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Beating Crime Plan

Volume 700: debated on Tuesday 14 September 2021

4. What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on delivery of the Government’s beating crime plan. (903409)

13. What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on delivery of the Government’s beating crime plan. (903419)

I speak regularly with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on the actions our Departments are taking to beat crime. Our joint approach will protect the law-abiding majority, swiftly bring criminals to justice, and ensure that offenders are managed with rigour and discipline. Significant work is already under way to deliver on our beating crime plan, including more joint supervision of offenders by probation and the police, working with other local services.

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for his answer. One of the key focuses in the beating crime plan is tackling violent crime, something I wholeheartedly endorse, but we know that this often follows drug offences. Can I urge him to review drug sentencing, because often the sentences that go with drug offences do not act as the real deterrent we need to make sure we do not end up with narco-neighbourhoods across the country?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who speaks passionately for his community. He knows of course that sentencing guidelines are a matter for the independent Sentencing Council. Indeed, earlier this year it issued revised guidelines for drug offences that reflect many of the issues he raises, including the increased exploitation of children and vulnerable people to facilitate drug offences, changes to drug purity and the types of drugs commonly in circulation. Of course, I will continue to speak with him about these important matters.

As we know, antisocial behaviour blights all our towns and cities, and Wrexham is no exception. I welcome this Government’s strong stance to tackle crime through community sentencing orders. Will my right hon. and learned Friend congratulate Inspector Luke Hughes and the Wrexham town police station on their work, collaboratively with the council and other agencies, to tackle antisocial behaviour as our town has reopened and on championing the sobriety tags?

I am more than happy to join in that praise. My hon. Friend is right to highlight the local work that has been going on in Wrexham and in Wales. As announced in our beating crime plan, we are going to be trialling alcohol monitoring tags with prison leavers in Wales later this year. That I think will provide a clear incentive for offenders to control their drinking and ensure swift consequences if their alcohol-related risk is escalating.

Surely any beating crime plan worth its name should include fraud. Ministers must be aware that a person is more likely to be victim of fraud than of any other crime, yet according to the Home Affairs Committee, a mere 3% of cases reported to Action Fraud even result in a charge or a summons, let alone a conviction. The system is failing and failing badly. When are Ministers going to do something about it?

Well, we are. The announcement of a replacement of the Action Fraud system was made some time ago. That represents just the sharp end of the Government’s response to this growing issue. I can assure the hon. Member that the work that goes on with colleagues in the Home Office on fighting economic crime more generally and fraud is sustained. It involves work with the private sector, particularly the financial services industry, to help to design out fraud. So this is an end-to-end approach, and I can assure her that the work continues apace.