The criteria for bids under the CCTV challenge competition which I announced recently were set out in the bidding guidance issued to all local authorities and police forces on 9 November. Priority will be given to smaller centres of population but bids from large urban areas are not excluded.
I thank the Home Secretary for his reply. I welcome his somewhat uncharacteristic change of mind in finding Home Office funding for such schemes, but why will they run for only a year—given that they are clearly effective—and why should the obtaining of such limited funds as are available be subject to the winning of a competition?
The hon. Lady must not make the mistake of supposing that such schemes can be introduced only as a result of Government funding. They are being instituted all over the country as a result of partnership between the private sector, local authorities and, where appropriate, central Government. Whether or not the hon. Lady's constituency succeeds in the challenge competition, I hope that she will encourage those concerned to do what is necessary to install closed circuit television.
I welcome the advances that have been made in the provision of closed circuit television in urban areas. Will my right hon. and learned Friend also consider making such schemes available to rural towns, where police forces are not currently readily available for deployment? Closed circuit television could have a significant impact on the reduction of crime in such areas.