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Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 7 July 2000, Official Report, column 315W, on abandoned vehicles, when he will next review the forward work programme. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate forward work programme will go up for discussion with policy units in November 2000. Ministerial approval for the forward work programme is scheduled for April 2001.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will meet representatives of the West Mercia Constabulary to offer them more funding to offset increases in fuel costs; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 20 July 2000]: Rising costs, including those of fuel, have to be handled as part of normal budget management. In the case of price increases for any commodity, a force may have to reconsider internal budgets and re-allocate resources away from one area towards another.
Mr. Boateng: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is planning to undertake at least one prison visit in this period and I expect to make at least eight visits, some of which may be unannounced. However, final arrangements have not yet been made and alterations or additions to the programme are possible.
|Number of crimes recorded||Percentage change compared to the previous year|
(1) The rules for recording crimes changed in April 1998 which led to a large increase in the number recorded. Essex collected data based on the old rules and the new rules in 1998-99.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement of the rights of prison officers, as constituents, to contact their Member of Parliament for help on issues relevant to them; and what
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assessment he has made of the compatability of the relevant Prison Service rules with the right of a constituent to contact their Member of Parliament; 
Mr. Boateng: The rights of prison officers to contact their Member of Parliament are set out in the Prison Service Staff Handbook. This reminds staff that civil servants should not attempt to bring political or other outside influence to support any personal claims as a civil servant. It makes it clear that this does not restrict staff's right to approach their Member of Parliament. A copy of the Prison Staff Handbook is available in the Library. The relevant paragraph is paragraph 19.84.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the annual suicide rate of police officers in each year since 1989, in each police force and in total, stating in each case (a) the number of suicides classified by rank and (b) the proportion per thousand police officers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual suicide rate of prison service personnel was in each year since 1989 in each category of prison and in total, stating in each year (a) the number of suicides per thousand prison service personnel and (b) the number of suicides classified by grade; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The statistics for the number of self-inflicted deaths among staff are set out in the table. Statistics on staff suicides are not collected centrally and so these have been collated from a number of sources (some of which may have been compiled on different bases).
These figures include those deaths where the coroner has recorded a verdict of suicide and, in some cases (generally the most recent), other deaths where the inquest is still pending or the verdict has not been notified to the Prison Service, but the circumstances in which the body was found suggest that the death was self-inflicted. The figures may underestimate the number of self-inflicted deaths, in that they record those deaths whose circumstances are known to the Service. If family members choose not to report the circumstances of the death, the death may not be recorded here.
Records of the cause of staff deaths before 1990 are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. A full breakdown of the figures according to grade and location could likewise be obtained only at disproportionate cost. An analysis carried out in 1998 indicated that, of 34 staff who had committed suicide since 1990, 18 were prison officers, five were senior officers and one was a principal officer. The other staff were drawn from a number of different grades within the Service.
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In 1994, the Prison Service was greatly concerned to note the increased number of staff suicides. The causes of each suicide were examined. In all cases, the principal cause appeared to be the member of staff's private life rather than their work with the Prison Service. A workshop was held that year, to examine issues relating to staff suicide. A number of ideas emerged from that and the Service has continued to keep this issue under very careful review, to see whether there are any additional steps which could usefully be taken.
The Prison Service's Staff Care and Welfare Service offers confidential support and assistance to staff for a range of personal and emotional problems. The Staff Care and Welfare Service co-ordinates the provision of post-incident care and also provides a welfare service which all staff can use at any time. Part of that service is provided via trained Care Teams, drawn from a cross-section of grades, which are based in prisons and provide an on-site support network. While this is primarily geared towards post-incident work, increasingly these teams do offer a greater range of support to staff. In 1999, welfare officers dealt with more than 7,000 cases, most of which related to transfers, physical illness, work-related stress and debt.
Welfare officers, who are based in five geographical areas, provide a comprehensive support and referral service for staff. They deal with a multitude of problems and can call upon specialist services--both internal and external--as necessary to meet the client's needs. Given the operational duties which the majority of Prison Service staff perform, they are often referred to external counselling services so that they may discuss in confidence the personal and emotional problems which may be generated by working with prisoners.
|Year||Total staff employed(1)||Self-inflicted deaths|
(1) Figures for 1990-93 do not include administrative staff in Prison Service Headquarters. Figures from 1994 onwards are drawn from Prison Service Annual Reports.
(1) To end June
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual suicide rate of Probation Service personnel was in each year since 1989, in each probation service and in total, stating in each case (a) the number of suicides per thousand Probation Service personnel and (b) the number of suicides classified by grade; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual suicide rate of fire officers was in each year since 1989 in each authority area and in total stating in each case (a) the proportion per thousand fire officers and (b) the number of suicides classified by grade; and if he will make a statement. 
All fire brigades in England and Wales are required to provide annually to Her Majesty's Inspectorate statistical information about fire service fatalities. The information is provided on the following basis:
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