§ 24. Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now collect information on prosecutions and convictions in sufficient detail to identify the sex of victims in each police force area in England and Wales.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. John Patten)
We have no present plans to do so. The sex of the victims is already known in homicide cases and sexual offences. Domestic violence is a very wide term which can cover a number of different offences. I can announce today that we are preparing new guidance for the police, for issue in the early summer, in which we shall suggest that all domestic violence cases should be recorded in exactly the same way as all other violent offences. It will also emphasise the need for comprehensive local record-keeping so that every officer who attends a domestic violence incident will have up-to-date information about any previous incidents and can thus accordingly remove the victim to safety and deal suitably with the alleged offender, as I am sure the House would want. A crime is a crime whether it is committed in the home or elsewhere.
§ Mr. Jones
I am grateful for that reply. Unfortunately, the Minister did not quite answer my question, which did not relate to domestic crime. I asked him about violent crime generally. As the fear of crime is greatest among women, should not the figures for crime against women be available both nationally and locally so that there can be a properly targeted response?
§ Mr. Patten
If the hon. Gentleman reads question No. 24 carefully, he will find that I answered it exactly. It is necessary for the police to collect statistics only when it is necessary for the police to collect them. Otherwise I should prefer the police to be out preventing and detecting crime and protecting women.