Home Office misses targets on crime and reoffending

The Home Office has been accused of “serial failure” after the revelation that it has missed its targets on cutting crime, reducing young people’s drug use and reoffending.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said the department’s annual performance review shows that despite its efforts, reoffending has got worse under the Labour government.

“This amounts to serial failure. The government has totally failed to tackle the scourge of drugs in our society, which has undermined the fight against rising crime,” he said.

However, home secretary John Reid pointed to the fall in the fear of crime, improvements in police performance, a drop in those claiming asylum and an increase in the number of offenders entering drug treatment as key achievements of the past year.

And he stressed that the Home Office – which he dismissed as “not fit for purpose” when he took over in May – was making “significant headway”.

Today’s report shows “slippage” in meeting the target to cut overall crime by 15 per cent – it was only reduced by 12 per cent – although the Home Office is “on course” to meet its goals on cutting crime in the 40 worst areas.

Confidence in the police and the criminal justice system is better than expected, and the number of people brought to justice is also ahead of target, with 1.347 million offences dealt with this year compared to an aim of 1.25 million.

But the Home Office failed to meet its target of cutting the number of reconvictions of young offenders by five per cent, reducing it by only 1.4 per cent, and it has also failed to meet goals on cutting the use of class A drugs by young people.

“Re-offending has actually got worse over the nine years since Labour took office and it is continuing to get worse under this home secretary. He talks tough, but fails to deliver,” Mr Davis said.

“The chronic overcrowding in our prisons means there are not enough places for criminals to serve the sentence they deserve and disrupts any serious attempt to rehabilitate offenders in prison.”

Mr Reid acknowledged there were still areas “where we need to do more”, noting that police must remain vigilant in cutting crime and ensuring their drugs messages reach those most at risk.

“By protecting the law-abiding citizen through an effective justice system we’re strengthening the security of our society,” he said.