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Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of street robberies in the Metropolitan police area were robberies of mobile phones in (a) each of the last four calendar years for which figures are available and (b) the period since the end of the last calendar year for which figures are available. 
|Year||Total||Percentage of all robberies|
It is thought that most of the offences given above relate to mobile telephones. No figures are yet available for 2001. From 1 January this year, figures will be available specifically for mobile telephones, as opposed to telephone equipment.
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what areas are currently designated as urban and rural for determining financial allocations and other departmental purposes; and what changes in designation have taken place, in the areas so designated over the last 20 years. 
Mr. Straw: The Home Office does not generally designate areas as urban or rural, either for the purpose of financial allocation or for other purposes. However, the relative sparsity, or otherwise, of the population of each police area is one of the factors taken into account in determining the allocation of police grant to police authorities. From 2001-02, police forces with relatively sparse populations will also be eligible for the new rural policing grant. Entitlement to this grant will be determined on the basis of population density information. Payment of £30 million a year will be made in this way, £15 million has been similarly made available for 2000-01.
Mr. Cann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what investigation he has carried out into the claims that a young person in custody whose name has been supplied to him, assaulted a fellow inmate; what account was taken of this allegation in decisions relating to the continued custody of the person carrying out the alleged assault; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The local authority establishment concerned has been asked to provide reports on the alleged incident. Any report confirming that an assault took place will be submitted to the Parole Board whose responsibility it is to decide on the release of young offenders of this sort.
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Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 23 November 2000 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Aras Saleh. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to answer the letter from the hon. Member for Northavon, acknowledged on 18 August 2000 (Ref. 162520) regarding travellers. 
The questions raised in the letter were more properly matters for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) than for the Home Office and arrangements were therefore made for the letter to be transferred to that Department for reply.
Mr. Boateng: The decision whether to release those detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, once tariff has expired, is a matter for the independent Parole Board following a hearing of the case by a panel of three members of the Board. The timing of the hearing is for the Board to decide.
Before directing release, the Board must be satisfied, in accordance with section 28(6)(b) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public for the detainee to continue to be confined.
Mr. Boateng: No decisions have been taken about the release arrangements for these two detainees. The details of any such arrangements will be covered by a High Court injunction made on 9 January 2001, and will not be disclosable.
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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences in the broad categories of fraud and forgery were committed in each of the last five years for which statistics are available, together with the clear-up rate. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Fraud and forgery is a main offence category in itself in recorded crime statistics. The recorded crime figures for this category in England and Wales for the last five years are as follows.
|Year||Number of offences||Clear-up rate (percentage)|
(58) Years ending March. Numbers of offences recorded under the new counting rules for recorded crime, which were introduced on 1 April 1998. These new rules particularly impacted on the fraud and forgery category, and were estimated to have increased the number of offences counted by 61 per cent. Clear-up rates before and after this date are not directly comparable.
(59) New counting rules for clear-ups were introduced on 1 April 1999. Clear-up rates before and after this date are not directly comparable.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the expected wastage from each police force in England and Wales for (a) 2001-02, (b) 2002-03 and (c) 2003-04; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to him on 17 January 2001, Official Report, columns 275-76W, for the years 2001-02 and 2002-03. Forces have not been asked to forecast wastage for 2003-04.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the monthly wastage from each police force in England and Wales in 2000-01 to date, and the expected wastage in the remainder of 2000-01; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Information about wastage is not collected centrally on a monthly basis; information about wastage for the six months to 30 September 2000 is contained in Home Office Statistical Bulletin 2/01, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
No separate forecast has been made of wastage from each force for the remainder of 2000-01, but I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to him on 17 January 2001, Official Report, columns 275-76W, for a forecast for the whole of 2000-01.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many persons have been released on the home detention curfew scheme to date before serving the requisite period; what offences they committed; what (a) the sentence served and (b) the requisite period was
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in each case; how many were recalled to prison to serve the remainder of the requisite period; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) if it is his policy to inform victims when an offender is released on the home detention curfew scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: It is not a requirement that victims are informed when placing a prisoner on Home Detention Curfew (HDC). In some cases victims will be consulted as part of the risk assessment process which all eligible prisoners have to undergo before being placed on the scheme, and in consequence may become aware of the release of a prisoner.
Although no formal assessment has been made, there is no reason to believe that HDC has adversely affected public confidence in the sentencing process or the wider criminal justice system. The HDC scheme received the unanimous support of the all-party Home Affairs Committee, and its report, Alternatives to Custody Cm 4174 (1998), was signed by several Opposition Members. The HDC scheme itself received the support of Parliament, including Opposition Members. The HDC scheme protects the public by providing selected short term prisoners with a monitored return to the community, helping them to re-integrate into the wider community of which they are members.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to require sentencers to explain the effect on release dates of the home detention curfew scheme when passing sentence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government are committed to ensuring that the implications of sentencing are explained in open court, but believe that this is best achieved through the issue of practice directions from the Lord Chief Justice. The then Lord Chief Justice issued a practice direction in January 1998 requiring a court imposing a custodial sentence to explain the practical effect of that sentence for the benefit of the defendant, any victim and members of the public. Although the practice direction was issued before home detention curfew became available, it specifically states that if the statutory provisions governing early release are materially amended, then the model statements annexed to the direction will require modification. Courts are therefore already expected to explain the possible effect of home detention curfew on the offender.
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