Asked by the Sun if he would agree that the fact that violent crime, sex offences and drug offences had all risen in the last three months would suggest that Charles Clarke was not the right person to be Home Secretary, the PMOS said he noted that the journalist had conveniently forgotten what else the statistics had shown – that risk of being a victim of crime was the lowest since 1981; that total recorded crime was stable; that burglary was down 4%; that vehicle crime figures were stable; that robbery figures remained well below the numbers they were before we had brought in the Street Crime Initiative in 2001/2. Yes, of course there were areas where more work needed to be done. That was why we were continuing to work with the police. In addition, we recognised that there had been a 21% increase in the number of drug offences. However, that did not mean that drug crime was rising. What it meant was an increase in police activity in this area and more people being charged with drug offences.
Asked if he was implying that the rise in the crime figures meant that the Government’s programme to tackle crime was actually a success, the PMOS said he was not claiming that was necessarily the case with regard to robbery, for example. Clearly this was an issue which had to be addressed. However, it was the case in terms of drugs offences. Obviously we were not being complacent. It went without saying that there was more work to be done. However, it was important for people to present a balanced picture on this issue. Questioned as to whether Charles Clarke was the right person for the job, the PMOS said yes.
In answer to further questions about drug crime, the PMOS reiterated the point that drug crime itself was not rising. What was on the increase, however, was the number of people who were being prosecuted for drug offences. Asked to explain what drug crimes were, the PMOS said that he was referring to operations to target suppliers and those in possession of drugs.
Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news
Original PMOS briefings are © Crown Copyright. Crown Copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland. Click-use licence number C02W0004089. Material is reproduced from the original 10 Downing Street source, but may not be the most up-to-date version of the briefings, which might be revised at the original source. Users should check with the original source in case of revisions. Comments are © Copyright contributors. Everything else is © Copyright Downing Street Says.
Contact Sam Smith.