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Stop and Search

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent representations he has received from police forces about recording of (a) stops, (b) searches and (c) stop and searches; [145024]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Work on taking forward the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry has been overseen by a Steering Group chaired by my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary. At its meeting on 21 November, the Lawrence Steering Group agreed to set up a sub-group to take forward further work on stop and search. The meeting also agreed that Recommendation 61 will be the subject of further consultation with the community via local police authorities, with the support of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Association of Police Authorities. The sub-group is due to report back to the Steering Group by Easter on the results of this consultation.

No research has been carried out specifically on the deterrent impact of stop and search on anti-robbery initiatives. The recent report by the Policing and Reducing Crime Unit "The Impact of Stop and Search on Crime and the Community" found little solid evidence that searches have a deterrent effect on crime. There is, however, some evidence that the very existence of stops may prevent crime, whether or not they involve searches. Although not investigated by this particular study, it is also possible that where searches are used intensively in particular location they may have a localised deterrence or displacement effect.

Code A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act will be revised to give officers clearer and more specific guidance on how stop and search powers should be used and to ensure that the rights of the public are properly protected. It is hoped to put a draft out to consultation in May.

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Several forces have been closely involved in the programme of work to improve the effective use of the stop and search tactic. A number of forces have recently inquired about progress on the reform programme. A joint letter updating forces on this is to be issued shortly by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers.


Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the consultants used by his Department in 2000 and proposed to be used in 2001, and the costs involved. [145096]

Mr. Straw: The individual value of contracts are commercial in confidence and in the time available I have not been able to consult with all the listed providers to seek their agreement to publish details of the costs. In order to give as full an answer as possible I have provided the list of consultants and the total costs incurred for each year.

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Special Constables

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the measures to address the decline in the number of special constables since April 1999. [145609]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Police manpower figures are collected by the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate every six months--as at 30 September and 31 March each year. The total number of special constables as at 31 March 1999 was recorded as 16,484. The latest statistics, recorded at 30 September 2000, show the total number of specials to be 13,528. During this same period, 2,603 specials have been recruited and 4,439 have left the service.

Figures indicate that the number of specials has been in decline since 1993, with both numbers recruited and numbers leaving the service showing a general downward trend. The numbers leaving the special constabulary has, however, continued to approximate or outstrip those recruited. The problem evidenced appeared to be one of retention, therefore, rather than recruitment.

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Research was completed last year into the premature wastage of special constables and recommendations made. The research found that the primary reasons given for leaving were often external to the service, but that there were some underlying factors contributing to the decision to resign. The recommendations therefore included improving: the flexibility of duties and hours offered; the management structure within which specials operate; the quality of training provided locally; and local efforts to monitor and prevent wastage. The Home Office is exploring all of the recommendations from this research with the Police Service and Association of Police Authorities.

With retention in mind, insurance to provide legal representation for specials was introduced on 27 June 2000, applying to incidents taking place on or after that date. The insurance company providing the service has been asked to provide an assessment of the scheme at the next meeting of the Special Constabulary Standing Committee in March 2001. New conditions of service for special constables and new misconduct regulations are also under development.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables (a) were recruited by each police force and (b) left the service between 30 September 1999 and 2000; and if he will make a statement on the number of special constables. [145087]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The number of special constables who were recruited to and left each of the police force special constabularies between 30 September 1999 and 30 September 2000 is set out in the table.

Avon and Somerset58124
Devon and Cornwall81100
Greater Manchester37127
London, City of020
Metropolitan police00
North Wales1125
North Yorkshire1340
South Wales2069
South Yorkshire2535
Thames Valley46104
West Mercia2744
West Midlands128144
West Yorkshire120166


Research Development and Statistics Directorate, Home Office.

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