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Mr. Denham: All registered fingerprint experts are trained to be capable of dealing with the non-numeric standard. There are currently 1,470 police fingerprint experts on the fingerprint register in England and Wales.
As part of the change to the evidential standard, the training programme for all fingerprint experts in England and Wales has been revised. All new fingerprint officers undergo the new modular training programme which incorporates the change from the previous 16 point standard. All fingerprint experts trained prior to 11 June have been made aware of these issues through their local bureau trainers.
Mr. Denham: The Government are committed to increasing police numbers and have set up the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) to enable forces to recruit 9,000 officers over and above previous plans in the three years to March 2003.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has been allocated 2,044 recruits over the three years of the CFF. The number of police officers in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) within funding limits defined by government grant and council tax precept set by the Mayor and Greater London Assembly. The mayor has indicated that he proposes to increase the police precept to secure a significant increase in the total number of police officers in London. The actual number will depend on the result of the budget process within the MPA and GLA.
I am advised by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis MPS that police officer recruitment to the Metropolitan police is at an all-time high with an average of over 1,100 applications received a month.
The MPS has also benefited from the Home Office funded National Recruitment Campaign, from the provision of free rail-travel within a 70-mile radius of London and from the last year's £3,327 increase in London Allowance for officers recruited on or after 1 September 1994 and not in receipt of housing allowance.
In addition, Metropolitan Police Officers will benefit from the starter home initiative through which about 550 London police officers and support staff will be helped to buy a first home over the next three years.
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers there are in the Metropolitan police; what the budgeted work force target is; and what the figures are for detective officers. 
5 Feb 2002 : Column 864W
200102 is 26,254 and on 31 December 2001 the actual strength of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) was 25,994.
I am also told that the budgeted work force total for detectives for 200102 is 5,439 and the actual detective strength on 31 December 2001 was 4,228. The MPS is actively recruiting towards its budgeted work force total.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received from members of the police force regarding the Home Office White Paper; and how many of these express concerns about the impact on retention and recruitment in the police force. 
Mr. Denham: The White Paper invited comments by 21 January 2001. We received approximately 1,100 representations, of which the vast majority were from police officers. We are still considering representations and will place a summary in the Library.
Mr. Denham: Last month the Police Negotiating Board agreed in principle ways to deliver a fair and more consistent approach towards early retirement due to ill health, so that forces can ensure wherever possible that officers continue in employment where they are capable of performing sufficient duties to make their retention operationally justifiable. This should enable forces to reduce the level of ill-health retirement still further and match the performance of the best quartile of forces by 2005.
In the White Paper the Government also announced that they will establish a national occupational health strategy for the police service, which should assist forces to manage cases of ill health more effectively at the outset.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the category and amount of each item of funding outside the revenue support grant which his Department made available to (a) Westminster city council and (b) Kensington and Chelsea in (i) 200001 and (ii) 200102. 
Angela Eagle: The information is given in the table. The grants included are those paid solely to the councils except in the case of Drug Action Teams, the Crime Reduction Programme and the Partnership Development Fund. In those cases, the council is a member of a partnership and funding is allocated to one or more of the partners, for the benefit of the partnership as a whole.
5 Feb 2002 : Column 865W
|Kensington and Chelsea||Westminster||Kensington and Chelsea||Westminster|
|Drug Action Teams|
|Communities Against Drugs||||||31,497||31,497|
|Crime Reduction Programme and Partnership Development Fund||176,582||384,149||||1,214,250|
|Adult and Family Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking children||11,242,108||12,751,486|||||
|Referral Order Pilots||59,791||62,000||62,000||62,000|
|Communities Against Drugs||||||199,400||277,800|
the local community has been consulted, in the way set out by statute
the proposed curfew is necessary and proportionate to prevent crime and disorder.
Angela Eagle: The Home Office's published service delivery agreement for 200104 commits all Home Office Directorates, including the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), to replying to 95 per cent. of public correspondence within 20 working days and 95 per cent. of ministerial correspondence within 15 working days by the end of 200102. Improving performance against published targets for dealing with correspondence is recognised as a priority for IND as part of the wider Home Office programme to modernise business processes and information management.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to provide a substantive reply to the letter of 25 September from the hon. Member for Christchurch about alcohol and under-age drinkers. 
5 Feb 2002 : Column 866W
Mr. Denham [holding answer 21 January 2002]: Reducing all aspects of youth crime, including gang violence where this occurs, is a key priority within the Government's crime reduction programme. Our approach in all areas is to support the police, crime reduction partnerships and the Youth Offending Teams in developing effective local solutions. In addition, we have introduced a wide programme across Government including Youth Inclusion Programmes and Summer Splash schemes.
The Youth Inclusion Programme in Coventry includes organised intensive workshops and group discussions about group/peers behaviour, designed to provide young people with opportunity to voice their concerns and experiences of gang culture.
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