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Controlled Drugs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to issue guidance to Ministers in his Department on disclosing information relating to the use of controlled drugs. [136481]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have no such plans.

Myra Hindley

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters he has received (a) supporting and (b) opposing the continued imprisonment of Myra Hindley, since May 1997. [136388]

Mr. Boateng: Prison Service records show that since May 1997 a total of 754 letters have been received from members of the public about Myra Hindley's case. Information on the number of letters which have supported or opposed her continued imprisonment is not recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Police Visibility (Public Places)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with ACPO about improving the visibility of the police in public places. [136463]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I announced to the ACPO Rural Policing Conference in Lincoln on 6 November that I am discussing with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities, how each police authority might better inform the public about the steps it is taking to maintain and improve police visibility and effectiveness in all parts of England and Wales.

Com (2000) 495

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy towards delineating along national lines areas of competence in which each state may determine future criminal law rules, in the context of 13.2 of Com (2000) 495. [136470]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer to his previous questions about Com (2000) 495 on 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 519W. At present, we see difficulty in laying down rigid or binding rules for preventing conflicts of jurisdiction between the European Union member states. The experience of Eurojust will help the member states to determine what action is required, if any.

Metropolitan Police

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the head of the Recruitment Task Force of the Metropolitan police about his policy on recruiting people previously rejected as below standard. [136477]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I can confirm that no Home Office Minister or official has had any discussions with the Head of the Metropolitan Police Recruitment Task Force.

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I understand however that the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Recruitment Task Force has conducted a full review of the minimum standards applied to recruitment with the intention of bringing MPS standards into line with other police forces in the United Kingdom. This has resulted in significant changes being made to align standards to make them more focused to the current needs of the Service and address issues of equal opportunities.

The MPS's guidelines on age, qualifications, convictions, debts, tattoos and employment history requirements have been amended. As a result, applications made during the previous 12 months have been revisited and a number of applicants previously rejected have been invited to resume their applications to join the MPS as a constable.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the (a) establishment and (b) actual available officer numbers for each Metropolitan police divisional force for the last year period for which statistics are available; and if he will make a statement. [134990]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The information requested has been provided by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. Each division of the Metropolitan police has a Police Budgeted Workforce Total which is set at 1 April. The divisional strength figures are those for 31 October 2000. Actual divisional strength fluctuates because of wastage and recruitment variations.

At the end of October 2000, the Metropolitan police had 25,267 police officers. Those not assigned to Divisions, of which there are 8,855, are on other duties, such as specialist squads, traffic division and other centralised operational support and organisational support functions. Many of these officers will in their other functions be available to enhance the policing of divisions.

Metropolitan police: Budgeted workforce total and actual strength

DivisionPolice budgeted workforce total(8)Actual police numbers at 31 October 2000(8)
City of Westminster1,5801,519.4
Kensington and Chelsea557522.5
Hammersmith and Fulham517490.7
Tower Hamlets548.5524.3
Waltham Forest453431.6
Barking and Dagenham278.5257.8
Richmond upon Thames260254.7
Kingston upon Thames257247.5
Heathrow Airport(9)304298.3
Divisional Total17,013.116,412

(8) Figures are full-time equivalents

(9) These police posts are paid for by Heathrow Airport Plc.

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European Elections

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the reasons for the low turnout at the 1999 European elections. [136412]

Mrs. Roche: The 'Review of the European Parliamentary Elections 1999', published by the Home Office in May this year, includes a lengthy assessment of the causes of the low turnout at that election. A copy is available in the Library; it is also accessible on the Home Office website:

EU Administrative Law

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those areas of administrative law for which he supports the establishment of common minimum standards at EU level. [136467]

Mrs. Roche: Where the European Union (EU) Treaties provide for EU-level co-operation in areas of administrative law, the United Kingdom would support measures based on the establishment of common minimum standards on a case-by-case basis where they provided the most appropriate means of co-operation.

Scarman Centre

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what links the Scarman Centre has with police forces in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [136466]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Scarman Centre has various formal and informal links with United Kingdom police services.

The Scarman Centre provides accreditation and some academic input for the International Commanders Programme, which is run by the International Police Studies Department at National Police Training, Bramshill. The Centre also provides the academic framework for the new-style Accelerated Promotion Course (APC) which began in September 2000 and will be the awarding body for the MSc in Police Leadership and Management which may be awarded to students who successfully complete the whole APC programme.

The Scarman Centre has links with West Midlands Police who are providing consultancy to a Department for an International Development funded research project

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being conducted in Russia on crime reduction. The Centre also has links with the Metropolitan Police who are providing consultancy to a Foreign Office funded research project being conducted in the Ukraine on community policing.

