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Internet Chat Services

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his Department was represented on the inter-departmental Internet Crime Forum sub-group on internet chat services; when he will receive the report; and if he will make a statement. [136218]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The Home Office is represented on the inter-departmental Internet Crime Forum sub-group on internet chat services. The sub-group made its interim findings available on the Internet Crime Forum website--http://www.internetcrimeforum.org.uk/chatwise.html--on 31 October; I understand the full report will be published in due course.

Drugs

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have involved (a) heroin, (b) crack/cocaine, (c) ecstasy and (d) cannabis in each year from 1990 to 1999; and what his projection is for the numbers in each category for the year 2000. [136570]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The information requested, although not published in the annual Home Office statistical bulletin, is available for England and Wales for the years 1993 to 1999 inclusive and is given in the table. Information for the period 1990 to 1992 was collected on a different basis and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Equivalent data for 2000 are not yet available; nor are forecasts usually prepared.

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Prosecutions in England and Wales for drug offences 1993-99

HeroinCocaine/ crackEcstasy-typeCannabis
19933,5702,6662,31931,275
19944,8312,8152,82641,239
19956,7533,2054,54844,994
19969,5493,5965,38945,121
199713,3554,6445,26552,743
199816,0985,8523,43260,114
199917,6736,6915,06657,512

Source:

Drugs Research Unit, Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate


Miss Hilda Murrell

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the DNA tests on evidence found in connection with the murder of Miss Hilda Murrell. [136560]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November, 2000]: I understand from West Mercia Constabulary that no significant DNA results have yet been identified from examination of items which could bear DNA traces. But the police and Forensic Science Service have not yet reached the end of the forensic examination of the items which were prioritised as likely to give results.

Corpus Juris

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the Government's policy towards corpus juris. [134993]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Ludlow (Mr. Gill), on 15 May 2000, Official Report, column 51W, and to the reply given to the Lord Pearson of Rannoch, on 25 October 2000, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA45-46.

Police Stations (Counter Closures)

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police station front-counters have closed in the Metropolitan police force area since 1 January; if he will break down the closed counters by police borough; and if he will make a statement. [136575]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November, 2000]: It is for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to determine the hours of business of police station front-counters. I understand from the Commissioner that a total of seven police station front-counters have closed in the Metropolitan Police force area since 1 January 2000: two in Bexley, one in

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Bromley, three in Harrow and one in Hounslow. In all cases where front counter services have been withdrawn, a free 24-hour telephone service has been provided at the relevant police building with a direct link to the local police control room. This ensures that members of the public are still able to speak to a police officer or member of the civil staff at all times.

Police Officers

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in (a) England and (b) Wales in each of the last 10 years in areas defined as (i) rural and (ii) urban; and if he will publish the criteria used to define an area as rural or urban. [136746]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November, 2000]: All police forces in England and Wales have rural and urban areas. Information is not centrally collected about the number of police officers deployed to either rural or urban areas. Available resources are deployed by Chief Officers of Police according to operational need.