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Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vacancies there were for police officers in the Devon and Cornwall constabulary in (a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2001. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The information has been provided by the Chief Constable and is set out in the table. It compares the actual number of officers in post with the police authority's budgeted provision. The number of funded police posts has not been increased due to civilianisation of support posts that were previously filled by police officers. Between December 1992 and 31 January 2001 civilian support staff numbers in Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have increased by 380 to 1,428.
|Year||Number of funded police posts||Actual number of police officers(65)||Vacancies|
(65) Before 1 April 1995 police numbers were counted on head basis. Since April 1995 they have been counted on a full-time equivalent basis.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 128W
police establishments in 1995 it became a matter for police authorities and chief constables to decide on police numbers. For 1997 and 2001 the information on vacancies has been provided by the Chief Constable.
|Year||Budgeted police strength(66)||Actual strength(66)||Vacancies|
|31 March 1992||3,202||3,206||0 (+4)|
|31 March 1997||3,486||3,452||34|
|31 January 2001||(67)3,573||3,451||122|
(66) Before 1 April 1995 police numbers were counted on head basis. Since April 1995 they have been counted on a full-time equivalent basis.
(67) The Budgeted police strength figure for January 2001 includes Crime Fighting Fund posts (82 posts).
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officer recruits in England and Wales began residential training during (a) 1999-2000 and (b) 2000-01; and if he will provide figures for each police force area. 
Mr. Straw: Figures provided by National Police Training (NPT) and by the Metropolitan police record that 3,963 new recruits began residential training during 1999-2000 and 7,009 new recruits began residential training during 2000-01, an increase of 76.9 per cent.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 127W
|Region||Force||Recruits starting residential training 1999-2000||Recruits starting residential training 2000-01||Change (Number)||Change (Percentage)|
|East Midlands Region||253||530||277||109.5|
|City of London||0||28||28||N/A|
|North East Region||193||377||184||95.3|
|North West Region||441||825||384||87.1|
|South East Region||718||1,080||362||50.4|
|South West Region||293||529||236||80.5|
|Avon and Somerset||87||146||59||67.8|
|Devon and Cornwall||70||170||100||142.9|
|West Midlands Region||298||780||482||161.7|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||195||523||328||168.2|
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 129W
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 129W
Mr. Boateng: In addition to existing work with the Prince's Trust in several young offender institutions, I am pleased to announce a new joint initiative, running for 12 months between the Prison Service and the Prince's Trust.
We plan to run the Trust's Volunteers programme for young adult offenders in six prisons--Chelmsford, Gloucester, Leeds, Liverpool, New Hall, Norwich and at Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution Reading.
The purpose of the Volunteers programme is to assist in the personal development of young people. The aim of this initiative is to replicate the scheme's current record, as assessed by the Trust, of moving 70 per cent. of unemployed participants on the programme into full-time employment, training or education within three months of completing the programme for this challenging group of young people.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to inform blind and visually impaired people of the new procedures to assist independent voting for blind and partially sighted people. 
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 130W
voting device and the large print display ballot paper at polling stations. The device was featured on the BBC Radio 4 "In Touch" programme on 3 and 10 April, including an interview I gave on the subject.
The braille and audio tape versions of a leaflet on postal voting, "Make your voice heard", also contain information about the new voting procedures at polling stations for blind and partially sighted voters.
Electoral administrators have been encouraged to make contact with local organisations representing the visually impaired to organise demonstrations of the voting device. The RNIB has been closely involved in the development of the device and has assisted in publicising the new voting procedures.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the full-time equivalent number of officers was who (a) transferred out of Metropolitan police and (b) were seconded to other forces as a result of the major boundary changes in 2000; and if he will provide a figure for the number of officers in the Metropolitan police, taking the changes into account, immediately prior to the boundary change which is comparable with subsequent equivalent figures. 
Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 10 April 2001]: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that between 1 January 1999 and 6 April 2001, 108 officers transferred to the Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey forces.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 131W
I am also told by the Commissioner that 466 police officers were seconded to the forces of Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey when the boundary change took effect on 1 April 2000. These officers will return to the Metropolitan police over the following two years as and when replacements are recruited by the three county forces.
The effects of the boundary change were incorporated into the police funding formula and the overall transfer was in terms of financial resources, not of officers. Where data on police numbers are used in the formula, a notional transfer of 887 from the Metropolitan police to the three county forces was applied. Because it is for police authorities and Chief Constables to decide how resources are utilised, it is not appropriate to convert the notional transfer directly into a full-time equivalent strength for the Metropolitan police immediately prior to the boundary changes.
Between 31 March and 30 September 2000, the strength of the Metropolitan police fell by 790, to 24,695. This will have been due to a combination of boundary change resources and the temporary secondments to Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey. By 31 January 2001, the numbers of officers in the Metropolitan police had risen to 24,861, 166 more than on 30 September 2000.
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