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Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total cost to public funds was of material issued by Her Majesty's Government during the referendum campaigns in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) London. [145895]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) on 23 March 2000, Official Report, columns 666-67W.

Police Costs (Fuel Crisis)

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what payments are available to police authorities in respect of extra costs incurred during the fuel crisis in 2000; and how much money has been spent in respect of each police force. [145786]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Payments will be made to police authorities in respect of the additional operational costs incurred by forces in responding to the fuel embargo protests in September and November 2000.

Forces have been asked to submit their final claims for the additional costs incurred during the fuel dispute by the end of January to allow for assessment and payment in the current financial year.

Special Constables

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the powers special constables have in police authority areas other than their own; and what plans he has to revise the statutes governing those powers. [145855]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The powers of a special constable in a police authority area other than their own are set out in the Police Act 1996 at Part 1, Section 30(2), (3) and (4). The Act states that:

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There are no current plans to revise the Police Act 1996.

Police Numbers (Lancashire)

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the police officer strengths were for Lancashire on (a) 31 March 1997, (b) 30 September 1997, (c) 31 March 1998, (d) 30 September 1998, (e) 31 March 1999, (f) 30 September 1999, (g) 31 March 2000 and (h) 30 September 2000; and how many officers were on (i) sick leave and (ii) light duties on these dates. [145025]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information on police numbers is set out in the table. Information on the number of officers on sick leave for the same periods have been provided by the Chief Constable who has also informed me that she is unable to provide information on the number of officers on light duties as it is not centrally recorded on force records.

Year/monthPolice numbersNumber of officers on sick leave
31 March 19973,248106
30 September 19973,281169
31 March 19983,257175
30 September 19983,245126
31 March 19993,245173
30 September 19993,221164
31 March 20003,179178
30 September 20003,215174


Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many recorded offences involving (a) handguns and (b) shotguns and (c) rifles have been committed in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years. [145726]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The requested details are given in the table.

Number of offences involving:
YearHandgunsShotguns and rifles

(26) Years ending March, using the new counting rules for recorded crime. Figures before and after 1 April 1998 cannot be directly compared.

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Police (Avon and Somerset)

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the chief constable of Avon and Somerset police regarding the current level of recruitment to the force; how many recruits have been taken on by the force since May 1997; and how many officers have left the force since May 1997. [142862]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have received no representations from the chief constable of Avon and Somerset constabulary regarding the current level or recruitment to the force.

Information about police recruitment and wastage is collected six monthly for the periods April to September and October to March each year.

The number of recruits taken on by Avon and Somerset constabulary 1 April 1997 and 30 September 2000 was 473.

The number of officers who left the force between 1 April 1997 and 30 September 2000 was also 473.

Police Statistics

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will publish, for each police authority broken down in the age year ranges (a) up to 35, (b) 36 to 50 and (c) 51 years and over, the level of recruitment and wastage in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) the most recent 12 months for which statistics are available; [143888]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested is not available. The Home Office publishes data on overall police numbers, and a revised assessment of these at 30 September 2000 is due to be published on 16 January, along with recruitment and wastage figures. Individual police authorities and forces are likely to consider age profiles of officers, for example in their own recruitment plans.

Information on officer age by rank was collected by the Home Office until 1989, and was included in Appendix 12 of the Annual Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary for the years up to 1989. Copies of these reports are in the Library.

Interception of Communications

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what his assessment is of the annual cost to police forces of charges levied by telecommunications companies for tracking telephone calls and e-mail correspondence; and what assessment he has made of the extent to which the payment of such charges is cost effective; [145181]

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Mr. Straw: Information on the charges mentioned is not collected centrally. Agreements are in place between communication service providers (CSPs) and law enforcement agencies which take account of the fact that a requirement to provide communication data places operational and financial burdens on the CSPs.

The Government have received representations from one hon. Member about charges made to the police by CSPs for supplying data.

Criminal Assets

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the value was of assets confiscated from convicted criminals in (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99 and (c) 1999-2000. [145243]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The receipts realised from confiscation orders in England and Wales were £13,002,000 in 1997-98 and £16,510,000 in 1998-99. Provisional figures for 1999-2000 indicate that £25,044,000 has been recovered from convicted criminals in respect of the proceeds of their crimes.

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These figures are very encouraging and a clear indication of the resolve of the courts to deprive criminals of the financial benefits of their offending.

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