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Road Traffic Offences

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to allow the police to retain a proportion of fines resulting from offences detected by cameras. [46528]

Mr. Michael: Hypothecating the revenue from fines resulting from road traffic offences detected by cameras would result in expenditure on traffic enforcement being determined by the income generated rather than the relative priority of the activity. We are examining the current funding arrangements for the cameras to see what more might be done.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the approvals process relating to the use of enforcement equipment for prosecutions in the United Kingdom. [46527]

Mr. Michael: Section 20 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides for the admissibility of evidence from prescribed devices for speeding and other road traffic offences. Section 20(4)(a) requires the prescribed device to be of a type approved by the Secretary of State.

The Government have no plans to amend or review the current legislation. The type approval process ensures that devices used to provide evidence for prosecutions in the

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courts are both accurate and reliable. The rigorous testing procedures necessary for the type approval process are kept under review.

Ballot Papers

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will change the ballot paper for local, parliamentary and European elections (a) to give greater prominence to party identification and (b) to ensure that candidates' names are listed in a random manner. [46792]

Mr. George Howarth: The Registration of Political Parties Bill, which is currently before the House, will enable candidates from registered political parties to have their parties' emblems against their names on the ballot paper.

We have no present plans to provide for candidates to be listed in random order on the ballot paper; but this issue will be considered by the Working Party on Electoral Procedures, which I chair. Under the new electoral system to be introduced for European Parliamentary elections, candidates from registered political parties will appear on the ballot paper on a party list in the order determined by the party.

Road Safety

Ms Hewitt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will develop a pilot scheme based on the road safety policing and education techniques used in the state of Victoria, Australia. [46923]

Mr. Michael: The Government have no plans at present to develop such a pilot scheme, but we are committed to promoting road safety in innovative ways and will carefully consider any proposals which are put to us.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to review the rights to compensation of victims where the offence took place before 1 October 1979 and the offender and victim lived together as members of the same family; [46578]

Mr. Michael: Under the tariff-based scheme, effective for all claims received on or after 1 April 1996, 190 claims had been refused by 31 March 1998 by reason of their exclusion from the scope of that scheme under paragraph 7(b). Precise data for the identical exclusion applied in the former scheme based on common law damages are not available. However, I understand from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board that between 1,000 and 2,000 claims in this category would have been refused in the period 1 April 1980 to 31 March 1996. The number of victims who have never made any application in recognition of the exclusion is unquantifiable.

The question of allowing claims arising from intra-family violence before 1 October 1979 has been considered on a number of occasions over the years.

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Change has been rejected on grounds of cost, and because it would represent a departure from the general principle that changes in the law, rules and procedures are not normally made retrospective. We believe those arguments remain compelling, and have no plans to review further this aspect of the compensation scheme.

Cumbria Police

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police constables were employed by the Cumbria Constabulary between 1979 and 1998; and what was the total police strength in each of those years. [46949]

Mr. Michael: The information available is set out in the table. It is not possible to provide information on the number of police constables prior to 1990.

Cumbria constabulary

Year(1)Total constable strengthTotal officer strength
1979n/a1,071
1980n/a1,092
1981n/a1,101
1982n/a1,106
1983n/a1,120
1984n/a1,111
1985n/a1,110
1986n/a1,126
1987n/a1,145
1988n/a1,145
1989n/a1,148
19908601,176
19918711,180
19928911,198
19939041,211
19948791,172
19958651,144
19968601,124
19979021,162
1998(2)9111,164

(1) Figures provided are as at 30 September for each year

(2) Provisional figures for 31 March 1998


Police Grant (Kent)

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account is taken in the allocation of police grant to Kent of its proximity to mainland Europe and of the Channel Tunnel. [46924]

Mr. Michael: None directly. However, police grant is allocated by means of a formula which predicts police authorities' relative need to spend. Formula components are weighted to take account of both resident and daytime population in a force's area. Any increase in Kent's population as a result of its geographical situation would in time be reflected in its police grant allocation.

Kent Police Authority received an increase of 4.4 per cent. in its spending power in 1998-99, significantly above the national average of 3.7 per cent. for police authorities.

Community Policing

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will conduct research into the

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effectiveness of community policing in the United Kingdom relative to such policing in (a) the USA, (b) South Africa, and (c) other EU countries. [47214]

Mr. Michael: We have no current plans for formal research on the effectiveness of community policing in the United Kingdom in comparison with the United States, South Africa or other European Union countries. We do, however, have regular contacts with the police and others covering a wide range of jurisdictions, including those listed.

Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available the number of men prosecuted for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a female; what information is available about the age of the girls involved in these offences; what guidelines have been given to (a) police forces and (b) the Crown Prosecution Service about such prosecutions in relation to offences with girls aged (i) 15, (ii) 14 and (iii) 13 years of age; and if he will make a statement. [46141]

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Mr. Michael: Home Office Court Proceedings information on the number of prosecutions for two offences of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 and unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 from 1986 to 1996 (latest available) is given in the table. No more detail is held about the age of the victim.

No formal guidelines have been given to the police relating to prosecutions in cases of unlawful sexual intercourse. In deciding whether to initiate criminal proceedings and to refer a case to the Crown Prosecution Service, the police will look carefully at the circumstances surrounding each case and will take into account the Code for Crown Prosecutors. However, the police have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to place the welfare of the child as their first priority, and this is detailed in the guidance "Working Together Under The Children Act" which sets out the arrangements for child protection in England and Wales. The Government are consulting on proposals for drawing up revised guidance.

All cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by the police are reviewed and prosecuted where appropriate, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

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Number of males prosecuted for offences of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 13 and a girl aged under 16 by age, England and Wales, 1986-1996

Offence/age group19861987198819891990199119921993199419951996
Unlawful sexual intercourse with girl under 13(3)
10 to under 18 years161327212328131817177
18 to under 21 years131917131823201216115
21 years or over991231211041031027867554928
All ages12815516513814415311197887740
Unlawful sexual intercourse with girl under 16(4)
10 to under 18 years3727333429222019242117
18 to under 21 years7672847763585340473633
21 years or over252260227179198172179128131138114
All ages365359344290290252252187202195164

(3) An offence under s5 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956

(4) An offence under s6 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956


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