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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the schools in Herefordshire and Worcestershire that have been subject to arson attack since 1997. [126728]

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with (a) Hereford and Worcester fire brigade and (b) West Mercia police force regarding ways to tackle arson attacks on schools in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area. [126729]

The Deputy Prime Minister has not had recent discussions with the Hereford and Worcester fire brigade or the West Mercia police farce on this matter.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is awarding £50,000 this financial year, via the Arson Control Forum, to the West Mercia Local Arson Task Force. The task force includes members from the Hereford and Worcester fire brigade and West Mercia constabulary; its plans for reducing arson in schools this year include holding arson reduction and information sessions for governors and staff of schools perceived to be at highest risk of arson.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the clear up rate of malicious fires was in each police force area, in each year since 1997; [125530](2) what the arson detection rate was in each year since 1997. [125531]

I have been asked to reply.The available information fro m police recorded crime data on detection rates for arson and all recorded crime in England and Wales for the years since 1997 are as follows:

Percentage detection ratesEngland and Wales
ArsonAll recorded crime
1 Calendar year, and years ending March thereafter
2 There was a change in counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which may have affected defection rates.
3 There was a change in the counting rules for detections on 1 April 1999, which will have had an effect on detection rates.
4 Detection rates may have been affected by some police forces adopting the principles of the National Crime Recording Standard in advance of its national implementation on 1 April 2002.