Previous Section Index Home Page


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the percentage of heroin imported into Britain that originates from (a) Taliban controlled Afghanistan, (b) Northern Alliance controlled Afghanistan, (c) Burma and (d) other countries. [13723]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: In the years prior to the ban on opium production introduced by the Taliban in July 2000 about 95 per cent. of Afghanistan's annual opium production originated in Taliban controlled areas. We estimate that over 90 per cent. of heroin which was imported to the United Kingdom was made from opium produced in Afghanistan. The amounts originating from opium produced in other parts of the world in the same years was very small.

CCTV (Dudley)

Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the impact of CCTV on the level of crime in Dudley town centre and Sedgley. [13969]

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

Under round one of the Crime Reduction Programme CCTV Initiative, the Home Office funded a CCTV scheme in Sedgley town centre costing £25,450 and one in Stafford Street Car Park, Dudley town centre, costing £46,342. These came into operation in December 2000 and January 2001 respectively.

The Home Office has made no formal evaluation of the effectiveness of CCTV in either of these areas. However analysis by the local police suggests that CCTV has contributed to the reduction in recorded crime of 13.6 per cent. in Dudley and 22.8 per cent. in Sedgley between June 2000 and June 2001. There will be a more detailed review of the effectiveness of the Home Office funded schemes after the first full year of operation.

Salah Idris

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the role of Salah Idris in security companies engaged at sensitive sites in the United Kingdom. [13678]

Mr. Denham: This issue was raised in another place on 9 October 2000 and 3 May this year. The position remains unchanged.

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 244W


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much he estimates has been payable under the firearms compensation scheme. [13930]

Mr. Denham: There were 72,000 claims received from 55,000 individuals who handed in 162,198 handguns and 700 tonnes of ammunition under the terms of the firearms compensation scheme.

Compensation payments currently stand at just over £90 million.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he will take to ensure that lessons can be learned from incidents involving the police use of firearms. [17028]

Mr. Denham: Under section 79 (1) of the Police Act 1996 I have requested the Police Complaints Authority to report to me on the lessons to be learned from recent incidents. The terms of reference of that review will be:

The Police Complaints Authority have already begun work on this review, and I have asked them to report within six months. The report will be laid before Parliament and published.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what statistics he collates on the time for applications for firearms and shotgun licences to be processed, from the time they are submitted to the time they are approved and returned to the applicant by firearms departments of police forces. [13457]

Mr. Denham: The Home Office statistical bulletin on firearm certificates provides information on the overall number of certificates on issue or refused. There is no routine collection of statistics on processing times. The collection of such management information is a matter for individual chief officers of police who are responsible for administering the certification process.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines he issues on the number of people employed in firearms departments of police forces; and what steps he takes to ensure that these are complied with. [13458]

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 245W

Mr. Denham: None. It is for individual chief officers of police to determine how particular departments should be staffed.

Under the provision of the Local Government Act 1999 all forces are required to carry out a five year rolling programme of best value reviews of all areas of business. The outcome is examined by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in accordance with their inspection protocols and the results made available through the appropriate police authority.

Departmental Events

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) national and (b) international awareness events his Department has participated in since June 1997 in the form of (i) sponsorship, (ii) departmental attendance, (iii) similar departmental activities and (iv) a message of support. [5045]

Mr. Blunkett: Home Office Ministers and officials participate in a wide range of national and international events in support of Home Office policies, both in the United Kingdom and internationally. Our aim is to build a safe, just and tolerant society and the Home Office is involved in a wide range of initiatives to support this. To set out a full list of all these events would incur disproportionate cost, so I am providing an overview of Home Office activity to show how we are seeking to achieve this aim.

Examples of Home Office initiatives include participation by Ministers and officials in crime reduction initiatives and conferences, such as the Neighbourhood Watch annual conference; participation in criminal justice and policing conferences, such as the annual conferences of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Police Superintendents' Association and the Police Federation. The Home Office, in conjunction with community and voluntary sector organisations, is also leading the way to promote active communities in the United Kingdom. The Home Office has sponsored and attended a range of voluntary sector activities, such as the annual Philip Lawrence Awards, and the launch of Parents' Week in October 2001. An important area is promoting race equality and ministerial colleagues and I have supported and attended a number of conferences and events to underline the Government's commitment to racial equality and effective race relations. The Home Office also supported the 1997 European Year against Racism and the United Nations' World Conference on Racism in 2001.

On the international front, Home Office Ministers and officials regularly attend European Union Councils, working groups and other activities in the conduct of justice and home affairs business and promoted a range of events during the United Kingdom presidency of the European Union in 1998. Officials and police representatives are also engaged in a wide range of co-operation and training with other countries.

A key objective for the United Kingdom is to ensure that the accession of new member states to the European Union does not adversely affect the safety of our citizens. The Home Office is involved in "Twinning", a European Union-funded programme which enables experts from current and future European Union member states to work

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 246W

in partnership, sharing expertise and implementing the candidates' new European Union-compliant legislation. For example last year we successfully implemented a project to improve the quality of Poland's management of its eastern border and the effectiveness of its police force. Experts from the United Kingdom Forensic Science Service, National Criminal Intelligence Service and National Crime Squad worked with Dutch, French and German colleagues to deliver training and advice that will have a real and lasting effect.

The Home Office has led projects in the Czech Republic to improve relations with the Roma community and to help their authorities combat organised and financial crime. In conjunction with our law enforcement agencies, we are also leading projects in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

In a major step towards stemming the flow of illegal immigrants to Europe, the first team of European Union immigration experts has started work in Sarajevo. The team, the majority British immigration officials, will work alongside colleagues from the Bosnian State Border Service, providing on-the-job training and advice.

In July 2000, the anti-drugs twinning project between the United Kingdom and Bulgaria (European Union Phare sponsored) was launched in Sofia and was attended by Home Office officials.

Next Section Index Home Page