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Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will announce the fees to be charged for disclosures issued by the Criminal Records Bureau. [156867]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I announced on 6 February 2001, Official Report, column 504W, that Standard and Enhanced Disclosures would be issued free of charge to volunteers, but that work was continuing on the general fee levels. We have now completed that task. As I have made clear, it remains our intention that the Bureau will be self-financed by means of the charges that it makes, but we have been determined to keep fees as low as possible. We propose to charge a fee of £12 per disclosure. Regulations will be laid in due course.

Crime Statistics

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made in relation to the implementation of the recommendations contained within the Review of Crime Statistics. [156869]

Mr. Straw: Following the end of the consultation period in October 2000, the Review of Crime Statistics--which aims to enhance the accuracy and consistency of crime recording and to improve the quality of statistical data--has been subject of a review by a group of experts drawn from key stakeholder organisations and academia. The group's function was to consider the continued relevance and appropriateness of the recommendations in light of the consultation. The Expert's Group report indicates their continued support for the Review of Crime Statistics recommendations. A copy of their conclusions is being made available on the Home Office website (, and has been placed in the Library.

An Implementation Group with representation from the main stakeholders, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, has been established by the Home Office, to oversee the delivery of the review's 66 recommendations over a five year period. Its key deliverables will include:

In July 2000, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published its report "On the Record", which also included eight recommendations relating to crime recording and associated issues. As the two pieces of work serve to support a consistent view on the subject, it has been agreed to take forward work on the HMIC recommendations within the implementation of the Review of Crime Statistics.

Rail Station Safety

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent incidents against members of the public have taken place at (a) Wandsworth Town

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railway station and (b) Wandsworth Common railway station in the last month; and what action the Metropolitan police have taken to deal with such incidents. [156172]

Mr. Hill: I have been asked to reply.

The British Transport Police (BTP) are responsible for policing the railways. Between 1 January and 31 March only one notifiable offence of 'violence against the person' has been reported to the BTP. This was a robbery that occurred at Wandsworth Town station on 23 March. This incident is being investigated within Operation Fraser. This is an ongoing operation by the BTP following an increase in robberies throughout the South London area. It involves high profile uniform patrols, intelligence gathering and post incident investigation.

Police Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Gravesham (Mr. Pond) of 22 March 2001, Official Report, columns 323-28W, on police numbers, if the data provided for the period up to 31 January relied on projections of (a) overall numbers, (b) wastage, (c) recruitment or (d) other factors, in place of the actual outturn; [155938]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The figures published on 22 March were supplied by police forces. They were actual police and civilian full-time equivalent numbers as at 31 January 2001, not projections.

The quality of the January data is comparable with that in the standard Statistical Bulletins. All such returns are potentially subject to revision in the light of subsequent amendments received from forces. The revisions appear in subsequent Statistical Bulletins. The next return from forces will provide the six monthly figures from October 2000 to 31 March 2001.

The numbers were described as interim because they were produced between the normal publications for September 2000 and March 2001. They were not full year figures, nor did they purport to be projections of full year figures.

The statistics were produced by a special monitoring exercise undertaken by the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate. The exercise was

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to enable us to assess the impact on police service strength of the Crime Fighting Fund in its first year of operation, supported by details of recruitment and wastage. As the Crime Fighting Fund is in its first year of operation, the need for such an exercise has not previously arisen.

Details of police strength have been, and continue to be, provided in response to Parliamentary Questions.

Sex Abuse Inquiries

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police authorities are conducting sex abuse inquiries. [155970]

Mr. Charles Clarke: There is no central record of the number of forces currently conducting sex abuse inquiries. According to a database maintained by Gwent Police, 31 forces are currently carrying out investigations into allegations of historical child abuse.

Asylum Support

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the use of asylum support vouchers for the purchase of (a) cigarettes, (b) petrol and (c) items beyond basic necessities; and if he will make a statement. [156091]

Mrs. Roche: The Sodexho Pass vouchers supplied to asylum seekers supported by the National Asylum Support Service can be exchanged for any goods available in stores participating in the scheme. It is for asylum seekers to determine their individual requirements.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the food voucher system for asylum seekers. [156357]

Mrs. Roche: A review of the operation of the National Asylum Support Service's voucher scheme is under way.

Jewish Cemeteries

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of Jewish cemeteries that have been desecrated in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [156071]

Mr. Boateng: Information about offences in cemeteries is not held centrally, but I understand that a number of Jewish graves suffered damage last year in various parts of the country and that the details were reported to the police.

I deplore such desecration, whether racially motivated or not.


Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the activities of Al-Muhajiroun and Khalifah. [156070]

Mr. Straw: The Government are well aware of the statements made by the Al-Muhajiroun organisation. It would be a matter for the police to investigate whether any criminal offences had been committed.

