HC Deb 29 April 2002 vol 384 cc610-1W
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the conviction rate was for car crime offences in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [48299]

Mr. Denham

The information requested, from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database, and relating to England and Wales, is shown in the table.

Conviction rate1 for persons proceeded against for certain motor vehicle offences2, England and Wales, 1991 to 2000
Conviction rate
1991 68.9
1992 61.7
1993 59.1
1994 59.1
1995 59.7
1996 60.4
1997 61.7
1998 63.0
1999 63.2
2000 62.0
1 Number of defendants convicted at all courts as a percentage of those proceeded against in magistrates courts.
2 Theft of motor vehicle, unauthorized taking of motor vehicle (including being carried knowing vehicle to have been taken or driven away), aggravated vehicle taking and theft from motor vehicle.

Information on court proceedings for 2001 will be available in the autumn.

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what action he is taking to increase prosecutions of those committing car crime; and if he will make a statement; [48298]

(2) what action he is taking to reduce car crime; and if he will make a statement. [48297]

Mr. Denham

The Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team (VCRAT) was set up in September 1998 to develop and oversee the implementation of initiatives to meet the Government's target to reduce vehicle crime by 30 per cent. over five years from 1998–99. They published their strategy for achieving the target on 22 September 1999.

The main lines of action in the VCRAT strategy include improved security on new and used cars; improved car park security; better policing and community responses which target prolific offenders and crime hotspots; and new procedures for the detection of stolen cars at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 took forward VCRAT recommendations for regulation of the motor salvage industry and controls on the supply of vehicle number plates, and we expect to implement these provisions between July 2002 and April 2003.

We expect these and other initiatives—such as the introduction of best value targets for forces in England and Wales; the introduction of a vehicle crime toolkit to enable forces to exchange good practice and the provision of better information to the police at the roadside—to impact on the number of apprehensions leading to an increase in the number of prosecutions for car crimes. The latest published figures show that recorded vehicle crime reduced by 10.1 per cent. in 2000–01 compared with 1998–99.

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