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Closed Circuit Television (Bolton)

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effect closed circuit television cameras have had on the crime levels in Bolton. [159838]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: Police operational experience and various research studies show that Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) has considerable crime reduction and detection potential, particularly when used as part of a wider strategy.

No formal independent evaluation of CCTV in Bolton has yet been undertaken. However, the Bolton Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership consider that CCTV has contributed to the 7 per cent. fall in recorded crime in Bolton last year.

The value of the Bolton town centre and car parks CCTV scheme in helping the police control and direct resources was demonstrated during a concerted effort to reduce crime in the town centre during Christmas 2000 shopping period. Reductions of 10 per cent. in street crime and 80 per cent. in vehicle crime were achieved in crime hot-spots compared with the previous Christmas.

During the past year, incidents of anti-social behaviour reported in the residential areas of Bolton covered by CCTV reduced by 75 per cent.

Under the current CCTV Initiative, coverage in Bolton is being enhanced. The Partnership is close to implementing two schemes providing coverage in residential areas and has been invited to prepare final proposals for two further residential schemes. Potential awards could reach nearly £420,000. The schemes will need to have been in place for at least 12 months before their impact can be fully evaluated. Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships will also be evaluating schemes locally.

Departmental Research

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the research undertaken by his Department by subject, indicating where the research was undertaken, by whom it was carried out, and the cost of each piece of research since 1996. [159793]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office research department undertakes a wide range of research activities that support the development of information-led policy, including scientific and engineering research, market and opinion research and social research.

The Research Development and Statistics Directorate (RDS) conducts social research supporting all seven Home Office aims.

The Science and Technology Unit sponsors scientific research in support of the police.

The Fire Research and Development Group (FRDG) undertake research in support of Home Office aim 7. The Fire and Emergency Planning Directorate has also conducted a range of social research.

The Emergency Planning Research Group (EPRG) carries out a wide mix of research, both intra-mural and extra-mural, in support of Home Office aim 7. The research findings are used to formulate evidence-based policy of promoting the co-ordination and development of effective national arrangements for integrated emergency management.

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For the available information on market and opinion research, including that conducted by the Communication Directorate, I refer to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) on 25 May 2000, Official Report, column 623W.

The Assessment and Consultancy Unit (ACU) undertook research indirectly in support of Aims 1, 3, 4 and 7, via their research into selection and development issues affecting Police, Fire and Prison Services, also currently some research for the Cabinet Office.

In addition the Home Office has undertaken the following research:

I have arranged for the following more detailed information on the Home Office research programme to be placed in the Library:

Some of the information requested such as more detailed breakdown costs by project and where research was undertaken are not held centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Airwave Communications System

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) of 27 March 2001, Official Report, column 589W, on the Airwave communications system, if he will make a statement on the progress being made on the reviews being conducted by the Health and Safety Executive, the Defence Evaluation Research Agency, the National Radiological Protection Board and the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme; and when he expects the results of each review to be published. [159976]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 1 May 2001]: The Health and Safety Executive have conducted an independent assessment, commissioned by the Lancashire Police Federation, of the potential health risks associated with the Airwave service. The report concludes that, on the basis of available information and on calculations

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carried out, the new portable and mobile transmitters should not affect the health of persons using the equipment.

The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) have begun preparatory work for their investigation. DERA will report on progress every quarter. The final report should be available in early May 2002 after the main study has been concluded. The work allows further research to be carried out in light of the results from the main study. The report from this additional study, if it is required, should be available by August 2002.

The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) has commissioned a review from their Advisory Group on Non-ionising radiation (AGNIR). The AGNIR are well advanced in the process of preparing material for their report. The AGNIR report will require clearance by the NRPB board before it is released. It is anticipated that the report will be available for the NRPB's board meeting in July if not sooner.

If, during the course of the DERA and NRPB studies, commissioned by the Home Office, any issue arises which suggests a risk to health, it will be made public without awaiting the publication of final reports. However, the Stewart Report said that:

The Health Research Programme has been initiated by the Government in response to the Stewart Report on mobile phone health issues, and is focusing on emerging technologies. I anticipate that further research, in areas that are directly relevant to the technology used in Airwave, will be undertaken within the independent Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme. If future research is undertaken, the results will be published as soon as possible.

Asylum Appeals

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the current time taken for asylum appeals is from being received by the Appeals Support Section to final determination; and if he will make a statement. [159922]

Mrs. Roche: We record the date of receipt into the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), not the date received by the Appeals Support Section of IND, on our systems and therefore the data requested are not available. However, for the 12 months ending 31 March 2001, data from the Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA) for those cases where data are available indicate that the average time taken from receipt of an asylum appeal by IND, to the appeal being decided through both tiers of the authority, was approximately 28 weeks.

Strip Searches (Prisons)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many strip searches of (a) women, (b) men and (c) children have been conducted in the past 12 months by authorised personnel attached to the (i) Prison Service, (ii) the police, (iii) Customs and Excise and (iv) other bodies. [159552]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: Information on the number of strip searches conducted by authorised personnel attached to the Prison Service, the police or any other body is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

Information relating to Customs and Excise is a matter for Ministers in Her Majesty's Treasury.

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