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Crime Statistics

Volume 174: debated on Thursday 14 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the level of crime in (a) England and Wales, (b) each member country of the European Community and (c) the United States of America.

According to the recently published 1989 international survey of crime, the overall risk in England and Wales of being a victim of crime is a little below the average for western Europe and much lower for violent crime than in the rest of Europe. The risk is lower than in the United States, Canada and Australia. What matters to our citizens is, quite rightly, crime here.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that those figures show that high crime levels are a worldwide problem, and that we in Britain are tackling them more effectively than other countries? Does he acknowledge, however, that there is no cause for complacency here, particularly in the light of the disturbing and countrywide crime rate figures for the first three months of this year?

Those figures will probably not be published for another two weeks. No other part of Government expenditure has had more money devoted to it than the police, where there has been almost a 60 per cent. rise in expenditure in real terms in the past 10 years. There are 15,000 more men and women working in the police service, and with better equipment than ever before. Happily, the recent international survey to which I referred shows that confidence in the police is higher in this country than in any other western European country.