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Murdered Children

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children murdered in each of the last five years had child contact orders extant. [3830]

Mr. Denham: There is no information held centrally on numbers of children murdered who were the subject of child contact orders.

Criminal Proceeds

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the financial benefits from the confiscation of criminals' assets are apportioned between police forces which seize the assets and the Treasury; and how this apportionment will change under the Government's legislative proposals. [2350]

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Mr. Denham: Under the Confiscated Assets Fund (CAF), which the Government established on a non-statutory basis in April 1999, a proportion of receipts from confiscation orders made against persons convicted of drug trafficking is recycled into projects in support of the Anti-Drugs Strategy. Projects funded by the CAF cover all four strands of the strategy including law enforcement projects.

The Government intend to replace the CAF with a new Recovered Assets Fund. This is to be financed by up to 50 per cent. of all confiscation, cash forfeiture and (assuming enactment of the Proceeds of Crime Bill) civil recovery receipts. Both drug trafficking and non-drug trafficking receipts will be included. The fund, which will again operate on a non-statutory basis, will be used primarily to support the Anti-Drugs and Asset Recovery Strategies. It will also provide additional funding for community regeneration and local crime reduction projects.

Petty Crime

Dr. Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his proposed petty crime busting scheme; what assessment he has made of the impact of the scheme on Castle Point; and what proportion of the funding will go to Castle Point. [1850]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 3 July 2001]: I assume the hon. Member is referring to the Capital Modernisation Fund project to assist small retailers in deprived areas, which I announced on 27 June.

The problem of crime affecting small retailers, particularly in deprived areas, is one which was highlighted in the report of the Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action Team 13, which considered access to decent shopping facilities. The Retail Crime Reduction Action Team has also been examining this issue in conjunction with organisations which represent small retailers, with a view to developing schemes which may be able to assist those businesses.

We are providing funding of £15 million over three years for a project to improve security of small retailers in the most deprived areas throughout England and Wales, with £3 million to be spent this financial year and £6 million for each of the years 2002–03 and 2003–04. We will be working with local communities to identify specific sites which can most benefit from the scheme. This may include shopping parades, individual shops or a combination of both. The money will be used to help small retailers to enhance security of their premises by installing additional locks or shutters, or may be used to make improvements to their immediate environments. We aim to maximise the value and effectiveness of these schemes by ensuring, wherever possible, that they complement other existing schemes designed to improve the quality of life of a neighbourhood.

The regional funding allocation and the specific sites which will benefit from the scheme will be announced in due course.

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Hertfordshire Police

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were serving in the Hertsmere division of the Hertfordshire police force on (a) 1 April 2000 and (b) 1 April 2001. [3630]

Mr. Denham: I understand from the Chief Constable that the Hertsmere division had 132 officers on 1 April 2000 and 130 officers on 1 April 2001.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many secondees from the Metropolitan police force have returned to the Metropolitan force from Hertsmere in each month since 1 January; how many secondees are due to return; how many officers have been allocated to Hertsmere by the Hertfordshire force to replace them; and how many more it is planned to allocate to Hertsmere to replace the secondees. [3629]

Mr. Denham: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the number of secondees to the Hertfordshire Constabulary who have returned to the Metropolitan police since 1 January is:

MonthNumber of officers

All secondees are expected to return to the Metropolitan police by 31 March 2002.

I am told by the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire that the policing structure of the county is changing and will be based on the National Intelligence Model. This means the force will no longer be comparing like with like as the structure in existence on 1 April 2000, when the boundary changes were implemented, will be replaced. The Hertsmere division will be combined with two other divisions to become the Central Area with its management team based in Borehamwood. I am told that between 1 January and 1 July the number of Hertfordshire constables in Hertsmere has been doubled from 18 to 36 as Metropolitan police officers are replaced. The Chief Constable also has a programme in place to post more experienced officers to Hertsmere. He plans to have moved 32 such officers to Hertsmere by 1 October.

The Chief Constable will review the situation on 1 November to assess the requirement for further postings to Hertsmere. At this point there will remain 18 Metropolitan police secondees. Police officers will be deployed throughout the force area to reflect the operational priorities of the force.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many residents of Hertsmere were recruited into (a) the Hertfordshire police and (b) the Metropolitan force in the last year for which figures are available. [3632]

Mr. Denham: I am informed by Hertfordshire Constabulary that in the year 2000–01 three residents of Hertsmere were appointed to the force as new recruits.

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The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) inform me that information about the number of residents from Hertsmere joining the MPS is not regularly recorded.

Green Ministers

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on what date a Green Minister was first appointed in his Department; when subsequent appointments were made; and if he will make a statement; [3896]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 13 July 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 13 July 2001, Official Report, columns 689–90W.

Speed Cameras (Lancashire)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many speed cameras have been placed in (a) accident black spots and (b) elsewhere in Lancashire. [4291]

Mr. Denham: The Lancashire police force area has 69 fixed speed camera sites. I am informed that, in accordance with Home Office guidelines (HO Circular 38/1992), all 69 sites were selected to reduce high casualty rates at locations where the major contributory crash factor is excessive speed.

Security Industry Authority

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on the establishment of the Security Industry Authority. [4038]

Mr. Denham: The Private Security Industry Act 2001 provides for the establishment of a Security Industry Authority, which will license individuals employed in designated sectors of the security industry and approve companies.

Plans to implement the provisions of the Act are currently being drawn up with the aim of establishing the authority as soon as possible. Once established, the authority will draw up its licensing criteria and institute a rolling programme of licensing. The relevant provisions of the Act will then be brought into force by means of commencement orders when the authority is ready to begin its licensing operations.

Asylum Seekers

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply of 28 June 2001, Official Report, column 126W, on asylum seekers, if central records are maintained of the number of asylum seekers dispersed under the disperal arrangements of 1999; and what duty authorities concerned have to keep in touch with the dispersed persons. [2308]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 5 July 2001]: Records are not collected by the Home Office on the number of asylum seekers dispersed under the voluntary dispersal arrangements of 1999. Statistics on voluntary dispersal are collected by individual local authorities.

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The National Asylum Support Service has no power to require local authorities to remain in contact with the asylum seekers they are supporting. But local authorities need to keep in contact with those asylum seekers they have dispersed to ensure that they still have a duty to support them.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children have been detained in asylum-seeker detention facilities in each quarter of the last year; and how many were in detention on the last night for which figures are available. [1761]

Angela Eagle: Information on the number of children detained under Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 powers is not held centrally. The information is available only by the examination of individual case files at disproportionate cost.

Unaccompanied minors are detained only in the most exceptional circumstances and then only overnight with appropriate care. Children and young persons may be cared for in detention centres as part of a family unit in preference to separating them from their parents. Where this occurs, such family units are held together in appropriate family accommodation within the detention centre. There may also be a small number of cases of detained persons who claim to be minors but where the available evidence strongly suggests that they are in fact adults: such persons may be treated as adults until the contrary is established and may be detained as such.

Family accommodation is currently available only at Tinsley House Detention Centre and Oakington Reception Centre. The latest information provided by these two centres indicates that for the period 16 to 22 June a total of 28 children had been detained at Oakington as dependants of families held there while their asylum claims were considered, while during the month of June

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Tinsley House accommodated 23 child dependants in family accommodation and the average length of stay was two nights.

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