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Serious Offences (Statistics)

Volume 22: debated on Thursday 22 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those serious offences recorded that have increased over the past five years and those that have decreased in numbers over the same period.

In those offence groups for which figures of recorded offences in 1977 and 1981 are directly comparable, increases were recorded for violence against the person, burglary and robbery, and a decrease was recorded for sexual offences.

My hon. and learned Friend's answer underlines the fact that there has been a decrease in certain categories of crime over the past few years, but does he agree that the best crime deterrent is more policemen on the beat? Is he aware that Londoners welcome the increase of 3,000 policemen in the Metropolitan police force in the past three years? May we have an assurance that that will result in more policemen on the beat in the capital and that that trend will be reflected in other areas?

I know it to be the Commissioner's policy to get more policemen back on the beat. That is the policy of chief constables generally throughout England and Wales. It has the great advantage of being exactly what our constituents want to see.

Do the figures to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred suggest that an increase in pornography brings about a decrease in sexual crime?

If the figures suggest that to the hon. Gentleman, he is in a very suggestible mood this afternoon.