Crime (Greater Manchester)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th June 1989.

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Photo of Mr David Sumberg Mr David Sumberg , Bury South 12:00 am, 15th June 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress his Department is making towards reducing the level of crime in the Greater Manchester area.

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

In the first quarter of 1989, offences recorded by the Greater Manchester police fell by 4·5 per cent. compared with the same period in 1988. The two largest categories—burglary and theft, and handling stolen goods —fell by 14·6 per cent. and 3·1 per cent. respectively.

Photo of Mr David Sumberg Mr David Sumberg , Bury South

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Bury is one of the safest places to live in Greater Manchester, with a fall in recorded crime of 4·5 per cent. compared with last year's figures? Will he join me in saluting that achievement and in thanking the local police, who are obviously part of it, together with all those in the community who are promoting greater involvement—there are now 320 home watch schemes—and the local paper, the Bury Times, which has made the public aware of the greater dangers which face the elderly in particular?

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

I know that Bury, Bolton and several of the old Lancashire towns within the Greater Manchester police area have made great progress and have forged ahead. It is good news that there are now 8,000 home watch schemes in that police area. There must be some connection—a close connection I believe—between all the efforts that my hon. Friend describes and the fall in total recorded crime in the area not just in the first quarter of this year, but with last year's decrease of 8 per cent. compared with 1987.

Photo of Mrs Elizabeth Peacock Mrs Elizabeth Peacock , Batley and Spen

I hope that when looking at the great progress that has been made in the Greater Manchester area my right hon. Friend will not be persuaded to go along the lines recently suggested especially in urging parents not to be responsible for their children's criminal activities. Does he agree that it is absolute nonsense not to hold parents responsible? I hope that my right hon. Friend will make that positive move in the rest of his work.

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. Exchanges earlier this afternoon have shown the wide interest and support for the general principle that my hon. Friend the Minister of State has floated.