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Electronic Tagging

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what performance penalties have been imposed on contractors providing electronic monitoring services in the last 12 months; and for each occasion what the (a) reason for and (b) amount of the penalty was. [40027]

Beverley Hughes: In the 12 months from February 2001 to January 2002, a total of £141,286.70 was deducted from the payments made to the electronic monitoring contractors in respect of performance measures. The performance measurement system assesses performance across a range of indicators including response times for installing and removing equipment, and making telephone calls and visits in respect of alleged breaches of the curfew requirement.

Police Pay (Advertisements)

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of the advertisements in national newspapers relating to his police pay proposals. [39689]

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Mr. Denham [holding answer 1 March 2002]: The advertising cost was £30,002, which included both production and media costs.

Police Pensions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of each local authority's police budget (a) was accounted for by police pensions in 1997 and (b) will be accounted for by police pensions in (i) 2002 and (ii) 2008. [41689]

Mr. Denham: Figures for police pensions as a proportion of net expenditure in 1997–98 are set out in the table. Figures for 2002–03 and 2008–09 are not available.

Police authorityPercentage
Avon and Somerset15.62
City of London12.71
Devon and Cornwall13.53
Dyfed Powys12.01
Greater Manchester16.50
Metropolitan police11.39
North Wales13.58
North Yorkshire14.47
South Wales17.61
South Yorkshire12.12
Thames Valley9.83
West Mercia11.01
West Midlands12.24
West Yorkshire12.97


Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA): Police statistics [Actuals] 1997–98. The figure for Leicestershire was not available, so the figure from the Police Statistics [Estimates] 1997–98 has been used.

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Police Candidates

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many approved police candidates are awaiting their training start date; and if he will make a statement. [41597]

Mr. Denham: Records are not held centrally for police forces who send their recruits to National Police Training. However, there is no reported backlog of approved candidates waiting to start their training.

The Metropolitan police has reported that there are no specific delays in successful candidates being assigned to training courses.

Metropolitan Police

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis about intervention in the operational independence of the Metropolitan Police Force; and if he will make a statement. [41613]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 March 2002]: My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, (Sir John Stevens) meet regularly, both formally and informally to discuss a range of issues relating to policing in London.

Special Constables

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables were in service in each police force area in (a) March 1997 and (b) March 2001; and if he will make a statement. [41615]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 March 2002]: The number of serving special constables in each police force area in March 1997 and March 2001 are set out in the table:

Police forceMarch 1997March 2001
Avon and Somerset759400
Devon and Cornwall1,148796
Greater Manchester685367
London, City of8643
Metropolitan Police1,714774
North Yorkshire362182
South Yorkshire308188
Thames Valley656418
West Mercia582399
West Midlands945617
West Yorkshire690415
Dyfed Powys283191
North Wales341207
South Wales361254


Figures provided by Research Development Statistics Directorate.

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The Government are committed to increasing the size of the Special Constabulary and is working on a number of options designed to achieve this. These include improvements to the recruitment, training, conditions, management and deployment of specials—focusing their role on intelligence-led, high visibility patrolling and local crime reduction initiatives.

Women Prisoners

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made for mothers who are in prison to have regular access to their children. [43540]

Beverley Hughes: The Prison Service provides the necessary facilities for mothers in prison to ensure that they can sustain a relationship with their children, including regular access. Many of these facilities are available to both male and female prisoners, but have a particular benefit to those that are mothers.

On their initial reception at an establishment, women are given a phonecard at the prison's expense or a free telephone call so that they can immediately let their families know their whereabouts. Subsequently they are allowed to purchase phonecards from the prison shop to maintain that contact. Every woman is able to send a free letter on arrival at an establishment and subsequently is allowed to send a letter at the prison's expense every two weeks. Prison staff can assist prisoners in dealing with these letters.

Visits and family contact are encouraged and every effort is made to emphasise the role that can be played by the prisoner in parenting and sharing the responsibility for the family in general. Governors often provide extra facilities for children's visits and, where resources allow, find new ways in which they can assist prisoners to maintain links with their families. For example, where staffing resources permit, some establishments hold family days where children can visit their mothers for a whole day, share meals and participate in other structured activities for families, for example in the gymnasium or education areas.

In certain cases, families may apply for financial assistance to visit their relatives in prison through the services offered by the Assisted Prison Visits Unit.

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Prisoners are also enabled to maintain family ties through Release on Temporary Licence. Prisoners may be released on resettlement licence once they have served the requisite period of their sentence and passed a risk assessment. Resettlement leave is usually overnight and can be of up to five days' duration plus travelling time. Prisoners can also be released on compassionate licence. For example, a mother may be granted a compassionate licence to visit her child if the child is unable to visit her.

Mothers are allowed to have their babies with them in prison and at present, there are 64 places spread between four prisons in specialist Mother and Baby Units. There are plans for four more units. The purpose of a Mother and Baby Unit is to enable the mother/baby relationship to develop while safeguarding and promoting the child's welfare. There is an established procedure of admissions boards, assessment and review, involving outside experts. Throughout the whole process the best interests of the child is the guiding principle.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women prisoners (a) have committed suicide in the last year and (b) are on suicide watch. [43538]

Beverley Hughes: In the year 2001 there were a total of six self-inflicted deaths by women.

Her Majesty's Prison Service does not collect data specifically on "suicide watch". If a prisoner is considered at risk of suicide or any form of self-injury a form called an F2052SH is opened. This form initiates a sequence of events to make sure the inmate is cared for. This includes ensuring the prisoner is engaged in conversation at regular intervals, and holding individual case reviews in consultation with health care and other staff. The form remains open until the prisoner appears to coping satisfactorily.

The table shows the total number of F2052SH forms raised in 2001 for female prisoners and the length of time the form was open.

Under 1 week1,876
1 to 2 weeks1,092
2 to 4 weeks837
Over 4 weeks912

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of women prisoners were diagnosed with mental health problems in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what provision is made available for mental healthcare in women's prisons. [43556]

Beverley Hughes: This information is not available in the form requested. A survey of mental ill health in the prison population of England and Wales, was undertaken by the Office for National Statistics in 1997. Some 96 per cent. of remanded and 90 per cent. of sentenced women prisoners showed evidence of at least one of the

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five mental disorders considered in the survey (personality disorder, psychosis, neurosis, alcohol misuse and drug dependence).

Women prisoners needing in-patient treatment for mental disorder may be transferred to psychiatric hospitals. The care and treatment of prisoners with mental health problems is shared between the Prison Service and the national health service (NHS). Our plans for improving mental health services for prisoners, including the development of NHS in-reach services in the 70 or so prisons with the greatest mental health need, were set out in "Changing the Outlook. A Strategy for Developing and Modernising Mental Health Services in Prisons", which was published in December 2001. I am arranging for copies to be placed in the Library. The text of the document is also available on the prison health section of the Department of Health website at prisonhealth. Since the strategy document was published it has been announced that NHS in-reach services will be established in 25 more prisons, including three for women, during 2002–03.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the female population is in prison (a) in the UK and (b) in other EU countries. [43537]

Beverley Hughes: The female prison population in England and Wales on 31 January 2002 was 4,056. This was 0.019 per cent. of the general female population aged 15 and over in England and Wales (21.9 Million). Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland are not held centrally.

The female prison and general population data for other European Union (EU) countries is given for the latest available dates.

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General female population aged 15 and overFemale prison populationPercentage

Data on the female population of EU countries are taken from the EU Labour force survey 2000. Data for the female prison population of EU countries are taken from the world prison population list produced by Kings College London.

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