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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional discretion in the conduct of their duties has been devolved to prison governors over the last four years; and if he will make a statement. 
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Beverley Hughes: We keep the balance between a prison governor's local autonomy and direction from headquarters under constant review. In the last four years, prison governors have been given additional discretion in the conduct of their duties in a number of areas including:
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the prisons which have been reprofiled in the last four years; and what change there was in the number of jobs recommended in each reprofiling exercise. 
Beverley Hughes: The information sought is not available centrally and could be acquired only at disproportionate cost.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many days off sick were taken by police officers in (a) 199697, (b) 199798, (c) 19992000 and (d) 200001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: The number of days taken off sick by police officers are set out in the table.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
We are currently considering, with stakeholders, how we can improve the fitness, the readiness and the availability of the police service as part of the police reform process.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the manpower available to the Metropolitan Police SO19 specialist firearms unit. 
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Mr. Denham: The allocation of resources within the Metropolitan Police Service is a matter for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. As at 31 August, SO19's actual strength was 335.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his plans to allow civilians to carry out policing and detection tasks. 
Mr. Denham: Two key objectives of the police reform programme are to ensure modern working practices and the highest standards of detective capability. Civilians already carry out many tasks in support of policing and there is potential for them to do more. Issues about how the reform process might be used to develop the part civilians play within policing remain under discussion with representatives of the service.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to create a national register of drug dealers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We gave a manifesto commitment to create a register of drug dealers. We are currently considering the options for creating such a register, and consulting with the enforcement agencies on the practicalities.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many serving constables there were in the Essex police force (a) in 1997 and (b) on the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Denham: Information on police numbers is collected twice a year on 31 March and 30 September. The Essex police had 2,269 constables on 31 March 1997 and 2,234 constables on 31 March 2001.
The Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) is providing Essex police with 197 CFF posts over the three-year period 200001 to 200203. Essex police plan to recruit 132 CFF posts this year. All these will be constables.
Essex police employed 1,199 civilian staff in March 1997 and 1,447 in March 2001.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines have been issued to police forces on the criteria used in determining cases to be reviewed because of new evidence becoming available, with particular reference to DNA proofing techniques; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 20 July 2001]: There are no general guidelines issued to police forces on the criteria for determining which cases should be reviewed. Forces make decisions based on the circumstances of individual cases and the nature of the new evidence which has become available.
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The Forensic Science Service advises forces when new techniques emerge which may be relevant to unsolved cases. The Association of Chief Police Officers provides guidance to forces on reviewing unsolved murders where there is an issue of new evidence.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women were sent to prison by courts in England and Wales during each of the last three years. 
Beverley Hughes: The available information, taken from the Home Office's Court Proceedings Database, is given in the table.
Immediate custody comprises unsuspended imprisonment, detention in a young offender institution, secure training orders and detention under section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
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Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many petrol station bilking incidents in each of the last five years in which police were involved occurred in (a) England and (b) Luton; 
(3) if he will estimate the cost of police involvement in bilking at petrol stations in each of the past five years in (a) England and (b) Wales. 
Mr. Denham: The statistics collected centrally do not include the circumstances of the offence so that offences of making off without payment (bilking) from petrol stations cannot be distinguished from similar offences at other premises.
The number of such incidents, the percentage of such incidents being attended by the police and the estimated cost to the police are therefore not centrally available.
The table provides information from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database and shows the total number of prosecutions for making off without payment (bilking) in England, Wales and in the Luton Petty Sessional Area.
|England||Apprehension/Summons by the police||1,491||1,425||1,493||1,621||1,832|
|Summons other than by police||17||18||13||8||6|
|Wales||Apprehension/Summons by the police||117||88||110||140||149|
|Summons other than by police||||1||1|||||
|Luton Petty Sessional Area||Apprehension/Summons by the police||3||4||4||3||8|
|Summons other than by police|||||||||||
(28) Theft Act 1978, Section 3
Home Office Crime and Criminal Justice Unit
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