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Energy Efficiency Week

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action his Department took in recognition of energy efficiency week. [11519]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 30 October 2001, Official Report, column 592W.

The Department for Work and Pensions is actively involved in an overall cross-government programme designed to lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. We are currently working with our estates and service partners, Land Securities Trillium, to implement a number of capital investment projects designed to improve energy efficiency throughout the estate. Further to this, the Department is in the process of developing an overarching environmental awareness campaign for staff, that will include energy efficiency good practice while at work and links will be promoted with the work of the Energy Savings Trust.

Medical Assessments

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of C grade medical reports fail to meet his Department's standards by (a) 10 per cent. and (b) five per cent. broken down by disability benefit centre in each of the last three years. [11903]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested.

Medical quality targets were set in June 2000, in the Government's response to the Social Security Committee report on medical services. The target in relation to C grade medical reports was: within six months to reduce the proportion of C grade reports by 10 per cent.; and within one year to reduce the proportion of C grade reports across all benefits to less than 5 per cent.

Performance against the target is monitored at national and at contract package level. All contract package areas (north, south-east, and south-west) have met both the six month and the one year target.

7 Nov 2001 : Column: 315W

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the rate of medical examinations by SEMA is in respect of (a) incapacity and (b) disability benefits. [11901]

Malcolm Wicks: In the 12 months ending 31 September 2001, there were 428,232 IB examinations and 235,549 DLA/AA examinations carried out.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Passports (Confiscation)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will remove the passports of individuals who have expressed an intention to go to (a) Afghanistan and (b) Pakistan to fight against British or US armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [8655]

Angela Eagle: The courts have distinct statutory powers to order the surrender of passports belonging to football hooligans and drug offenders but, in general, the power of the Secretary of State to refuse or withdraw passport facilities is limited to certain categories which have previously been announced in Parliament. These include:


I will carefully consider the individual circumstances of any cases which appear to fall into this category.

Police Pensions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to fund police pensions over the next 10 years. [9974]

Mr. Denham: We have no plans to change the manner of funding of police pensions at present. However, we are aware of police authorities' concern over the increasing burden of the funding of pensions. The Home Office and Treasury will be keeping the situation under review.

Justice and Home Affairs Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the outcome was of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels on 16 October; what the Government's stance was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. [10368]

Mr. Denham: I represented the United Kingdom at the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in Luxembourg on 16 October. The purpose of the Council was to consider key issues on the two main anti-terrorism instruments presented by the Commission at the special JHA Council on 20 September, both of which are scheduled for adoption at the JHA Council on 6–7 December.

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Framework Decision on European Arrest Warrant

The principal issue considered was the intended scope of the warrant, in particular the abolition of dual criminality for offences covered by the framework decision.

Member states expressed a range of views on dual criminality and on the way in which offences should be defined for the purpose of operating the warrant.

The Council also noted the work in hand to identify the appropriate procedures for serving and enforcing the European arrest warrant.

Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism

The Council examined two aspects of the draft framework decision on combating terrorism: penalties and jurisdiction.

A number of member states expressed difficulty over the Commission's proposal for common minimum/maximum penalties for those terrorist offences defined in the framework decision.

On jurisdiction, member states expressed concern about possible conflicts of jurisdiction if extra-territorial jurisdiction within the European Union were provided for.

The Presidency concluded that further work should be undertaken and that these issues should be discussed again at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 16 November, in order to meet the commitment to adoption in December.

Police Numbers (Staffordshire)

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with the chief constable on police numbers in Staffordshire. [10289]

Mr. Denham: I have not had any discussions with the chief constable about police numbers in Staffordshire.

On 31 August, Staffordshire police had 2,212 officers, 83 more than in March 2001. The force had 935 civilian support staff at March 2001; this is an increase of 173 since March 1997 and 77 since March 2000.

Under the crime fighting fund (CFF) recruitment initiative, Staffordshire police have been allocated a total of 146 additional recruits, over and above their existing recruitment plans for the three years to March 2003.

In 2000–01, Staffordshire police recruited all 49 of their CFF allocation. The force expects to recruit all its second year CFF allocation of 51 in 2001–02. Staffordshire has been allocated a further 46 CFF recruits in 2002–03.

Asylum Seekers

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to collect data on the number of asylum seekers who have their asylum applications rejected on the grounds of non-compliance, broken down by the reason for non-compliance. [10722]

Angela Eagle: Data are collected centrally and published showing the number of applications refused on non-compliance grounds as a whole. This is not broken down into specific reasons for non-compliance. This information could be obtained only at a disproportionate

7 Nov 2001 : Column: 317W

cost. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the main reasons for refusing an asylum claim on non-compliance grounds are:




Police Numbers (Cheshire)

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) police constables there were in the Cheshire constabulary in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2001. [11074]

Mr. Denham: The information requested has been provided by the chief constable of Cheshire constabulary and is set out in the table.

YearPolice OfficersConstables
31 March 19972,0461,590
31 March 20012,0021,533
30 September 20012,0581,575

Under the crime fighting fund (CFF) recruitment initiative, Cheshire police have been allocated a total of 147 additional recruits, over and above their existing recruitment plans for the three years to March 2003. Cheshire police recruited 21 of its CFF allocation in 2000–01.

Cheshire constabulary employed 735 civilian staff in March 1997 and 833 in March 2001.

Motorcycle Theft

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government have to target motorcycle theft. [11659]

Mr. Denham: Motorcycle theft is included within the national target to reduce vehicle crime by 30 per cent. over the five year period April 1999 to March 2004.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service has received additional Government funding to run a project aimed at tackling organised motorcycle theft. Crime prevention messages specifically aimed at motorcyclists have been included in the current phase of the national vehicle crime reduction communications campaign. Local authorities now have powers to provide secure parking for motorcycles under the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 (as amended). The Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 provides for statutory regulation of the motor salvage industry which will help prevent vehicles, including motorcycles, from being stolen to be broken up for spare parts or "rung" (ie taking on the identities of vehicles which have been written off in accidents).


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