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Crime Levels

Volume 655: debated on Monday 25 February 2019

Crimes traditionally measured by the independent crime survey for England and Wales are down by more than a third since 2010. The assessment by the Office for National Statistics is that crime has fallen over recent decades, and overall, levels of crime are currently stable. But we accept that certain crimes, particularly violent crimes, have increased, and we are doing everything possible to address that.

Crime rates are up 13% in North Yorkshire and up in every single category of crime. I met the police this weekend, and our amazing officers are breaking. Cuts have serious consequences. I am dialling 999 for help in York: how will the Minister respond to my call?

I am sure that the hon. Lady will welcome the fact that the Government have provided up to £970 million more for policing in this year, which means more than £11 million for her constabulary. I am sure she will be delighted that that will be spent by the Conservative police and crime commissioner to fund 50 more police officers and 20 more police community support officers.

Does my hon. Friend agree that greater flexibility for local police and crime commissioners will better enable local forces to solve local problems?

Very much so. As my hon. Friend knows, the Government support police and crime commissioners precisely because we believe that, ensconced in their local communities, they can understand the local policing priorities in their areas better than bureaucrats in Whitehall.

19. It is not just crime that troubles communities. Antisocial behaviour is also on the rise and, after nine years of cuts to police officer numbers and council budgets, local authorities and the police say that they do not have the officers, resources or powers to tackle the problem effectively, leaving huge numbers of people in constituencies such as mine to live in misery because of problematic individuals locally. What is the Home Office doing to tackle antisocial behaviour? (909407)

The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the issue of antisocial behaviour. Indeed, we debated it recently, courtesy of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson), who is sitting behind him. During that debate, we discussed the fact that the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 had introduced six powers for not just the police but local authorities and even landlords—and Transport for Greater Manchester, for example—that will help to stop antisocial behaviour. However, we are well aware that such behaviour can be a terrible blight on local communities, and we encourage police, local authorities and other agencies to work together to tackle it.

Order. In my usual spirit of helpfulness, I advise the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan) that if she were to seek to shoehorn her inquiry at Question 18, which will not be reached, into that of which we are treating now, she would be fortunate.

18. Thank you, Mr Speaker—and I apologise for my cold. A business in my constituency was the victim of fraudsters who hacked into Barclays bank’s financial system, stealing £500,000 from its accounts. There seems to be no liability for Barclays to refund my constituent for the loss or for the police to track down the fraudsters, who seem to be Pakistan-based. What are the Government doing to protect local businesses from such fraudsters by making banks responsible, and will the Minister meet me to discuss that case? (909405)

I am extremely concerned to hear that. The Government are investing more than £48 million over the next 18 months to bolster capabilities to tackle economic crime through, for instance, the new National Economic Crime Centre, which will increase the number of financial investigators and improve the regional and local response. However, I know that the Minister for Security and Economic Crime, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wyre and Preston North (Mr Wallace), is keen to meet my hon. Friend to discuss that case with her.

A public health approach to tackling youth violence requires fully funded public services, but in recent years policing, local authorities, schools and youth services have been cut, which has reduced support for local communities. What measures have the Government taken to ensure that new funds are available immediately to support the public health approach that is so desperately needed to tackle the rise in youth violence?

I know that the hon. Lady met my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary recently to discuss issues in her constituency. She will be aware that, as part of our approach to tackling serious violence, we are not only running a programme of actions to tackle it—as set out in the strategy—but investing £22 million in early intervention and an additional £200 million in the youth endowment fund, which I hope will bring about real changes over the next 10 years.

I proffer the same advice to the hon. Member for Havant (Alan Mak) as I extended to his hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed. We might not reach his question. His moment could be now. Does he wish to seize it?

14. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Charities such as Active Communities Network, in my constituency, do excellent work in creating opportunities for young people who might otherwise risk becoming involved in crime. What is the Home Office giving to organisations of that kind? (909401)

I welcome the work of Active Communities Network, and I am delighted that the Home Office has helped to fund it previously to provide diversionary and outreach activities for vulnerable young people in my hon. Friend’s area. As I have said, the introduction of the youth endowment fund means that £200 million will be invested over 10 years to provide—I hope—innovative ways to intervene on young people and divert them from a criminal lifestyle before the gang leaders get to them.