asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on offences of violence against the elderly.
Crimes of violence are particularly abhorrent when they are perpetrated against the most vulnerable members of society. Though recent research has shown that elderly people are the least likely to be the victims of violent crime, attacks on the elderly quite rightly attract special concern and the courts have power to impose appropriately severe sentences in the most serious cases.
May I draw my hon. Friend's attention to the fact that there have been a number of sickening attacks on the elderly in Stockport recently, often in furtherance of theft? Does he agree that such attacks cannot be tolerated and that, in order to deter others, courts should be encouraged to give long sentences of imprisonment to anybody engaging in that kind of crime, whether or not he is a first offender?
The courts have the power to do just that and there is a strong and compelling case for doing so.
Does my hon. Friend accept that a narrow statement on crimes of violence against the elderly is insufficient for the House and that he should be pressing for a full debate on the whole spectrum of law and order, sentencing policy and everything else that goes with it?
My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and I would be only too pleased to participate in such a debate. We have a good story to tell on those matters.