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Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he plans to meet urgent expenditure relating to the new National Probation Service for England and Wales prior to the enactment of the Criminal Justice and Court Service Bill. 
20 Jul 2000 : Column: 322W
Mr. Boateng: Parliamentary approval for expenditure on the new National Probation Service for England and Wales will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Home Office Vote (Class IV Vote 1). Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £670,000 will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund. This expenditure is required to ensure that the National Probation Service would be able to come into effect on 1 April 2001, subject to the successful passage of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill.
Reform of the Probation Service is key to the Government's crime reduction and effective punishment strategy. Current plans envisage a vesting date of 1 April 2001 for the new National Probation Service. This date is key for delivering operational effectiveness gains, which would otherwise be lost or significantly delayed. Two critical ingredients of reform are changes in governance and leadership of the new service and it is in these areas that urgent expenditure would be incurred. The critical path for achieving the target date is dependent upon starting the process of selection to the 42 new probation boards, and the recruitment of chief officers for the eight amalgamated services, by July.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employees of his Department and its agencies have been recruited from the New Deal; and what percentage of total staff this represents. 
Mr. Straw: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) on 22 July 1999, Official Report, column 618W, and also the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Marjorie Mowlam) to my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Rooney) on 6 July 2000, Official Report, column 286W.
Since my reply of 22 July 1999 the number of people recruited to the Home Office and its agencies under New Deal has increased to 25. This represents 0.71 per cent. of the total number of administrative assistants and equivalent grades (the grade at which New Dealers are engaged) in the Home Office.
In addition, a further 39 people on New Deal have secured employment with the Prison Service through normal recruitment channels. This brings the percentage up to 1.83 per cent. of the total number of staff in the grade.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of serving police constables in the Suffolk Constabulary in (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000. 
20 Jul 2000 : Column: 323W
|Financial year (as at 31 March)||Number of constables(1)|
|1996-97: at 31 March 1997||932|
|1997-98: at 31 March 1998||927|
|1998-99: at 31 March 2000||935|
|1999-2000: at 13 March 2000||890|
(1) Full-time equivalents
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been prosecuted under section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for being drunk in charge of a bicycle. 
|Year||Number of defendants prosecuted|
(1) 1999 data are provisional
Mr. Charles Clarke: Cycling on the pavement was made a fixed penalty offence on 1 August 1999. The fixed penalty is not an on-the-spot fine: payment is not required on-the-spot and the person receiving it can challenge its issue in court. In the period August to December 1999, 39 police forces in England and Wales issued 570 fixed penalty notices for the offence of cycling on the pavement; figures for the other four are not available.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2000, Official Report, column 166W, ref. 128237, how many asylum seekers were supported in 1999-2000. 
Mrs. Roche: In 1999-2000, asylum seekers were supported by either the Department of Social Security or local authorities. The available information shows that in the final quarter of 1999-2000, there were estimated to be 49,660 asylum seeker principal applicants being supported by the Department of Social Security each month. In the week ending 31 March 2000, 35,815 asylum seeker principal applicants were being supported by local authorities in London.
20 Jul 2000 : Column: 324W
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2000, Official Report, column 166W, on asylum seekers, for what reason information on average decision times was not available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: Average times for initial decisions were calculated until the end of 1999. In December 1999 the average time taken to reach initial decisions was 13 months. The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) are setting in place new systems, which will enable average decision times to be calculated and to report the percentage of applications receiving an initial decision within two months.
Details of the time to final resolution, as previously requested, are not available as there is no source from which to obtain this information. IND and the Lord Chancellor's Department are working together to enable such information to be available in future.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff have been allocated to the performance monitoring inspections team for asylum seeker accommodation providers; how many of these staff will be engaged on personally inspecting accommodation and support arrangements; and what targets have been set for the proportion of asylum seeker accommodation to be inspected by the performance monitoring inspections team. 
Mrs. Roche: It is currently anticipated that the performance monitoring section of the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) will comprise of around 83 staff. About 20 of these will be involved in personally inspecting accommodation. Inspections will also be carried out by the property advisers to the civil estate. The remaining staff in the performance monitoring section will be engaged in carrying out investigations into complaints and allegations of fraud. Final targets have not yet been set but the accommodation inspection team is required to have inspected all NASS contracted houses of multiple occupancy of 20 bed spaces or more by 31 March 2001.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill implements the recommendation in paragraph 65 of the 1999 report of the Commissioner for the Interception of Communications relating to sections 6 and 7 of the Official Secrets Act 1989. 
Mr. Straw: Clause 18 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill implements the recommendation in paragraph 65 of the report. It imposes a duty on all those involved in the interception of communications in obedience to a warrant to keep secret the existence and contents of a warrant and anything done in pursuance to it. It also creates a criminal offence where a person makes a disclosure to another of anything that he is required to keep secret, and sets out certain statutory defences.
20 Jul 2000 : Column: 325W
Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the nature of the several offences committed by the 390 UK citizens arrested at Charleroi in Belgium during Euro 2000, indicating how many had committed each such offence. 
Mr. Straw: As I told the House in my Statement on 4 July 2000, Official Report, columns 170-183, 965 England supporters were arrested or detained during Euro 2000. Of these, 391 had previously been convicted of a criminal offence. The National Criminal Intelligence Service advise that these people had between them: 133 convictions for violence, 200 for disorder, 38 for the possession of an offensive weapon, 122 for criminal damage and 250 for other offences. Some supporters will have been convicted of more than one type of offence.
Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in relation to each of the past five years the periods which would have been control periods in relation to external tournaments, pursuant to paragraph 14(6) of the Football Spectators Act 1989 as amended by the Football (Disorder) Bill. 
Mr. Straw: The Football (Disorder) Bill defines the term "control period" in respect of an external tournament. It relates to any period beginning five days before the day of the first match of the tournament. If this was applied to external tournaments involving England and Wales within the last five years, the designated control periods would be: Friday 5 June--Friday 17 July 1998 (World Cup--France 98) and Monday 5 June--Friday 7 July 2000 (Euro 2000--Holland/Belgium).
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