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Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is presently considering the responses we have received to the White Paper. He hopes to announce his final decisions on the way forward very soon. We have been pleased by the level of support for the proposed modernisation of the system.
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The White Paper "Time for Reform: the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws" (Cm 4696), published on 10 April 2000, included a proposal to introduce flexible opening hours to minimise public disorder resulting from fixed closing times, subject to consideration of the impact on local residents. Of the 420 responses which commented specifically on licensing hours, 56 per cent. were in favour of this proposal.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Under the crime reduction programme closed circuit television (CCTV) initiative, more than £64 million has so far been allocated to crime and disorder reduction partnerships to help set up, extend or improve over 350 CCTV schemes in England and Wales.
Further initial funding applications submitted by partnerships under the second round of the CCTV initiative are currently under assessment. We expect to advise partnerships of the outcome of the applications very shortly.
Mrs. Roche: Detention centre rules 2001 apply to all those detainees accommodated in dedicated immigration detention centres. Persons detained in Prison Service establishments are governed by prison rules.
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Mr. Charles Clarke: As part of their youth justice reforms, the Government have introduced a range of new and improved community and custodial sentences to improve the options available to the courts. Most recently, we have introduced curfew orders for 10 to 15-year-olds. Work also continues to deliver the youth justice pledge, halving the arrest to sentence time for persistent young offenders. We have already cut nearly 50 days from the 1996 average. This year we will be introducing new intensive supervision and surveillance programmes, targeting the 2,500 most persistent young offenders in the community each year. In the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, we have proposed extending the juvenile secure remand criteria to include those with a recent history of repeatedly committing imprisonable offences while on bail or in local authority accommodation. We have also proposed electronic monitoring to supplement supervised bail.
25. Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the means of preventing electoral fraud relating to false claims of residence for voting purposes. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Electoral registration officers have a duty to ensure that their registers are accurate. They are entitled to investigate any claims for registration which they consider may be fraudulent and can remove names from the register if they have information which suggests that a person is not resident at the registered address. I am confident that electoral registration officers carry out their duties thoroughly and diligently.
26. Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to increase the recruitment of black people and ethnic minorities in the Metropolitan police service. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: In 1999, my right hon. Friend published "Dismantling Barriers", which set all forces targets and an action plan for the recruitment, retention and progression of minority ethnic officers. The Metropolitan police's target is for 25 per cent. of its officers to be from minority ethnic communities by 2009. The force has established a positive action team to take
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forward "Dismantling Barriers" through a range of initiatives which include the appointment of trained local recruiters with particular responsibility for minority ethnic recruitment; a programme to provide support to members of minority ethnic people who wish to join the police service; and a project to increase the number of minority ethnic graduate police officers.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Section 128 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides that the chairman of the Electoral Commission (or a person appointed by him) is to be the chief counting officer in any national or regional referendum to which part VII of the Act applies (save in the case of a referendum held in Northern Ireland only where the chief electoral officer is designated chief counting officer). It will be for the chief counting officer and the Electoral Commission to oversee the conduct of a referendum poll in accordance with an order made under section 129 of the Act.
By 2003-04, funding for policing will have risen by almost £1.6 billion against the provision for this year, which is a rise of nearly 21 per cent. in cash terms and 11.8 per cent. in real terms. The crime fighting fund will enable police forces to recruit 9,000 police officers over and above the number previously planned in the three years 2000-01 to 2002-03, with the aim of bringing numbers overall to record levels.
By 30 September 2000, police strength was up 444 compared with strength at 31 March 2000. The number of police recruits starting their initial residential training in the period April 2000 to February 2001 (6,096) was up 72 per cent. on the same period in the previous financial year.
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in April 2000, new national standards were introduced that tightened the standards for enforcement of community sentences so that offenders are returned to court no later than after second unacceptable failure to comply rather than, as previously, the third such failure;
new enforcement measures contained in section 53 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 provide that where the court finds an offender in breach of his community order and takes the view that he is unlikely to go on successfully to complete the order it must impose a custodial penalty, other than in exceptional circumstances;
we are developing a range of high-quality offending behaviour programmes in the community, and we have set up a new process of accreditation, involving an independent panel of experts to ensure that only the most effective and cost-effective, evidence-based programmes are rolled out across the country;
from April, responsibility for the execution of warrants, including fine warrants, will pass from the police to magistrates courts. This will provide a clearer focus than the present arrangements and deliver better enforcement;
we are conducting a study under the crime reduction programme to identify best practice for fine enforcement. At present, various strategies are being piloted in a number of courts, and the results will be assessed later this year;
from April, measures in the Access to Justice Act 1999 will be implemented enabling, under certain circumstances, the Department of Social Security to provide the court with up to date address details of fine defaulters. This should reduce the number of fines that are currently written off;
more generally, the new national standards require local probation areas to ensure that they have a strategy to inform both sentencers and the general public about their work and the services they perform; and
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