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House of Lords Hansard
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Dangerous People With Severe Personality Disorder
15 January 2001
Volume 620
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asked Her Majesty's Government:What information they have to quantify the proportion of the 2,000 plus "dangerous people with severe personality disorder" identified in the White Paper,

Reforming the Mental Health Act, who have caused "serious physical or psychological harm from which the victim would find it difficult or impossible to recover"; and what proportion of such people (other than those in prison) may be expected to cause such harm in an average year. [HL266]

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The estimates made up to now of the number of dangerous people with severe personality disorder present in the wider population have been based in part on population information derived from the 1998 Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales. The survey information does not make it possible to identify actual DSPD individuals currently in detention or to provide information about the nature of their offending behaviour to date.Based on estimates of reconviction rates (following release or discharge) of sentenced prisoners and hospital patients subject to restriction orders, the Government estimate that if the population currently estimated to be dangerous and severely personality disordered were to re-enter the community only when it is judged safe for them to do so, a reduction of nearly 200 violent or sexual crimes a year could be expected. This does not include offences committed but not detected or cleared up.

It is estimated that approximately 200 of those released or discharged will be reconvicted for a sexual or violent crime in an average year. This represents over 50 per cent of the number of such people released from prison or special hospital in an average year.

The Government recognise that further work is required to refine these estimates and this will be taken forward as part of a wider research strategy during the period of piloting and service development.

Notifiable offences recorded by the police in which handguns were reported to have been used by offence group

England and Wales

Number of offences

Violence against the person

All offences


Attempted murder and other acts (including wounding) endangering life




Other offences excluding criminal damage

Criminal damage


1 year ending March.

There was a change in counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998. Figures before and after that date cannot be directly compared.