Voluntary Organisations

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th March 1999.

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Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Labour, Normanton 12:00 am, 15th March 1999

What assessment he has made of the role of voluntary organisations in combating crime and disorder; and if he will make a statement. [74584]

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

Voluntary organisations have an important role in preventing and reducing crime. That is why the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires a wide range of voluntary bodies to be invited to participate in the work of the crime and disorder reduction partnerships.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Labour, Normanton

I thank my hon. Friend for that response. I raise the issue because of the previous Government's lack of initiative in helping voluntary organisations to combat crime and disorder. Does she accept that there are many groups in my constituency, including town, parish and community councils, the Churches, neighbourhood watch and Victim Support, that are keen to combat crime and disorder in the community? My concerns are heightened by the fact that the elderly and disabled are the most vulnerable people. Will she consider helping voluntary organisations in their campaign to combat crime and disorder, and explain the way forward in that respect?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. The whole aim of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and particularly of local crime reduction strategies, is to give local communities and voluntary organisations an important role in deciding how to tackle local problems. Voluntary organisations can bring a different perspective to tackling crime and disorder. It is crucial that they are given such a role, which is why it is now statutory under the Crime and Disorder Act. We shall continue to work closely with the voluntary sector to ensure that that happens. The sort of initiatives that are happening in my hon. Friend's constituency will happen throughout the country and be supported by the Government.