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Greater Manchester

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will set out, with statistical information related as directly as possible to Manchester, Gorton constituency, the effects on that constituency of the policies of his Department and its predecessors since 1997. (322138)

The Ministry of Justice's work spans criminal, civil and family justice, democracy, rights and the constitution. Every year around nine million people use our services in 900 locations across the United Kingdom, including 650 courts and tribunals and 139 prisons in England and Wales.

The range of the Department's policies and actions is wide and the statistical information relating to it is not normally collected on a constituency basis. Consequently, some of the information requested in the question cannot be provided in the form requested except at a disproportionate cost.

Although data on sentencing for the period are not available for the constituency of Gorton, they are available for Greater Manchester. This shows a decrease in the total number of offenders sentenced annually from 94,568 in 1997 to 77,729 in 2008, the latest period for which such information is available.

The number of offences brought to justice for the Greater Manchester area increased from 59,224 for the 12 months ending 31 March 2001 (the earliest period since which such data have been compiled) to 71,894 (provisional figures) for the 12 months ending 31 March 2009.

With regard to prosecutions, data are not available for the constituency of Gorton. However, the total number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts in Greater Manchester was 123,806 in 1997 compared to 91,211 in 2008.

The latest data, which cover reoffending in the period 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2009, showed that the 3 month reoffending rate for offenders on the probation caseload in Manchester was 10.37 per cent. After controlling for changes in the characteristics of offenders on the probation caseload, there was a decrease in reoffending of 1.89 per cent. compared to the 2007-08 baseline. Data are not available prior to 2007 on this basis.

The number of persons commencing court order supervision by the Probation Service in Greater Manchester was 8,522 in 1997 and 11,769 in 2008.

93,393 civil non-family proceedings were started in the county courts of Greater Manchester HM Courts Service (HMCS) area in 2008, compared to 137,500 in 1998, the first year for which these figures are available. In respect of family law, there were also 4,766 private law applications and 347 public law applications made in the county or High Courts of this HMCS area in 2008-09, compared to 4,275 and 485 respectively in 2003-04, the first annual period for which these figures are available.

In addition, at a national level:

Local communities are being better engaged in criminal justice—by giving them a say in the types of Community Payback projects offenders carry out and allowing them to see justice being done, for example through the use of high visibility jackets. Offenders have now worked more than fourteen million hours, with an estimated value to the taxpayer of over £80 million.

Major constitutional reforms have been delivered, including devolution, the Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information, Lords Reform, and a new Supreme Court for the UK.