§ Stephen Hesford
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to reduce vehicle crime. 
§ Ms Blears
In September 1998, the Government announced a target to reduce vehicle crime by 30 per cent. over five years. The Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team (VCRAT) was set up at the same time to develop and oversee the implementation of initiatives to meet this target. They published their strategy on 22 September 1999.
Their main proposals included improved security of new and used cars, improved car park security, better policing and community responses which targeted prolific offenders and crime hotspots, improved vehicle registration procedures, statutory regulation of the motor salvage industry and a publicity campaign to get vehicle crime prevention messages across to the public. Good progress is being made in implementing all these initiatives and some have been developed further. For example, work is in hand to make further improvements to vehicle registration procedures and we are working more closely with some local authorities and voluntary and community groups to get across vehicle crime prevention messages.
The latest published British Crime Survey shows that, from interviews in the year to December 2002, there were an estimated 2,306,000 vehicle crimes (i.e. thefts of or from vehicles or attempts). This is a reduction of 703,000 offences (23 per cent.) against the baseline of the British Crime Survey 2000 (which estimated crime in 1999).