§ Vera Baird
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of trends in the grant of bail for those charged with aggravated burglary at domestic premises; and if he will make it his policy to seek a reduction in the grant of bail for such offences; 
(2) what assessment he has made of trends in custodial sentencing for those convicted of aggravated burglary of domestic premises; and what his policy is on custodial sentencing for such offences. 1417W
§ Paul Goggins
[holding answer 6 February 2004]: The available information, relating to the custody rate and average custodial sentence length for persons sentenced for domestic aggravated burglary in England and Wales, 1995 to 2002, is contained in the table. The figures show that both the custody rate and the average sentence length have increased since 1995.
The Government believe that custody should be reserved for dangerous and serious offenders. It is for the courts to impose appropriate sentences in individual cases, taking all circumstances into account.
The Government have always stressed the seriousness of the offence of burglary. The courts have robust sentencing powers in respect of aggravated burglary: the maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment.
Persons sentenced for offences of aggravated burglary1 in a dwelling and those receiving immediate custody, England and Wales, 1995 to 2002 Number of persons sentenced Persons sentenced to immediate Custody (inc. life) Custody rate (percentage) Average custodial sentence length (exc. life) (months) Number of life sentences 1995 229 179 78.2 44.7 1 1996 278 220 79.1 44.3 — 1997 273 232 85.0 46.0 — 1998 224 196 87.5 46.0 1 1999 234 210 89.7 45.5 — 2000 194 179 92.3 48.6 — 2001 221 191 86.4 50.2 3 2002 288 254 88.2 50.1 3 1 Data are on the principal offence basis
Source: Offending and Criminal Justice Group, RDS.
Ref: IOS 72–04 4 February 2004
Of those received into prison under sentence for aggravated burglary in the five years 1998–2002, 82 per cent.-85 per cent. had previously been remanded in custody. These figures do not suggest that courts are unduly ready to grant bail to defendants accused of this offence.
Receptions into prison under an immediate custodial sentence for aggravated burglary: Proportion known to have been previously remanded in custody Percentage 1998 84 1999 83 2000 85 2001 82 2002 82