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15 Mar 2001 : Column: 702W
head of population was (a) in each police force and (b) in total on the last date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
|Force||Police officers as at September 2000||Population as at June 1999||Population per officer|
|Avon and Somerset||2,941||1,501,193||510|
|Devon and Cornwall||2,873||1,569,666||546|
|City of London(24)||720||--||--|
|Total force numbers(25)||122,230||52,689,891||431|
|Total for England and Wales including secondments||124,614||52,689,891||423|
(24) Police per head of population for City and Metropolitan police are combined.
(25) Excluding secondments to central service, NCS, NCIS and inter-force units.
Police numbers are full time equivalents.
15 Mar 2001 : Column: 703W
Mr. Charles Clarke: The vast majority of police training (over 80 per cent.) takes place in forces. Details of numbers of officers undergoing training are not held centrally and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.
Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action the Government have taken to bring the number of police officers in Wandsworth up to its establishment, with special reference to Battersea. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government want to see police numbers rising. Our spending plans therefore make generous provision, intended to meet major pay, pensions and other pressures on forces as well as providing ring-fenced funding to increase recruitment through the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF).
As part of the police grant settlement for 2001-02, the Metropolitan police authority will receive £1,822.8 million in Government supported funding. This is an increase of 5.3 per cent. over the provision for 2000-01. In addition, funding is available from the CFF to enable the Metropolitan police service to recruit an additional 2,044 officers over and above the number that the force would otherwise have recruited in the three years from April 2000.
Other measures which should boost recruitment in the Met include the £3,327 per annum increase in London Allowance paid to officers in the Met (and City), who were recruited on or after 1 September 1994; the provision of free rail travel within a 70-mile radius of London for the Met's officers; and the National Recruitment Campaign. By 25 February the campaign had resulted in 2,304 Expressions of Interest being passed to the Met, and a further 1,160 calls transferred to the Met's own call centre.
Several outline bids covering the Met police area are also being assessed under the first round of the Government's Starter Homes Initiative which will enable key workers, including police officers, to purchase homes in areas of high-cost housing.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his oral statement in Westminster Hall of 8 March 2001, Official Report, columns 169-70WH, if he will list the county court hearing centres which he plans to close in response to his Departmental Consultation Paper on court modernisation; and when they are to be closed. 
15 Mar 2001 : Column: 704W
A key theme of "Modernising the Civil Courts" is to make best use of our resources to improve access to justice. As the consultation paper notes, we have a responsibility to ask whether the current court estate offers the best way of providing the services that we have a duty to provide, or whether there are more cost-effective alternatives that maintain, or improve, the level of service required. To that end we are developing a strategy for achieving best value from our estate which will include identifying the most appropriate locations for hearing centres. Part of the exercise will involve looking at opportunities to develop partnerships with other agencies, including the magistrates courts, so that hearings and other services can be provided in areas where there is no permanent county court building.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his oral statement, in Standing Committee A, Official Report, 6 March 2001; c. 6, how many solicitors' firms had signed up to the Legal Services Commission contract for criminal legal services by 12 March; and how many he expects will have done so by 2 April. 
Mr. Lock: As at 12 March 2001, the Legal Services Commission had received 1,285 signed general criminal contracts from firms of solicitors across England and Wales. It is expected that some 2,800 firms, the vast majority of those that were offered contracts to sign, will elect to take up the contract.
Mr. Rammell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress he has made in implementing the recommendations of Sir Leonard Peach's independent scrutiny report on the Appointment Processes for Judges and Queen's Counsel in England and Wales. 
Mr. Lock: I am pleased to tell the House that Her Majesty yesterday made Orders in Council defining the functions of her Commissioners for Judicial Appointments and appointing Professor Sir Colin Murray Campbell, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, as her First Commissioner for Judicial Appointments. The Commission has commenced its work today. The recruitment of Deputy Commissioners will begin shortly, and the Lord Chancellor hopes the first of them will be appointed in the autumn.
Sir Leonard also recommended that a pilot scheme be produced for an Assessment Centre for judicial appointments. The tendering process will commence shortly to identify consultants who will advise on the design and development of the pilot scheme. Several of Sir Leonard's other recommendations--such as improvements to the forms used in consultations on candidates for judicial appointments, and to the procedures for appointment to Silk--have already been implemented.
15 Mar 2001 : Column: 705W
The Solicitor-General: The Factortame litigation involved a claim for damages against the UK Government as a result of the 1996 ruling of the European Court of Justice that those affected by the removal of vessels from the UK fishing vessel register in 1989 under the Merchant Shipping Act 1998 had been discriminated against on the grounds of nationality, contrary to EC law.
The Government have reached a settlement with all 133 claimants. The total amount claimed was £285 million excluding interest. The cases were all settled for a total sum of damages of £44.99 million, including £20.19 million in interest.
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