State of the nation: So, Tony, on a scale of one to ten, how does your government rate? Crime: 7/10

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The Independent Online
Targets

1. Break the link between drugs and crime and set a range of targets to reduce abuse.

2. Reduce rising crime by 31 March 2002.

3. Introduce targets for ethnic recruits in police, fire, prison, probation and immigration services.

4. Promote new trust and confidence in the criminal justice system among ethnic minority officers.

5. Reduce the time it takes to deal with suspected criminals.

Verdict

Can the Government can deliver on breaking the link between drugs and crime? Target figures are absent from the report, possibly reflecting the widely held view that the programme is under-resourced and unlikely to meet the deadlines set.

While recorded crimes, particularly car theft and burglaries, have dropped, violence and sex offences continue to go up. The myriad of anti crime initiatives - more CCTV, legislation against "nightmare neighbours", and tough penalties for repeat burglars and rapists - is having a mixed reaction.

The race question is a tough one. There are no quick fixes to winning back confidence among ethnic minorities. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, has grasped the nettle and made a good start.

There is encouraging progress to the pledge to reduce the time from arrest to sentence. Mr Straw has produced a hatful of initiatives, it is time for them to deliver.

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