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Prison Service

36. Jean Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the role of the Prison Service in reducing re-offending. [38909]

Beverley Hughes: One of the principal aims of the prison service is to reduce re-offending. In order to provide regimes which are effective at reducing re-offending the Prison Service increasingly draws upon research about "What Works" to develop a more evidence based approach to tackling offending behaviour and the factors which contribute towards re-offending. The recently launched What Works Strategy provides a clear direction for the Prison Service for the further development of constructive regimes to reduce the risk of re-offending. The Prison Service and the Probation Service have been set a challenging but achievable target of reducing the level of predicted reconvictions by five per cent. by 2004.

The What Works in Prison Strategy encompasses accredited Offending Behaviour Programmes, drug treatment programmes, increased eduction provision with a target of delivering 23,400 accredited education or vocational qualifications in 2001–02 and an associated Custody to Work Strategy, which is investing £30 million between 2001 and 2004 to improve resettlement outcomes.


39. Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review guidance to police forces and local authorities on the removal of unauthorised traveller encampments and the tackling of antisocial behaviour by travellers. [38912]

Mr. Denham: The Home Office and Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions are currently revising the good practice guidance on managing unauthorised camping to encourage local authorities and police to develop robust strategies to deal with unauthorised encampments and crime and disorder. We are also seeking legislative changes to enable Antisocial Behaviour orders to cover a wider area to help police deal with individual members of the travelling community who persistently engage in antisocial behaviour across the country.

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Prison Education

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on education provision in adult prisons in England and Wales. [38881]

Beverley Hughes: We are increasing prison education funding by 15 per cent. in real terms over the next two years. We have set challenging basic skills targets for every prison. And we will raise standards and learner achievement by bringing developments in mainstream provision into prisons. For example, prisons are part of a national project to trail diagnostic assessments, curriculum materials and tests in basic skills, including English for Speakers of Other Languages. From April 2002 we will be ensuring that provision meets national standards by introducing the Common Inspection Framework into prisons along with a national strategy to support continuous improvement in prisons.

Crime Statistics

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many notifiable offences of (a) robbery and (b) burglary were recorded by the police on retail petrol stations in (i) 1999, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2001; and if he will make a statement; [39855]

Mr. Denham: Recorded crime and offender statistics collected centrally do not in general include the nature of offences so that offences of making off without payment (bilking), robbery and burglary from petrol stations cannot be distinguished from similar offences at other premises.

The number of robberies involving firearms in garages and the total number of robberies in business properties are given in the table.

Offences recorded, England and Wales

Robberies involving firearms in a garage, service station Robbery of business property

We are determined to reduce the number of robberies across the country as a whole. That is why we have given five metropolitan forces, including the Metropolitan police, an additional £20 million specifically to assist their efforts in tackling robbery, and have set them the challenging target of a 14 per cent. reduction of robbery in our principal cities by March 2005. The additional funds have enabled those forces to introduce a number

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of new initiatives and to reinforce good practice. We are working with those forces to enable us to identify good practice in tackling robbery which we will ensure is disseminated to all forces. We have also published a Robbery Toolkit which is available to all forces and those involved in crime reduction and community safety and will help them to work as effectively as possible in tackling robbery.

Public Appointments

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people from Warrington, North he has appointed to non-departmental public bodies since 1997. [39446]

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Angela Eagle [holding answer 5 March 2002]: This information is not held centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Violent Crime

Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent crimes were recorded in East Sussex in (a) 1997 and (b) 2001. [33918]

Mr. Denham: Recorded crime data have historically been collected by police force area. Information on Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership areas has been collected centrally since 1 April 1999, and the figures for the two available years for the areas which comprise East Sussex are given in the table.

Recorded violent crimes in East Sussex, 1999–2000 and 2000–01

Crime and disorder reduction partnership Violence against the person Sexual offences Robbery
East Sussex total(17)5,1045,134343341306458

(17) Brighton and Hove is a unitary authority.

Information on violent crime recorded in the whole of the Sussex police force area for 1997 and the years ending March 2000 and 2001, the latest available, is as given.

Numbers of recorded violent crimes

Offence group19971999–20002000–01
Violence against the person6,11416,92417,235
Sexual offences7661,0031,029

There was a change in counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which expanded the offences covered, and placed a greater emphasis on counting crimes in terms of numbers of victims. Owing to the change, over England and Wales as a whole, the numbers of offences of violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery went up by 118 per cent., 4 per cent., and 1 per cent. respectively. Numbers of recorded crimes after this date are therefore not directly comparable with previous years.

It should be noted that recorded violent crime is subject to changes in reporting and recording. The 2001 British Crime Survey found that, over England and Wales as a whole, reporting to the police of violent offences in total rose from 37 per cent. in 1997 to 45 per cent. in the 2000 calendar year.

Also, the British Crime Survey has shown that, in England and Wales as a whole, the number of violent crimes recorded in the survey decreased by 23 per cent. between the 1997 and 2000 calendar years, whereas violent crime recorded by the police increased by an estimated 14 per cent. Violent crime recorded by the police may therefore not necessarily be a reflection of real changes in the level of violent crime.

Asylum Accommodation Centres

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who will design the proposed asylum accommodation centres; and if he will make a statement. [34481]

Angela Eagle: The Home Office intends to place contracts for the design, build and operation of the proposed accommodation centres which will place the responsibility for the design of accommodation centres with the contractor.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will announce his preferred sites for asylum accommodation centres. [41933]

Angela Eagle: We will announce the preferred sites later in the year, once bids to develop and operate accommodation centres have been evaluated.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sites are under consideration for the proposed asylum accommodation centres; and for what reason the sites originally proposed are no longer being so considered. [41935]

Angela Eagle: Each of the eight sites referred to in my answer on 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 57W, remains under consideration.

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