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Metropolitan Police Grants

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial grants have been allocated to the Metropolitan police in each of the last four years. [115551]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Grants to the Metropolitan police in the last four years are given in the table:

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£

1996-971997-981998-991999-2000
Specific grant846,761,947900,344,546931,430,758949,070,118
Capital grant27,749,00024,774,00021,892,00021,892,000
Loan charge grant1,778,5466,049,5915,916,8134,783,118
Revenue support grant436,413,559457,598,818461,893,809461,556,352

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Category A Prisoners

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) male and (b) female category A prisoners were held in prisons in England and Wales on 1 March. [115549]

Mr. Boateng: The latest available provisional information is for 29 February. On that date there were 886 male and three female category A prisoners in prisons in England and Wales.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many animals were killed in experiments at Wickham Research Laboratories, Wickham, Hampshire, in each of the last five years. [115749]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prevents me from disclosing detailed information of this nature about an individual establishment licensed under the Act.

Service Personnel (Absence)

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who has the responsibility when a member of the armed forces goes absent without leave, for ensuring that information relating to the absentee is placed on the Police National Computer. [115559]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information is placed on the Police National Computer by the National Identification Service at New Scotland Yard once they have been notified by the Royal Military Police that a member of the armed forces has gone absent without leave.

Assault

Mr. Rammell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time from arrest to referral to the Crown Prosecution Service in the case of accusations of assault, in each of the last three years. [115598]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not collected centrally.

Prisoner Releases

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will initiate an inquiry into

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the process by which prisoners are released from prison, with specific reference to enabling them to avoid former criminal inmates. [115622]

Mr. Boateng: No. All adult prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or more are released on licence and required to comply with whatever conditions may be contained in the licence. Young offenders (those under 21) are mostly subject to licence, if sentenced to a month or more. A standard licence condition is to be of good behaviour and not to do anything to jeopardise the aims of supervision. A licensee who mixes with criminal elements may be regarded as breaching this condition and recalled to custody. It is the responsibility of the probation service to supervise prisoners released on licence to ensure that the public is protected, further offences are not committed, and that the offender is successfully rehabilitated.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements he is making to ensure that vulnerable female prisoners on release from prison are not met and coerced by former associates. [115609]

Mr. Boateng: If, prior to release, a prisoner of either sex, or prison staff, has or have information to suggest that the prisoner concerned is at risk of being met and coerced by former associates outside prison, this would be a matter for the local police. The prison's police liaison officer would be responsible for passing on the information. In the case of a prisoner who is released on licence, the supervising probation officer would be able to provide advice, support and assistance. The supervising officer may also need to liaise with the police if it is feared that offences may be committed as a result of such associations.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is putting in place to ensure that prisoners on release are given appropriate assistance with transport to their homes. [115612]

Mr. Boateng: Under Standing Order 1l (Discharge of Prisoners), all discharged prisoners are entitled to receive a travel warrant, or payment of fares where a warrant is inappropriate, to their home or destination within the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland. The issue of a travel warrant, or payment of fares, is in addition to the discharge grant which is paid to the majority of released prisoners, to help them meet their immediate needs on release.

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Domestic Violence

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that perpetrators of domestic violence are successfully prosecuted and punished. [115611]

Mr. Boateng: Earlier this month, we launched new Multi-Agency Guidance for Addressing Domestic Violence. This sets out considerations to be borne in mind by agencies across the criminal justice system, and in local authorities and the health service, to ensure that domestic violence is tackled effectively and that appropriate services are provided to its survivors. The guidance also gives good practice examples and advice on partnership working. We shall be supplementing it shortly by specific guidance to the police.

The violence against women initiative within the Crime Reduction Programme invites bids for the funding of projects to address domestic violence, and these will be monitored and evaluated to see what is effective and cost-effective.

Information on all the Government's initiatives to tackle violence is available via our website: http://www.gov.uk/domesticviolence/index/htm.

Prisoners (Visits)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to enable women prisoners to receive visits from relatives who live long distances from their prison. [115610]

Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service places great importance on prisoners maintaining close ties with their families as part of their rehabilitation. Population pressures have resulted in some prisoners being allocated a long distance away from their families, and this has been a particular problem for women prisoners because of the relatively small amount of accommodation for them. The allocation of women prisoners may also be restricted by the need for them to attend specific offender behaviour programmes or if they have been allocated to a mother and baby unit. This is being addressed by the continuing programme to increase the capacity of the female estate, mainly by re-roling male facilities, resulting in a greater spread of female accommodation across the country.

For relatives who live some distance from a particular prison, the Assisted Prison Visits Unit offers financial assistance for those who meet the relevant criteria. The Prison Service is also working to improve the quality of visits, with particular emphasis on ensuring that imprisoned parents have productive visits with their children. An increasing number of establishments are providing creches and play areas, as well as making provision for extended family visits to take place away from the normal visits area.

Police, Probation and Prison Services

Sir Peter Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to involve the Office for National Statistics in the planning, production

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and presentation of statistical information relating to the performance of the police, probation and prison services. [115361]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is represented on a committee established by my Department's Research, Development and Statistics Directorate which is co-ordinating a programme of reviews of the business requirements, scope and production of all regular Home Office Statistical series, including those relating to the performance of police, prison and probation services.

In addition, the ONS is involved in specific discussions on ethnic monitoring statistics for police, prison and probation services and has provided census and mid-year population estimates for a study comparing crime and related figures in two types of areas, namely Basic Command Units within police forces and the areas in which Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships operate.

For the future, the planning, production and presentation of those statistics that come within the scope of National Statistics will be subject to the arrangements described in "Building Trust in Statistics". It is envisaged that this will include the setting up of a new inter- departmental Crime and Justice working group that also involves representation from the ONS.


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