My right hon. Friend is still not satisfied that the additional staff and expenditure which would be needed to record this information separately would be justified.
Would my hon. Friend say how and under what circumstances categories in the crime statistics are altered? I am sure that he is aware that many of the crimes listed are ancient. Is not supermarket shoplifting a crime which, in the last 15 years, has grown out of all proportion? Would he agree that if more detailed information could be obtained through separate categorisations, this would possibly help to counter what is becoming a great social problem for many people?
The Perks Committee recommended in 1967 that the whole system of categorising crime should be reviewed. The first priority is the separate categorisation of crimes of violence, and this must take precedence over the information requested by my hon. Friend.
Is the Minister aware of the tremendous increase in supermarket shoplifting and of the enormous number of acquittals, showing that every honest shopper in a supermarket is in grave risk of unjustified prosecution for a moment of inattention or forgetfulness? Does he not therefore think it right to take some steps to protect the honest shopper in these circumstances.
I know the hon. and learned Gentleman has made a particular suggestion about this subject which is being considered by the working party that is examining the question of shoplifting.