The Government have committed to making consistent monthly local information on crime available throughout the country. My starting point is that the information should be available at ward level and more locally where possible, subject to constraints around data availability. The Home Office is working with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities and other stakeholders to identify how that can be achieved.
I thank my hon. Friend for that response. Does he agree that if crime statistics were more widely used and available at neighbourhood level it would help us to address the fear of crime in constituencies such as mine? In Durham, overall crime rates are low and falling, but the public are not necessary fully aware of that.
I agree totally with my hon. Friend. That is one of the reasons why the Home Secretary announced that by July 2008 we want local crime statistics to be available to local areas—at ward level, if possible—so that local people can make sense of what is happening in their areas with respect to acquisitive and violent crime. When people see those matters locally, the figures obviously become much more real to them than the national statistics. As my hon. Friend says, if people see the local figures, public confidence will rise and people will know more properly what is going on with policing in their area.