Police to target repeated crimes: High-profile operations planned

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THE POLICE are expected to target specific crimes, such as domestic violence, burglary of small businesses and schools, and racial attacks, in a series of high-profile operations, the Home Secretary disclosed yesterday.

A higher priority is to be given to cracking down on offences that are repeated against the same victim, following discussions between the Home Office and chief police officers.

At the Association of Chief Police Officers' summer conference, Michael Howard called for an expansion of existing operations, such as Operation Bumblebee in London, that have seen a significant decline in house burglaries.

Meanwhile, it became apparent yesterday that the Government's criminal justice Bill will almost certainly be delayed until October following two humilating defeats in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

Mr Howard also came under pressure at the conference in Bournemouth as he was forced to defend the Home Office review of the police, which was attacked by senior officers who believe that it will lead to services being farmed out to the private sector and lowering of standards.

Speaking about the initiative on repeat victimisation, Mr Howard, said: 'Targeting offenders can be a cost effective way of making a real impact on crimes such as domestic burglary.' An illustration, he said, was burglaries on the Kirkholt estate in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, which dropped by more than 70 per cent following a police crackdown. The police and Home Office also plan to target repeat offences, including car theft, crime on industrial estates and bullying at school.

It was also revealed at the conference that the legislation aimed at clamping down on juvenile offenders, squatters, rave parties, bail bandits and New Age travellers will not be introduced before Parliament rises for the summer.

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill was expected to get Royal Assent this month before the Commons recess.

But the Bill suffered a setback last night when peers voted in favour of two new modifications involving the new secure training centres or 'child jails' for persistent 12- to 14-year-old offenders.

Following the latest blow to the Bill, Mr Howard said yesterday that there had 'never been that absolute requirement' for it to be given the Royal Assent before the summer. The Bill is now likely to complete its formal passage through Parliament in the 'spill-over period' after the Commons has risen - probably in October.