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Annual Report 2000–01

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what activities are covered by (a) constitutional and community, (b) criminal policing and programmes, (c) central services, (d) firearms compensation and (e) police and crime reduction as referred to in Table 11 on page 112 of the Home Office annual report 2000–01. [48858]

Mr. Denham: (a) In 2000–01, constitutional and community work included the following issues, responsibility for which transferred to other Government Departments in the machinery of Government changes which took place on 8 June 2001: human rights, freedom of information, data protection, constitutional issues, elections, byelaws, gambling, liquor licensing, animal welfare, hunting, and planting and planning for the Golden Jubilee.

Issues which remain the responsibility of the Home Department, and which currently fall under this heading, are:

(b) Criminal policy and programmes are led primarily in the Criminal Policy Group although clearly there are links with the work of the Policing and Crime Reduction Group (see (e). The Criminal Policy Group is responsible for Home Office Aims 3 and 4. Aim 3 is "to ensure the effective delivery of justice, avoiding unnecessary delay, through efficient investigation, detection, prosecution and court procedures. To minimise the threat to and intimidation of witnesses and to engage with and support victims". Aim 4 is "to deliver effective custodial and community sentences to reduce re-offending and protect the public, through the prison and probation services, in partnership with the Youth Justice Board". Current activities include:

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(c) Central services are those areas of the Home Office which support delivery of the Home Office's aims. The activities of these central services areas are as follows: financial planning and management, accounting and audit, personnel, accommodation planning and provision, internal and external communication, information technology planning and provision, security (physical, staff and information technology), research and development (including statistical studies and Home Office publications), pay and pensions, records management, health and safety, health and welfare, Ministers' and officials' private offices, and the legal advisers' branch.

(d) The Home Office introduced a compensation scheme for surrender of small firearms (handguns) following events in Dunblane in March 1996. The Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997 prohibited possession of handguns; compensation was paid for their surrender together with surrender of ammunition and related ancillary equipment (holsters etc.). Although the majority of weapons were surrendered during 1997–98, some residual cases continue to be administered by the Department.

(e) The activities of the Policing and Crime Reduction Group centre around the provision of an efficient, effective police service and reduction in crime. Policing policy activity covers legislation and implementation of the police reform programme; personnel and resource measures to support the police, including recruitment and pay arrangements and work on police leadership, powers and procedures. The crime reduction focus of the group is achieved through developing and implementing strategies to address particular types of crime and disorder, by encouraging and providing a framework for partnership working and by developing and administering

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area-based initiatives such as the Crime Reduction Programme, Communities Against Drugs and Safer Communities.

A significant part of the group's work lies in ensuring that there is scientific and technological support for the police and crime reduction. The group sponsors a number of agencies and non-departmental public bodies in this and other areas. Through the Police Standards Unit and support for the independent inspectorate (Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary), the group has a major commitment to the achievement of high standards and performance in the police service.


David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden dated 29 January concerning funding for the Humberside police authority. [50610]

Mr. Denham: A reply to the hon. Member was despatched on Tuesday 16 April 2002.


Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many instances single shot .22 pistols of the type used in the Commonwealth and Olympic games have been used in indictable offences within the Metropolitan police area in the past 10 years. [51465]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by date and by authority the HMIC reports since 1993 which cover the detailed force inspections which include arrangements for child abuse and major crime investigations. [51630]

Mr. Denham: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) reports are public documents and copies are placed in the Library. Additionally, they can be accessed on the HMIC internet web-site:

A list of the force inspection conducted since 1995 is attached. Thematic reports have been published on matters associated with the investigation of child abuse and major crime investigation, these include: Policing London "Winning Consent (although this report relates only to the Metropolitan Police Service) 2000; Child Protection, 1999". Also, HMIC are currently part of a joint inspection into Children's Safeguards being led by the Social Services Inspectorate. Her Majesty Inspectorate (HMI) Inspections of individual forces do not, however, examine specific police investigations or detail them in their Reports.

A chronological list of all HMIC Inspections since 1993 is not available and it would involve the disproportionate use of resources to compile one.

Child Protection

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of

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21 March 2002, Official Report, column 483W, if he will list the terms of reference of the thematic inspection into child protection. [51629]

Mr. Denham: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary conducted a Thematic Inspection entitled "Child Protection" in 1999. The terms of reference were as follows: "To examine the role of the police service in protecting children, within a multi-agency context, and with particular reference to strategic direction, effectiveness, efficiency, innovation and good practice". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary are currently part of an Inter-Agency inspection of safeguards for children. The lead inspectorate of this inspection is the Social Services Inspectorate. Attached is a copy of the objectives for this inspection which has been placed in the Library. Any further information on the inspection should be obtained from the Department of Health.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from chief constables on the way in which police authorities investigate historic allegations of child abuse. [51633]

Mr. Denham: My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary (Mr. Blunkett) has not received any recent representations from chief constables on this matter. However, I have met with the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead officer on child abuse, Mr. Terence Grange, to discuss these issues. It is of course for police forces and not police authorities to investigate allegations of child abuse.

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