§ Mr. Patnick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to assess whether violent criminals receive prison sentences which are both exemplary and a deterrent to others; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Patten
Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the courts. The Home Department collects sentencing statistics and keeps in touch with trends so that, for example we can recommend to Parliament an increase in maximum penalties which are too low for deterrence.802W
There have been significant increases in Crown court sentences for serious offences of violence in the past three years. For armed robbery, the average sentence imposed on men aged 21 or over (this being the average generally quoted for purposes of comparison) is now seven years.