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Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what occasions courts have departed from the sentencing guidelines in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) court and (b) reason for departure. (233960)

The Sentencing Guidelines Council is responsible for framing and revising sentencing and allocation guidelines. The number of departures from guidelines and the reasons for those departures are not recorded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) representations he has received and (b) discussions he has had with the police on sentencing policy since May 2008; and if he will make a statement. (233961)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Straw) and departmental Ministers regularly meet with the police to discuss a wide range of criminal justice issues.

In October the Secretary of State replied to a letter from the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police about knife crime and the courts.