The Scarman Centre maintains informal contacts for the purposes of research with a number of police forces in England and Wales.

Under the terms of the Home Office contract with Ionann Management Consultants Limited for the provision of Community and Race Relations training to the police service, the Scarman Centre is providing independent research and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Community and Race Relations training and consultancy being provided by Ionann.

In addition the Scarman Centre has police officers enrolled on its degree programme in policing, criminal justice, security management and risk, crisis and disaster management.

Young Offenders Institutions

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the average number of out of cell hours for juveniles and young offenders on remand in each young offenders unit in England; [136657]

Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service does not collect separately the number of out of cell hours for sentenced and remand prisoners.

The table gives the average weekday time out of cell for September 2000 for all prisoners in those establishments in England which hold male juveniles or young offenders. Figures are provisional and subject to validation by prisons.

Establishment holding male juveniles or young offendersAverage hours out of cell weekdays(10)
Forest Bank12
Glen Parva5.1
Guys Marsh8
Hollesley Bay(11)--
Lancaster Farms7.2
Stoke Heath10
Swinfen Hall10.1
Thorn Cross12.5

(10) September 2000

(11) Not appropriate--open prison

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the offences for which juveniles and young offenders on remand in Feltham Young Offenders Unit have been charged over the last two years. [136653]

Mr. Boateng: This information is not available.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information is held on the previous convictions of remand and convicted prisoners in Feltham Young Offenders Unit. [136524]

Mr. Boateng: Details of previous convictions are obtained either from the court or from the Police National Computer and held on the individual prisoner's file.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of juveniles and young offenders in Feltham Young Offenders Unit sharing a cell designed for one person (a) at the latest date for which figures are available and (b) for each quarter since 1999. [136659]

Mr. Boateng: The information is in the table:

September 199978
December 19990
March 200026
June 200024
2 November 200024

Only young offenders share cells designed for one person.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many juveniles were on remand in Feltham Young Offenders Unit in each quarter since January 1999; and what percentage they constituted of the total number of prisoners; [136651]

Mr. Boateng: The information requested is given in the table.

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Population(12) of young offenders on remand(13) at HMP Feltham

Age Percentage of total population in HMP Feltham
Date/last day of month15-1718-2115-1718-21
31 March1112751333
30 June1262611633
30 September1123371441
31 December1002831337
31 March912861238
30 June1642882340
30 September1662932340

(12) Provisional figures

(13) Includes untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies he has conducted into the benefits of staffing young offender units with officers specifically trained in child and youth care. [136548]

Mr. Boateng: There have been no formal studies of the benefits of training staff who work with young offenders in child and youth care. However, both the Prison Service and the Youth Justice Board recognise the value of ensuring that staff working with young offenders have appropriate training.

Joint training, commissioned by the Youth Justice Board, has been undertaken by staff working with young offenders in the juvenile secure estate. This included Youth Offending Team staff as well as those working in Prison Service establishments, Local Authority Secure Units and Secure Training Centres.

The recruitment process for new prison officers to work in the under-18 estate has also been enhanced with additions to the competence questionnaire which forms part of the application form, and additional exercises at the job simulation assessment centres.

The Prison Service also trains staff in understanding adolescence through a programme designed by the Trust for the Study of Adolescence.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines his Department has issued on the sharing of cells by inmates in young offender institutions. [136658]

Mr. Boateng: Prison Service policy on cell sharing and the separation of different classes of prisoner remains as set out in Instruction to Governors 48-1995 issued on 11 May 1995, a copy of which is in the Library.

Following the murder in March of a young offender in his cell by his cellmate in Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution Feltham, the establishment immediately introduced a risk assessment system to try to prevent a recurrence. The Prison Service has refined that system in the light of experience with a view to introducing it at other prison establishments.

More generally, we are currently looking at several ways to make prison establishments as a whole safer places. The Prison Service will shortly be launching the safer prisons standard which emphasises this "whole prison" approach: it will not only set out required actions

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on the reduction of violence and bullying in establishments, but will also look at the care of prisoners and staff/prisoner relationships.

The Prison Service has also improved the way in which the risk posed by individual prisoners is conveyed. The revised Prisoner Escort Record (PER), which accompanies every prisoner from court or when they are moved from another prison, is used to highlight different risk factors, including violence, potential hostage taking, racist behaviour or crimes such as stalking/harassing or sexual offences. The new guidance issued at the same time highlights the importance of ensuring this information is passed as soon as possible to the relevant staff and is used to inform decisions about, for instance, first night risk assessment and accommodation issues.

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