Crime and Disorder Strategies

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th April 1999.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East 12:00 am, 26th April 1999

If he will make a statement on progress in establishing local crime and disorder strategies. [80964]

Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office)

I refer my hon. Friend to my response to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble). I would add that consultation with local communities about the crime and disorder strategies has led to the empowerment of entire communities in the fight against crime. It is about partnership and making a concerted effort to tackle local crime and disorder problems, and it is working.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East

I thank my hon. Friend for that response. Does he agree that the real strengths of crime and disorder strategies are simplicity and partnership, and that had the Tories spent rather more time concentrating on partnership instead of demonising local government during their 18 years in power, our communities might be far safer?

Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office)

My hon. Friend makes his point in his usual forceful and trenchant way. I agree with him and congratulate him, his local authority and, importantly, the health authority in Harrow which is working alongside the voluntary and statutory sectors, recognising the importance of partnership in preventing and reducing crime. The role of the health authority is particularly important and it has been helped enormously by the efforts of my hon. Friend.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham

Notwithstanding the characteristically sycophantic gloss put on public policy by the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty), how does the Minister expect local police forces to implement crime and disorder strategies to the maximum effect, given that their funding will increase by only 0.1, 0.3 and 1.4 per cent. respectively over the next three years?

Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office)

The hon. Gentleman, who is an assiduous attender in the House and contributor to our discussions, will no doubt soon earn himself, by his abject sycophancy, a place on the Opposition Front Bench. We look forward to that day. In the meantime, we shall continue to spend an extra £1.24 billion on the police, money that the Opposition never had in their Budget and are now not willing to match.