It was time to get tough not only on crime and its causes 'but also on the opportunities for crime', he said. The introduction of photos on cheque guarantee cards in Sweden had reduced fraud by 15 per cent, and the 1988 British Crime Survey had shown 90 per cent of credit-card holders supported the idea. 'Plastic fraud' cost pounds 166m in 1991, he said, but 'as usual in Britain, we are blinded to the long-term financial benefits by the costs of initial action'. His call came as the Liberal Democrats drew up examples of action by local councils that had cut crime.
In Tower Hamlets, east London, a free advice and security device service had, in six weeks, cut the number of repeat burglaries on homes hit once from 19 per cent to under 2 per cent, he said. An 'industry watch' scheme in Poole that monitored industrial estates at a cost of pounds 50 a year per company had reduced crime to a fifth of previous levels.
In a letter to Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, Mr Ashdown said 'the great opportunity for real progress in reducing crime is through reducing the opportunities for crime to take place'.Reuse content