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Police Numbers (Wales)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) funded and (b) actual police

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officers were in post in each of the Welsh constabularies on (i) 31 March 1997 and (ii) the latest date for which figures are available. [154812]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 22 March 2001]: The information requested is set out in the table. The figures for funded officers have been provided by the Chief Officers of Police of the four Welsh forces.

The Chief Constable of North Wales Police has devolved decisions on police numbers to divisional commanders and therefore cannot provide information on funded numbers. However, it is the policy of the force to replace all leavers with new recruits.

31 March 1997 31 January 2001
Force Funded officers(32)Actual number of officers(32)Funded officers(32)Actual number of officers(32)
North Walesn/a1,369n/a1,432
South Wales2,9942,9763,0363,103

(32) All figures are full-time equivalents.

Departmental Policies (North Devon)

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the North Devon constituency, the effects on North Devon of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [155904]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of responsibilities is set out in Home Office Annual Reports. A copy of the most recent report is available in the Library. Information on recorded crime and policing is also published. "Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000" and "Police Service Strength England and Wales, 30 September 2000" can be found in the House of Commons Library. The recorded crime statistics include information on recorded crime by Basic Command Unit and Crime and Disorder partnerships.

The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects, such as recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested although set out are examples relating to the North Devon constituency or the immediate locality:

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

North Devon district council was awarded approximately £153,000 for a 13-camera system covering crime hotspots in the Barnstaple area, including two car parks that are not covered by the current CCTV system. The scheme aims to significantly reduce violent crime, disorder and vehicle crime, also reducing the number of repeat victims and generally improving the quality of life for local residents.

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Youth Offending

Devon Youth Offending Service (YOS) was one of the initial pilot areas for Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and also piloted Parenting Orders and Child Safety Orders. The Devon YOT is one of the largest in the country and is divided into a three team structure: North Devon (North Devon, Torridge, West Devon districts); East Devon (Exeter, Mid Devon, East Devon districts); South Devon (Teignbridge, South Hams districts). With regard to habitual re-offending it is still early days for measurement, but a re-offending figure of 9 per cent. with all Final Warnings has been achieved since June 2000, (compared with a figure of 40 per cent. for all cautions over the previous two years). In addition a drop of 23 per cent. in youth crime for the period of October to December 2000 has been recorded. Intervention with young offenders is occurring earlier resulting in the teams having worked with over 1,000 young people by the end of this financial year against approximately 450 in the last full year pre YOT (1998).

Overall youth crime in Devon is lower than the National and Regional average with one offence per one 106 of the 10-17 year old population. There was a reduction in 10 out of the 13 categories of crime from quarter 2 to quarter 3 2000-2001. Racially aggravated youth crime is very low (only nine offences) despite a Devon and Cornwall Constabulary figure that has grown by over 100 per cent. in the last year post recommendations following the Stephen Lawrence inquiry encouraging greater reporting of racial incidents.

The YOS has installed a dedicated Information Technology (IT) network and database--"Youth Offending Information Systems" (YOIS). Over 2,500 records have been inputted onto this system. Full data return have been made to the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for all three first quarters. An electronic 'ASSET' assessment tool has also been installed and electronic case management training is scheduled for 2001.

The YOS has successfully integrated into the strategy groups of all eight District Crime Reduction Partnerships. The YOS is also involved in the Cornwall and Devon 'CONNEXIONS' pilot with 'personal advisers' working in all three units. This scheme is a Department for Education and Employment (DFEE) and Government initiative to provide young people between the age of 13-19 with advice regarding education and careers and is based in schools, particularly targeting those at risk of underachieving. The YOS Manager is on the new Devon Drug Action Team and YOS team staff are involved with all eight district Drug Reference Groups/Drug Strategy Groups. Staff from all three teams have been trained in Restorative Justice techniques, victim awareness and Cognitive Behavioural work. The Devon YOS are currently operating with an average arrest to sentence time for persistent young offenders of 65 days (below the Government target of 71 days and the second best figure in the country). The YOS are implementing five YJB grant aided projects: 'Mentoring' (North Devon); 'Restorative Justice', 'Intensive Supervision and Support', 'Parenting' and 'Bail Supervision and Support' across all three YOS teams.

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More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of North Devon to a greater or lesser extent. For example:

Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website. (

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken was to make (a) an initial decision and (b) a final decision on asylum applications, in total and for (i) individual and (ii) family applications last year; what the average time for initial decisions was in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [155574]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 26 March 2001]: The majority of new substantive family applications lodged between 1 April 2000 and 31 December 2000 had an initial decision within two months.

Information regarding the average time taken to make an initial decision is not available for the whole of 2000. The table provides an average for the period of October to December 2000. The average decision times have been calculated using all decisions made for which data are available, including a number of cases decided under the backlog criteria, as well as new cases. These data are still subject to revision following quality checking. Data for earlier months are not available.

Information relating to the final decision is not available.

Average time to initial decision(33),(34) for the period October 2000 to December 2000(37)

All initial decisions(35),(36)14
of which:

(33) The average length of time (in months) is calculated from date application is lodged to the date of initial decision, and relates to the month in which the decisions were made.

(34) Figures are estimates based on cases for which information is recorded.

(35) Based on data from ACID (Asylum Cases Information Database).

(36) Excluding dependants.

(37) Provisional Figures.

Average time to initial decision(41), in months, 1991-1999(38),(39),(40)

Year of decision All applicationsApplications lodged pre July 1993Applications lodged post July 1993

n/a = Not applicable

(38) Excluding dependants.

(39) Figures are estimates based on cases for which information is recorded.

(40) Based on data from Refugee Index.

(41) The average length of time (in months) is calculated from date application is lodged to the date of initial decision, and relates to the year in which the decisions were made.

(42) As at the end of December 1999, excluding cases waiting an initial decision.

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Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to achieve his targets for the time taken to process asylum applications (a) for initial decisions and (b) final decisions; and if he will make a statement. [155575]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 26 March 2001]: In line with the 1998 White Paper, we expect to be making 60 per cent. of initial decisions in new substantive asylum cases within two months from April 2001.

The Court Service is aiming to complete 65 per cent. of asylum appeals through both tiers of the Immigration Appellate Authorities within four months from April 2001.

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