Home Affairs and Inner Cities — 12 Dec 2000

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Address, at the end of the Question to add:

"But humbly regret that the Gracious Speech makes no mention of the decline in police numbers since 1997; note the continuing failure of many of the Government's measures to combat youth crime and that the Government remains committed to the early release from jail of thousands of criminals; deplore the Government's further attempt to restrict the right to trial by jury and its failure to put forward any measures to strengthen the rights of victims of crime, or to make prisons more purposeful, or sentencing more transparent, or to clear up the chaos in the asylum system; and further regret the absence of measures to halt the decline of inner cities and the failure to create a coherent programme of actions since 1997 to address the conditions that give rise to the growth of crime in deprived urban areas, notably poorly-maintained housing, rising homelessness, increasing numbers of empty houses and failing inner city schools, which have combined with the Government's commitment to building on green fields to perpetuate migration from inner cities."

conservatism of the social services departments.

we take full responsibility as Ministers

behind officials' skirts. . .?--[ Official Report , 24 May 1999; Vol. , c. 33.]

It is totally unsatisfactory to leave this to magistrates to decide. Fundamental rights to justice cannot be driven by administrative convenience. If we are to speed up and improve court efficiency, there are better ways to do it.

This would be madness . . . I hope that Parliament will refuse to countenance legislation of this kind.

Surely, cutting down the right to jury trial, making the system less fair, is not only wrong but short-sighted, and likely to prove ineffective.--[ Official Report , 27 February 1997; Vol. 291, c. 433.]

We are opposed to a removal of the right of a jury trial. We do so because it is a fundamental right where people's honesty is at stake.

care is being taken to ensure that the Bill would be European Convention on Human Rights compliant.

we need to confiscate unlawful assets that have built up. This should be the norm, not the exception . . . we will make sure the structures are put in place as soon as possible.

we aim to legislate as soon as Parliamentary time allows to give the police and customs the powers they need to track and then confiscate the assets of drug dealers.

To the communities who are fighting back we say we are on your side. To those causing misery--the dealers, the traffickers, the money launderers, we are on your case.

the people's priorities are our priorities.

As early as summer next year, Britons will be able to enjoy the same liberal drinking laws as the rest of Europe, where people spill out of restaurants, cinemas and theatres to drink in cafes and bars until the early hours of the morning.

there is a strong case for making causing death by dangerous driving the motoring equivalent of manslaughter, which has a life sentence. Parliament and the public are entitled to expect the courts to impose long and heavy sentences in serious cases.

since 1997 there has been sustained under-investment in the police, resulting in thousands of fewer police officers, heavier workloads and rising crime.

The situation is urgent. The police service is moving towards the edge of a crisis.

We want to see more police on the beat . . . ?

Our priority is more police officers on the beat . . . ?

The number of people leaving a profession may be taken as an indicator of morale.--[ Official Report , 11 December 2000; Vol. 359, c. 65W.]

The asylum system is under severe strain.

not deter genuine asylum seekers . . . but it would deter economic migrants.--[ Official Report , 27 July 1998; Vol. 317, c. 44.]

the system must be speeded up.--[ Official Report , 27 July 1998; Vol. 317, c. 44.]

We want to send a clear message to violent criminals that they can expect the stiffest penalties if they commit robberies or other street crimes.--[ Official Report , 23 June 2000; Vol. 352, c. 560.]

there is a sense of disorder, and anarchy in many inner city areas. Most people would avoid these hot spots altogether, as there are no police officers to turn to.

the Survey undoubtedly provides the best indicator that levels of crime are showing a reduction.

The latest British Crime Survey is excellent news.

The idea that the police should raid every home in the land looking for dope smokers is transparently absurd. Personal use has effectively been decriminalised. A vast clampdown is unrealistic.

We might wish to spend in a different way. Sorry, I am just not going to say Yes or No to that. I think that is not a valid question at this stage.

Not a valid question? What an extraordinary state of affairs. It is apparently valid for her to assert that police numbers would rise if she took office, but invalid for anyone to ask her how she would pay for that. It is valid for her to trumpet her ends, yet invalid for her to be asked to explain the means.

tied their hands with red tape

political correctness.--[ Official Report , 6 December 2000; Vol. 359, c. 19.]

Reduction in crime, particularly in youth crime, and in the fear of crime, and the maintenance of public safety and good order.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in each police force and in total at the end of September; and what was the total in March 1997.

Information about the number of police officers at the end of September 2000 is being prepared and will be published shortly in a Home Office Statistical Bulletin.--[ Official Report , 11 December 2000; Vol. 359, c. 61W.]

what proportion and total amount of (a) total Government spending and (b) gross domestic product was spent on policing in each of the last five years.--[ Official Report , 11 December 2000; Vol. 359, c. 60W.]

I personally find it monstrous that people with convictions for burglary in dwelling houses are being allowed to run businesses and work for such companies whilst having strings of convictions for the offence for which they are purporting to protect the public.

You may share my concern and dismay when I tell you that . . . the person who formed the company is a man with many previous convictions and is currently on bail as well as being a disqualified driver. Working with him in his security business is a man who has 23 pages of convictions on the Police National Computer . . . most of these convictions involve burglary and theft in domestic property. He has only recently been released from prison and he too is a disqualified driver.

