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Volume 506: debated on Tuesday 2 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to the borough of Sandwell, the effects on that borough of changes to his Department's policies since 1997. (316471)

The Home Office has introduced a range of policies and initiatives since 2000. However, it is not always possible to quantify their effects particularly at constituency level. The available statistical information therefore relates to the Sandwell Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership area.

In terms of police recorded crime in Sandwell, between 2002-03 and 2008-09, total recorded crime fell by 41 per cent. More specifically:

Violence against the person—down 20 per cent.

Sexual offences—down 32 per cent.

Robbery—down 23 per cent.

Burglary—down 52 per cent.

Offences against vehicles—down 54 per cent.

Other theft offences—down 31 per cent.

Criminal damage—down 31 per cent.

Drug offences—up 37 per cent. (there has been increased recording of drug offences which was mainly attributable to the increased use of police powers to issue cannabis warnings).

Data prior to 2002-03 are not directly comparable because of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002.

Sandwell comes within the West Midlands K1 and K2 Basic Command Units, which had 717 police officers as at 30 March 2009. The number of police officers has increased by 32 since 2003. Comparisons with 1997 for West Midlands K1 and K2 BCUs are not available. There were 78 police community support officers as at 30 March 2009 while there were none in existence in 1997.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 saw positive effects with the statutory duty to create a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP). The CDRP has enabled new ways of working in a cross cutting way with the police, council and other key stakeholders to help tackle complex issues.

The Sandwell CDRP is well established and continues with good results in terms of tackling antisocial behaviour (ASB) and reducing crime and disorder.

Before 1997 there were no bespoke powers to tackle antisocial behaviour but there are now a range of powers to deal with this issue. These include antisocial behaviour orders and designated public places orders (DPPO) from the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 and as a result of their good work, Sandwell has been designated as an ASB Pioneer Area. The CDRP has also been instrumental in setting up an ASB Helpline in the borough; to date this has received 31,598 calls.

In 2008, the UK's first 'no rogue trader' zone was set up Sandwell, this is a borough-wide initiative between the police and trading standards to raise awareness of rogue trader tricks and encourage residents to report all suspicious activity.

Through the CDRP an award winning domestic violence partnership (Sandwell Organisation Against Domestic Abuse) was set up in 2006 which had received 12,017 referrals in total up to March 2009.

The Neighbourhood Statistics Service provides a wide range of statistical information at parliamentary constituency level, taken from the 2001 Census and other sources. This service is available on the National Statistics website at: