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Asylum Seekers

29. Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers have disappeared; and if he will make a statement. [147118]

Mrs. Roche: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Robathan) on 8 January 2001, Official Report, column 700.

33. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to promote good community relations in areas where there is a significant number of asylum seekers. [147122]

Mrs. Roche: The national asylum support service recognises the importance of good community relations and encourages partnership working between interested parties through a multi-agency approach, which includes voluntary and community groups.

Anthony Gerald Dickinson

30. Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the case of Mr. Anthony Gerald Dickinson and his application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. [147119]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Criminal Cases Review Commission is operationally independent of the Home Office, and I am unable to intervene in its determination of individual cases or to comment on their merits. I understand that the commission considered an application from Mr. Dickinson, but concluded in March 1998 that the case did not meet the criteria laid down in the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 for the commission to make a reference to the Court of Appeal. His legal representatives made a further application on Mr. Dickinson's behalf in May 2000, and I am confident that the commission will consider these representations carefully and impartially.

Private Security Industry

31. Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what ways the regulation of doormen in pubs and clubs will be improved by the Private Security Industry Bill. [147120]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: The Private Security Industry Bill provides for the establishment of a security industry authority, which will have responsibility for licensing individuals employed in designated sectors of the security industry, including door supervisors.

The authority will be responsible for establishing, for the first time, a consistent licensing regime for all door supervisors. This will involve setting nationally applicable criteria, in consultation with the police, industry and local authorities. These will be used in deciding whether to issue a personal licence allowing the applicant to undertake door supervision activities. Initially, the criteria will involve a criminal record check, but over time additional criteria relating to training will be imposed. This aim is to ensure that only fit and proper people receive licences. The main benefits of the new regime will be:


32. Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the trend in the number of burglaries in England and Wales. [147121]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The recorded crime statistics for England and Wales published on 16 January show a fall in the total number of burglaries of 8 per cent. in the 12 months to September 2000. Domestic burglary fell by 10 per cent. and non-domestic burglary by 5.5 per cent. in the same period.

The British crime survey published in October last year, shows that the total number of domestic burglaries, including those that are not reported to, or recorded by, the police, has fallen from just over 1.6 million in 1997 to under 1.3 million in 1999--a 21 per cent. reduction.

Police Emergency Calls

34. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the time taken for police to respond to emergency calls. [147123]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Most police authorities set targets for responding to 999 calls and their performance against these targets has been published annually by the Audit Commission.

The data for performance in 1999-2000 were published on 10 January in the "Local Authority Performance Indicators, Police and Fire Compendium". This recorded that on average, police authorities in England and Wales, which had set a target, had met it 87.6 per cent. of the time. The targets set ranged from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on whether the police were responding to a call from an urban or rural area.

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In future years, police performance in responding to emergency calls will be published in police authorities "Annual Policing/Best Value Performance Plans".

Elderly People (Attacks and Abuse)

36. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many old people were victims of (a) attacks and (b) abuse in (i) England and Wales and (ii) West Yorkshire in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [147125]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information on the age of victims is available from the British crime survey (BCS). The 2000 sweep of the survey estimates that in 1999 there were 130,000 violent incidents against persons aged 60 and over in England and Wales and that there were also 158,000 incidents where persons aged 60 and over were threatened 1 . It is not possible to derive from the BCS reliable figures for West Yorkshire.

These estimates are based on incidents reported to BCS interviewers and respondents may be reluctant to reveal all forms of abuse or attack. It should also be noted that the BCS only interviews respondents who live in private households.

Police/School Liaison (Anti-racist Guidance)

37. Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on liaison between the police and schools on schemes to provide anti-racist guidance in the classroom. [147126]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Association of Chief Police Officers guidance to forces on identifying and combating hate crime and hate incidents highlights the importance of including racist and other hate issues in police/school liaison strategies. The anti-bullying pack, recently reissued to all schools by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, provides advice on the range of strategies which are available to deal with all forms of bullying, including bullying by race. These include multi-agency partnerships with the police and other key agencies.

Wheel Clamping and Private Security Firms

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received in relation to his proposals for the licensing of wheel clamping and private security firms. [147096]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We received a number of representations about our proposals to regulate the private security industry, including wheel clamping, in England and Wales.

Around 180 comments were received in response to our White Paper "The Government's proposals for regulation of the private security industry in England and Wales", which was published in March 1999. We also received representations following the publication of the Private Security Industry Bill, which was introduced into the House of Lords on 7 December 2000.

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A wide variety of organisations submitted representations. These included industry inspectorates, local authorities, the police, trade unions and representative bodies in the leisure industry. Trade and professional associations also submitted comments, including the British Parking Association, on the subject of our proposals relating to wheel clampers.

Alcohol Consumption (Public Places)

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in designated public places. [147108]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Measures to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in designated public places are included in the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, which is now before the House.

Police Numbers (Humberside)

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on police numbers in Humberside. [147112]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I understand from the chief constable that the Humberside police has 1,915 police officers and that this will increase to around 1,930 officers by the end of the current financial year.

At this stage, the force expects to recruit its full allocation of 47 officers under the crime fighting fund this year.

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