The Queen's Speech said that the Government would combat crime and anti-social behaviour, and promised curfew orders.--[ Official Report , 6 December 2000; Vol. 359, c. 19.]

The Home office has recently forwarded long awaited guidance on the protocols and procedures

concerned about the degree of evidence required when preparing an application and the fact that in many respects, the substantive offences of public order and criminal damage for example, may have been more straight forward to evidence.

look forward to receiving further legal advice once the outcome of

court cases are known particularly about the degree of evidence required in practice.

The Home Office has ordered police forces to compile regular crime updates for people living in rural areas.

As you will be aware, I announced on 9th June that we--

would develop detailed proposals for a new criminal offence.

We are keen to make progress.

It is with some trepidation that I find myself on my feet at this early stage.

take my courage in both hands and rely on . . . traditional tolerance.--[ Official Report , 4 May 1966; Vol. 727, c. 1686-7.]

It is true to say over the past few months the levels of policing in the Ruscote area have not been as we would have all liked, but this was due to a number of abstractions from the team that deals with that area. I can assure you that this situation will be resolved as I have made changes to the shift patterns of the officers who patrol Ruscote area and as of January far greater police presence will be visible.

I am writing . . . to tell you that, from the latest examination of our recruitment and retention figures, it is clear that the situation is getting significantly worse. We have already lost 90 officers so far this year from April-October through transfer or resignation, whilst normally we would expect to lose no more than 40 in a full year. Recruiting too has become far more difficult.

Currently, the vacancies are being held at the centre . . . but it is only a short time before these vacancies will be felt on police areas--especially those in the south east of the force where I have most difficulty with retention.

There are many more applications

in the pipeline and there is no doubt that we are seeing the start of a significant exodus of officers from this force due to high housing costs . . . These trends are also accompanied by the fact that we are finding it more and more difficult to recruit replacements.

Thin blue line gets thinner.

What was a very thin blue line on the streets is now not even thin, it's dotted. This is a crisis--we will lose more officers this year than we will take on.

We have lost more than double what we would normally experience.

We've not got the officers to enforce the current laws of the land at the moment, without imposing new ones.

We are also dependent on the co-operation from the Courts in order to consider Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and in the Banbury area we have been advised that such co-operation will not be forthcoming.

The fact that these debates have taken place will assist us in ensuring that the guidance offered to the courts on the use of anti-social behaviour orders is precise.--[ Official Report , 23 June 1998; Vol. 314, c. 871.]

A Bill will be drafted to provide for safer travel on the railways, in the air, at sea and on the roads.

I record for the benefit of Government Front Benchers that the air accidents investigation branch is in Farnborough in my constituency. It is respected throughout the world for its professionalism and technical expertise. I do not wish the Government to take any measure that would impair the working of that organisation. Please leave it alone; leave it to be independent.

I have never witnessed such numbers, and I believe it is indicative of the strength of feeling that exists within the rank and file members.

I sincerely hope that it has not been lost on the ACPO team who were at the meeting how angry, annoyed and frustrated our officers feel about shortages of staff, pay and conditions of service within this Force.

we know that the evidence demonstrates that marriage does work in creating a stable, coherent framework in which children can be brought up and acquire the values that are the bedrock of a stable society.

Home Office statistics for 1998 show 21 per cent. of all crime was committed by children under the age of sixteen. The significance of this lies less in the fact that they are responsible for up to 5 million

burglaries a year . . . than in the fact that 90 per cent. of juvenile offenders under sixteen come from broken families, and more than half have been excluded from school.

to combat all aspects of crime to protect all members of our society

The existing residential leasehold system is fundamentally flawed. It has its roots in the feudal system and gives great powers and privileges to landowners. Despite a series of reforms over the last thirty or so years, abuses continue to flourish causing misery and distress to leaseholders.

From a 1992 estimate, there are approximately three quarters of a million long-leasehold flats in England and Wales. Leasehold is the system of tenure whereby the leaseholder buys a lease, often at the market price for freehold flats, for an extended period but does not gain the advantages of owning his property outright.

cities have the brightest lights and darkest corners feeding the hopes and fuelling the fears of millions--

There is no North-South divide on unemployment.

Poverty and lack of opportunity cause crime. But crime and disorder . . . reduce opportunity even further.

this White Paper falls short of what is going to be required to engender a real urban renaissance.

too many Government initiatives causing confusion and not enough co-ordination

joined up Government for the socially excluded is a reality in every part of the country.

there is a risk of having far too many central projects and too many . . . programmes

this Government's top priority is to tackle the root causes of poverty, homelessness and social exclusion.

The principle reason, without any doubt, is the damage that was done at the decision of the last government to take housing allowance away from new recruits.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question, to add:

Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 33 (Calling of amendments at end of debate), That the amendment be made:--

The House proceeded to a Division.

The House having divided: Ayes 169, Noes 329.

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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 136 (+2 tell)086.3%
Lab323 (+2 tell) 0078.1%
LDem0 33070.2%
PC3 0075.0%
SNP2 0033.3%
Total:328 169079.1%

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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