§ Paddy Tipping
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were committed per head of population in the(a) Avon and Somerset, (b) Bedfordshire,(c) Leicestershire, (d) Nottinghamshire and (e) South Yorkshire police force areas in the last five years for which figures are available. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 29 October 2003]: The requested information is given in the table.
Number of crimes recorded by the police per 1,000 population Police force area 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 Avon and somerset 102 99 99 118 117 Bedfordshire 89 96 88 92 108 Leicestershire 101 102 92 94 104 Nottinghamshire 131 133 135 154 159 South Yorkshire 102 101 96 104 120
There was a change of counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which had the effect of increasing the number of crimes counted. Numbers of offences for years before and after this date, and figures calculated from them, are therefore not directly comparable.
The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced across England and Wales in April 2002. Some police forces adopted the Standard prior to this date. Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire police force areas introduced the Standard in April 2002, and Avon and Somerset police introduced the Standard in October 2000. Broadly, the NCRS had the effect of increasing the number of crimes recorded by the police. Therefore, following the introduction of the Standard numbers of recorded crimes and figures derived from them are not comparable with previous years.