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Departmental Policies (Southwark)

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the London borough of Southwark, the effects on the London borough of Southwark of his Department's policies and actions since May 2 1997. [155976]

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 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 those on recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested although set out are examples relating to the London borough of Southwark constituency or the immediate locality:

Targeted Policing Initiative

Under round 1 of the Targeted Policing Initiative the Metropolitan police in partnership with the London boroughs of Islington, Camden and Southwark were awarded £597,000 for a scheme covering these boroughs targeting autocrime through Operation Arrow, which is aimed at 'hotspots' in the three boroughs.

Under round 2 of the initiative the Metropolitan police were awarded £688,000 for a project covering Southwark to tackle hate crime. Methods used will include the creation of local self-help groups defined by cultural, ethnic or lifestyle profile and supported by a dedicated co-ordinator. The use of the rapid hate crime intervention officer will be available, who would have access to a range of evidence collection methods.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

London borough of Southwark was awarded approximately £850,000 for two schemes submitted under round 1 of the CCTV initiative. Housing CCTV Control Centre and Mobile CCTV Scheme was awarded £750,000 to provide a new control centre with the capacity to manage and record 500 cameras. In addition, 50 new mobile cameras will be situated in crime 'hotspots' across the borough. The scheme aims to significantly reduce overall crime, drug-related crime and burglary.

The Car Park Vehicle Crime Prevention Scheme was awarded £100,000 for a 26 camera system, covering six car parks across the borough. The scheme aims to reduce all vehicle crime in the target area by 80 per cent. over three years.

Reducing Burglary Initiative (RBI)

The Metropolitan police in conjunction with the London borough of Southwark were awarded £65,000 under round 1 of the RBI, for a scheme in the West Camberwell area. Interventions include: establishment of

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a lock-fitting service to target burglary victims and vulnerable properties and establishment of a detached youth project. The quality of service to victims has been improved and a problem solving approach to burglary and improvements in relevant monitoring and communication systems is being developed. £65,000 was awarded to a scheme in the Parkside Plus area correcting physical vulnerability of vulnerable estates in the target area. It is also helping to develop new ways of working with offenders in the area.

Under round 2 of the RBI, approximately £30,000 was awarded for a scheme in the Herne Hill and Croxted road, West Dulwich areas. This project aimed to tackle situational vulnerability and unmarked property by using electronic alarms and property marking as well as increasing neighbourhood watch activity. £153,000 was awarded for a scheme in the North Southwark Corridor. The scheme aims to improve property marking and to work with offenders and work towards community building.

Youth Offending

Southwark Youth Offending Team (YOT) covers the London borough of Southwark. The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is contributing funding for five intervention schemes and one Bail Supervision Scheme. Approximately £170,000 is being used to fund a Restorative Justice Conferencing Project. Southwark Mediation Centre works with the YOT to provide direct and indirect victim-offender mediation and family group conferencing services. Family Group Conferencing is offered to young people remanded into local authority accommodation, young people subject to throughcare and young people made the subject of Action Plan Orders.

A Positive Parenting and Behavioural Change Programme includes the assessment of cognitive abilities. The YOT caseworkers provide consultation and life supervision via social skills training, anger management and cognitive behavioural interventions. The YJB are contributing £119,000 to this project. The YJB are also providing approximately £117,000 to an Appropriate Alternatives through Skills for Life (Cognitive Behaviour) programme. This project aims to provide integrated effective supervisory and mentoring support for 80 offenders.

Approximately £69,000 is being provided to fund a Development Officer scheme. The Development Officer facilitates cross-borough communication and ensures congruence in development of services. A Parent Support Group has been established with a YJB contribution of approximately £43,000. This project offers support and information to parents and carers of young people who are behaving in an anti-social or criminal manner. The YOT has supervised 26 Parenting Orders since April 2000 and has received positive feedback from parents attending these groups either voluntarily or as a condition of an Order. The YJB are also providing approximately £104,000 to a Bail Support Scheme, being run in partnership with National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. This has reduced the rate of re-offending while on bail, while also reducing the numbers of young people remanded into local authority accommodation, or custody.

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A functional team within the YOT is dedicated to providing preventative and early intervention services. A multi-agency Risk Management Panel has been established, designed to manage the risks presented to the public by a small number of prolific offenders, through an intelligence led approach. This activity will be supported by the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Project to be launched in July 2001. The YOT has provided and/or co-ordinated a number of crime reduction initiatives including innovative work in schools, alongside police officers, in support of Operation Arrow--a vehicle crime reduction project; the Youth Inclusion Programme in the Elephant and Castle area; and Midnight Basketball in partnership with the Youth Service and the National Playing Fields Association. The YOT provides groupwork programmes in schools for disaffected pupils at risk of exclusion and co-ordinates monthly truancy patrols, which have dealt successfully with over 200 truants in the past year.

Easter and Summer Splash Schemes have been run in the following estates: Aylesbury Estate, Rockingham; Astley Cooper estates; Heygate Estate and Peckham. These schemes were set up across England and Wales to address offending by young people (especially 13-17 year olds). The five areas traditionally associated with youth crime--burglary, motor crime, criminal damage, street robbery and juvenile nuisance all showed significant reductions compared with the corresponding period in the previous year. The combined drop for these crimes was 14 per cent.

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

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

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