Crime — 24 May 2000

I beg to move,

That this House regrets that police strength in England and Wales has fallen by more than 2,300 since the Government came to power, that crime is now rising, and that the Government has released early from prison thousands of drug dealers, sex offenders, burglars and violent criminals; notes the criticism of the Government's crime reduction targets, and further that police officers are unable to devote much of their time to fighting crime because of unnecessary bureaucracy; notes with surprise that none of the Government's local child curfews have been issued and that anti-social behaviour orders have been issued at the rate of less than one per week since they became available; further notes that, in contrast to the Government's failure to tackle crime, the Opposition propose to reverse the decline in police numbers that has occurred since the Government came to power, to provide effective and appropriate punishment and rehabilitation for offenders and to put the interests of victims at the heart of the criminal justice system; calls on the Home Secretary to reconsider his proposed changes to Immigration Rule 320(18) that would remove the prohibition on foreign sex offenders and drug traffickers entering the United Kingdom; and calls on the Government to work to restore public confidence in the criminal justice system and the police, to restore police morale, and to implement effective policies to tackle rising crime.

a crisis of no confidence, a crisis of no cash and a crisis of no colleagues

The new century finds the service at its lowest ebb in recent memory.

If that is the opinion of the police, let not the Home Secretary try to take refuge in blaming the previous Government.

the physical presence of the law on our streets--

the police have my wholehearted support and the wholehearted support of this new Government. We will do all that we can to ensure our police service is strong and effective. We will also support you by providing the protection and the resources you require.

new powers to protect children under 10 from being drawn into crime.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"welcomes the fact that recorded crime has fallen by 7 per cent. since March 1997, with domestic burglary down by 20 per cent. and vehicle crime down by 14 per cent.; applauds the Government's investment to boost police recruitment; supports the Government's strategy for tackling crime and the causes of crime through better prevention, improving the performance of crime and disorder partnerships, the police and the criminal justice system, more effective punishment of offenders and securing greater support and protection for victims and witnesses; backs the radical reforms of the youth justice system, including swifter punishment for persistent offenders; and notes that all this is in sharp contrast to the record of the previous administration when crime doubled and the number of offenders convicted fell by a third."

lost the plot on law and order.

I found that while several of my ministerial colleagues and Tory MPs supported the police in public, they were highly critical of them in private.

thrust this Service to the edge of a cliff.

Through new legal powers the police and other agencies are also sending out a clear message to the most persistent young offenders, who previously thought that they were untouchable, that we will target them and take the strongest possible action.

I have already reminded hon. Members of the commitment . . . to provide funding for an additional 5,000 police officers over three years.--[ Official Report , 29 January 1997; Vol. 289, c. 457.]

Changes in the way the Home Office records offences make comparisons with previous years' figures difficult. However, the overall underlying trend is still downwards.

I am absolutely passionate about this . . . You go out and ask old people who face these types of problem and they will say zero tolerance is a good idea. If you refuse to tolerate the small crimes then you can create a different climate within local communities.

a scathing attack on "well heeled" civil liberties lawyers.

I had in mind some of the lawyers and so called legal experts who have been running a campaign against Anti Social Behaviour Orders suggesting ludicrously that they go against the European Convention of Human Rights. I think there is a huge issue of hypocrisy here. They represent the perpetrator of crime and then get into their BMWs and drive off into areas where they are immune from much of the crime.

The projections of police numbers based on forces' estimates for recruitment and wastage now rise as follows: it is projected that, in March 2001, the number will be 126,500 and that, in March 2002, it will be 127,000.--[ Official Report , 22 May 2000; Vol. 350, c. 655.]

Every policy station in the country is facing anger from its community.

had been convicted 55 times in the past two years on charges including theft, taking vehicles, robbery, burglary, handling stolen goods and motoring offences.--[ Official Report, Westminster Hall , 1 February 2000; Vol. 343, c. 139WH.]

The police have our strong support

get more officers back on the beat.

Officers on patrol, especially on foot, provide a sense of security, of help being close at hand.

Our men on the ground are saying that it is getting to the stage that they feel vulnerable and overworked. They do not feel that they can give the public anything like the service they would like and it is in danger of leaving a vacuum on our streets.

is in danger of being overwhelmed with emergency calls amid a staffing crisis and a surge in the number of people dialling 999.

they are coping with a surge in calls.

On one recent shift 20 to 30 calls were being held in a queue.

The problem is caused partly by . . . a rise in the number of calls.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 138, Noes 358.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 134 (+2 tell)085.0%
DUP0 1050.0%
Independent1 0033.3%
Lab317 (+2 tell) 0076.9%
LDem38 0080.9%
PC2 0050.0%
UUP0 3033.3%
Total:358 138078.1%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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