, for a mobile scheme covering areas of Warrington, North and Warrington, South. The system is a mobile unmarked vehicle that will be used to address a variety of problems, including; car park or neighbourhood hotspots for car crime, for use in surveillance operations where there is suspected drug dealing and to record incidents of anti-social behaviour.

There is one Intervention Scheme and one Bail Supervision Scheme being funded by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) within the Warrington area.

Intervention schemes (a) Facing Up (Restorative Justice Project) The project will use three different but interlinked approaches to reducing offending:

  1. 1. Enabling young offenders to face up to the consequences of their behaviour by making amends to their victims
  2. 2. Involving young peoples' supporters in making plans to reduce their offending behaviour
  3. 3. Providing additional support and supervision to the most vulnerable young offenders
The YJB contribution in is approximately £203,000 (September 1999 to March 2002).

Bail Support Scheme The bail placement support project provides accommodation, care, support and guidance to young people who have been remanded by the courts in connection with criminal offences. The projects main objective is to reduce the incidence of custodial remands for 10 to 17-year-olds. The YJB contribution is approximately £110,000 (April 1999 to March 2002).

Youth Offending Teams (YOT)

The following in formation is taken from Halton and Warrington's Youth Offending Team Youth Justice Plan for April 2001–02. The YOT is now fully staffed, including representatives from Education, Health, Police, Probation and Social Services. Priority developments include Connexions, Teenage conception and health issues, substance misuse, youth nuisance and fear of crime. The time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders in the Warrington Youth Court averages 89 days. In Halton, the average is 127 days. The YOT manager is represented on the Cheshire Youth Justice working group which is especially addressing this issue, and YOT pre-sentence reports for persistent young offenders are prepared within 10 days in order to speed up the process. A survey conducted in both Halton and Warrington courts sought views on the quality of pre-sentence reports being submitted. In all cases, magistrates stated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of the reports. In all but two of the reports, they were described as clear and concise in all aspects, with risk assessments and victim impact particularly well covered. Early results from the ASSET assessment process show improved scores in relation to education, cognitive skills, attitudes and motivation.

More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Warrington, North 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.

Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website. (www.homeoffice.gov.uk).