§ Sir Brian Mawhinney
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) who determines the level of accommodation and support afforced to victims of crime who are being offered official protection; and on what guidance he relies for that determination; 
(2) how many witnesses to crime, receiving official protection, were housed in local authority accommodation in each of the past five years; and how many are currently in such accommodation; 
(3) how much was spent on official protection of victims of crime in each of the past five financial years; and what is the budget for (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99 and (c) 1999–2000; 
(4) how much was spent on official protection of witnesses to crime in each of the past five financial years; and what is the budget for (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99 and (c) 1999–2000; 
(5) how many (a) witnesses to crimes and (b) victims of crimes were offered official protection in each of the past five years; 
(6) who determines the level of accommodation and support afforded to witnesses to crime who are being offered official protection; and on what guidance they rely for that determination; 
(7) how many victims of crime, receiving official protection, were housed in local authority accommodation in each of the past five years; and how many are currently in such accommodation. 
§ Mr. Michael
Measures to help protect witnesses who are likely to suffer from intimidation are currently being considered by the inter-departmental review of vulnerable or intimidated witnesses which was announced by my right hon. Friend on 13 June 1997. I understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers is also looking at this issue with a view to developing national guidelines.568W
Until now, information on the protection of (a) witnesses to crime and (b) victims of crime has not been collected centrally. The allocation of resources, including the provision of accommodation, is a matter for chief officers of police and local housing authorities. There is no national scheme for the protection of witnesses in this country so whether to offer protection in any particular instance is a decision for the chief officer of the force concerned.
In the 1994 British Crime Survey (BCS), victims and witnesses of crime were asked whether they had suffered any harassment or intimidation as a result, and whether they had reported this to the police. Although we cannot tell how many people were offered assistance or protection as a result, the figures give a maximum estimate for the number of crime incidents in which victims may require protection. The 1994 BCS estimated that a minimum of 6 per cent. of all crime incidents in 1993 led to intimidation of the victim (about one million incidents). The victim reported this intimidation to the police in 23 per cent. of such incidents. Therefore, a rough estimate of the number of such incidents reported to the police in 1993 was 250,000. However, only a small proportion of intimidated witnesses and victims would be suitable and willing for high level protection schemes which are expensive and require major life changes such as moving home and severing connections with the past.
Of respondents to the 1994 BCS, 27 per cent. had witnessed at least one of four crimes (vandalism, burglary, car crime or assault) in the last five years. Intimidation of witnesses was rare. Of those who witnessed any of the four crimes, only 4 per cent. experienced intimidation. Witnesses reported intimidation to the police in 39 per cent. of cases. It is not possible to derive a number of incidents.