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EU Meetings (Ministerial Attendance)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the dates of the European Union meetings attended by Ministers in his Department from 1 January onwards and the issues that were discussed at each meeting. [150]

Mr. Blunkett: There have been two formal Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Councils and one informal JHA Council since 1 January. All three Council were attended by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), the then Home Secretary, and my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche).

The informal JHA Council took place on 8-9 February 2001. The formal JHA Councils took place on 15-16 March and 28-29 May. I am placing the agendas of the formal council meetings in the Library. The Government reported the outcome of these meetings to the European Scrutiny Committee in accordance with the usual arrangements. The issues discussed at the informal Council were: a review of progress on implementing the Tampere European Council Conclusions; JHA aspects of EU enlargement; illegal immigration via the Western Balkans; EU Common Asylum policy; trafficking in human beings, including women and children; and mutual recognition of civil law decisions.

In addition, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) attended a Youth Council meeting on 28 May to discuss the proposal for a Commission White Paper on youth issues.

Police Numbers (Kent)

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the police establishment is for the West Kent and North Kent police areas; and how many officers are serving in these areas. [266]

Mr. Denham: The powers of the Home Secretary to set police establishment levels for each force were removed under the Police and Magistrates Courts Act 1994. It is for the chief officer to determine staffing levels within the overall resources available.

I have been informed by the Chief Constable that the establishment level set by the force, and the actual numbers of officers serving in West Kent and North Kent police are as in the table.

North KentWest Kent
Force establishment352250
Actual349254


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Proceeds of Crime Bill

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the responses to his Department's consultation on the draft Proceeds of Crime Bill (Cm 5066). [194]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Yes, I shall do so shortly, except where respondents have asked for their comments to be treated in confidence.

Victims Charter

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the responses to his Department's consultation, 'A Review of the Victims Charter'. [191]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Yes. Copies of the responses will be placed in the Library as soon as possible, except where respondents have specifically requested that their contribution should be treated confidentially.

Pitch Invasions

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many persons have been (a) arrested and (b) charged by West Yorkshire police in connection with the pitch invasion at Headingley Cricket Ground on 17 June; and if he will make a statement; [762]

Mr. Denham: West Yorkshire police arrested five people and charged two for public order offences and one for assault in connection with the match at Headingley. Inquiries are continuing in respect of the attack on a steward. Nottinghamshire police arrested six people and charged four for public order offences in connection with the match at Trent Bridge.

Extradition

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the responses to his Department's consultation, 'The Law on Extradition: A Review'. [195]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I intend to provide the House with the disclosable results of the consultation along with my Department's response later in the year.

Corruption (Law Reform)

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the responses to his Department's consultation on reform of the criminal law of corruption in England and Wales (Cm 4759). [196]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Full responses have been placed in the Library and will be held there for six months.

Best Value

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from

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police forces about Best Value Performance Indicator 131; for what reason the indicator was retained for 2001-02; and if he will abolish it in 2002-03. [153]

Mr. Denham: Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) 131 measures the throughput and quality of files from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

BVPI 131 was included in the suite for 2000-01 and 2001-02 to measure the police contribution to timely and effective processing of prosecution files.

Initial consultation with partners on the BVPIs for 2002-03 has recently ended, and the Association of Police Authorities (APA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (ACPO) have made various representations for amendments, deletions and additions to the present BVPI suite. No decision has yet been taken on any of the BVPI or 2002-03--these will be the subject of a consultation document which is likely to be issued shortly.

Police Standards Unit

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his proposal for a police standards unit; and what powers the unit will have to issue directions to police forces about operational matters. [154]

Mr. Denham: The Standards Unit will drive up performance and ensure that best practice is applied throughout England and Wales. It will draw on the work of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and engage directly with police at the local level. Plans for the Unit are being worked up as a priority. Operational matters will remain the responsibility of Chief Officers.

Police Pensions

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his plans for reform of police pension arrangements. [159]

Mr. Denham: I will be considering a range of issues relating to police pension arrangements in the coming months.

Detective Expertise

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his plans to allow specialist detective expertise to be built up using outside experts; what types of detective work this will apply to; and what types of outside experts will be employed. [219]

Mr. Denham: "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead", presented to Parliament in February by my right hon. Friend the then Home Secretary, said that where there are gaps which cannot be filled by experience or potential within the service, then there should be opportunities to recruit people with relevant specialist skills in other fields whether from the private or public sector. We are discussing with the police service what the need is and how best to meet it.

Criminal Justice and Police Act

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring into force sections (a) 38,

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(b) 46 and 47 and (c) 71 and 72 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 with immediate effect; and if he will make a statement about his plans to bring into force those parts of the Act which have not yet been brought into force. [161]

Mr. Denham: We plan to bring section 46 into force on 1 September, and sections 38, 71 and 72 on 1 October. Prior to implementation we shall issue guidance to the police, courts and other agencies who will be involved in the implementation of those provisions. We will announce our plans for implementation of other parts of the Act in due course.

Private Security Personnel

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the accountability of private security personnel to (a) their employers and (b) the relevant chief officer of police, in relation to paragraph 3.159 of "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead" (Cm 5074); and if he will make a statement. [160]

Mr. Denham: Private security personnel contributing to public safety remain accountable to their employers. They are not directly managed by, nor accountable to, the relevant chief police officer, although there is scope for their activities to be co-ordinated with police work.


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