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Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many civil servants have been seconded from other Government Departments to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate this year to help reduce the immigration casework backlog; and at what Civil Service grade. 
Angela Eagle: There are currently 18 staff on loan to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate as a whole from other Government Departments, helping it to achieve its key business objectives. The grades (or equivalents) are as follows: four members of the Senior Civil Service, one Grade Six, five Grade Sevens, six Senior Executive Officers, one Higher Executive Officer (D) and one Higher Executive Officer.
Angela Eagle: The number of caseworkers in the Integrated Casework Directorate (the casework directorate of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate) increased by 463 between 19 February 2001 and 31 October 2001. Information to distinguish casework staff was not collected prior to 19 February.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what resources have been provided since 1999 to finance the Art and Antiques Squad and the national database relating to stolen works of art. [20007R]
Mr. Denham: The only police art and antiques unit is that operated by the Metropolitan police, which is financed from the general resources provided to the Metropolitan Police Service. There is no national database relating to stolen works of art, although the Metropolitan police art and antiques unit does maintain a database of stolen works of art which may be used to provide information for other police forces.
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Metropolitan police officers left the service in the last month for which figures are available; and how many of these (a) retired for
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reasons other than sickness, (b) retired sick, (c) transferred to another police force and (d) left early to take other employment. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 5 December 2001]: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis informs me that the number of officers set out in the table left the Metropolitan Police Service in October 2001.
|Reason for leaving||Number(45)|
|Transfer to another force||39.36|
(45) Full-time equivalents
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Metropolitan police recruits there were undertaking 18 weeks training and 10 weeks street duty course in the last month for which figures are available. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 5 December 2001]: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis informs me that on 23 November 2001 (the date of the last passing out parade) there were 933 recruits undertaking the 18 week training course.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 28 November 2001, Official Report, column 958W, if he will investigate the handling of Mrs. Allen's case. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many and what proportion of letters received by his Department between 20 June and 20 July were replied to (a) in under 15, (b) in under 20, (c) in under 30, (d) in under 40 and (e) in over 40 working days; 
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Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 3 December 2001]: The available information on public correspondence relates solely to volumes and the number and proportion of replies sent within target. The information is not held in such a way to provide the more detailed breakdown requested. The volume of letters received from members of the public between 20 June and 20 July was 3,556. Of those, 2,736 or 76 per cent. were replied to within the target of 20 days.
The following tables give the information requested for MPs' correspondence. Information on letters on Immigration and Nationality matters, which make up roughly half the postbag, is set out in Table B. Non- Immigration and Nationality correspondence is set out in Table A.
|Number and percentage of replies:|
|Under 15 days||189||40|
|Under 20 days||266||57|
|Under 30 days||380||81|
|Under 40 days||416||89|
|Over 40 days||52||11|
|Number and percentage of replies:|
|Under 15 days||199||22|
|Under 20 days||334||37|
|Under 30 days||414||46|
|Under 40 days||455||51|
|Over 40 days||445||49|
My Department receives large amounts of correspondence from hon. Members and members of the public. We aim to send a substantive reply to all letters as soon as possible. I am determined to achieve a high level of performance in dealing quickly with correspondence.
We are working with our Information Technology partners to develop next year a Customer Contact Centre which will radically change the way we handle letters, e-mails and telephone inquiries. In the short term we are implementing a number of organisational and process changes to bring about improvements in the quality and timeliness of replies and to prepare for the Contact Centre.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police response vehicles have been in road accidents while on operational duty in (a) 1994, (b) 1995, (c) 1996, (d) 1997, (e) 1998, (f) 1999 and (g) 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Denham: The table sets out, from police force returns to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the number of accidents involving police vehicles which were engaged in immediate/emergency response or pursuit at the time of the accident.
|Year||Number of accidents|
Four forces did not submit a return in 199495, two forces in 199596, two forces in 199697, and one force in 200001.
Chief officers of police share fully the Government's view that everything possible must be done to minimise the risk of accidents involving police vehicles, while recognising the need to ensure a prompt response to emergencies. The police are taking forward a number of initiatives to help to achieve this, including the implementation of recommendations from an Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) report on police pursuit driver training. In addition, ACPO has produced a guide to pursuit management to be used by forces, and a new police driver training course, launched December last year, introduced a universal standard for driving in England and Wales which recognises the need to give priority to public safety above all other considerations.
It is police practice to consider continuously the consequences of a pursuit and whether to break it off. Other operational measures employed to avoid or curtail pursuits include the use of helicopters, the early deployment of tyre deflation devices across the carriageway, and the use of tactical pursuit and containment, where a number of police vehicles box in a target vehicle to bring it safely to a halt.
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