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Trespass

23. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the law in relation to occupation of private land by travelling people. [57070]

Mr. Denham: The Home Office and Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions are currently considering their long term gypsy and traveller strategy, which includes a review of eviction powers.

Sentencing

25. Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for a guideline body to encourage consistency in sentencing; and how it will interact with the Sentencing Advisory Panel. [57072]

Hilary Benn: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary explained, in his address to the Justices' Clerks Society Conference in Cardiff on 7 May 2002, that it is the Government's intention to set up a sentencing guidelines body. This new body would seek to improve consistency in sentences for offences across the board in a way that is authoritative, comprehensive and that all the courts would be required to take account of.

The new body will be supported by the Sentencing Advisory Panel and will build on the work already done by the Court of Appeal (assisted by the Sentencing Advisory Panel) and the Magistrates' Courts Sentencing Guidelines.

We will set out our proposals on sentencing in a wider Criminal Justice White Paper due for publication later this year.

36. Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from the police on sentencing policy. [57083]

Hilary Benn: The publication of the Halliday report on "Making Punishments Work" was subject to public consultation. Nine police forces responded and were generally supportive of the proposals. The consolidated response from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in particular supported the case for sentencing reform and considered that the proposals met in large measure the submissions that ACPO had made. Responses to the consultation were published. ACPO is quoted as saying:


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his action on guidance for magistrates on sentencing. [57074]

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Hilary Benn: Following the recommendation of the review on the Sentencing Framework, we intend to set up a sentencing guidelines body. This new body would seek to improve consistency in sentences for offences across the board in a way that is authoritative, comprehensive and that all the courts would be required to take account of. Decisions in individual cases will of course continue to take account of individual circumstances.

The new body will be supported by the Sentencing Advisory Panel and will build on the work that has been done by those responsible for the Magistrates' Court sentencing guidelines.

We will set out our proposals on sentencing in a wider Criminal Justice White Paper due for publication later this year.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders

26. Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the contribution of the NHS to the effectiveness of drug treatment and testing orders. [57073]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Research shows that there is a strong link between drugs and acquisitive crime, and that treatment can play a significant part in reducing both drugs misuse and associated crime. The National Drugs Treatment Monitoring System provides data on trends in the use of drug treatment services to assist planning on how best to provide services to meet the needs of drugs misusers. It is though, a matter for local decision between the Probation Service and other stakeholders within Joint Commissioning Groups whether the clinical treatment element of the Drug Treatment and Testing Order is delivered through the National Health Service or by another provider.

Prisoners' Health

28. Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on funding for prisons to achieve the health targets set out in each prison's health improvement programme. [57075]

Hilary Benn: The Prison Service and the Department of Health, working in partnership, are committing significant new resources to support local improvements in health services for prisoners. This additional funding will amount to £62.9 million over the three years from April 2001 (£9.4 million 2001–02, £24 million 2002–03 and £29.5 million 2003–04).

Police (Sussex)

29. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on police numbers in Sussex. [57076]

Mr. Denham: On 31 January 2002 Sussex Police had 2,878. police officers. Police numbers increased by 56 between March 2000 and January 2002.

Over the three-year period to March 2003 Sussex has been allocated 206 recruits from the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) over and above the force's previous recruitment plans for the period. Sussex Police took on 42 CFF

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recruits in 2000–01 and 71 CFF recruits in 2001–02. A further 93 CFF recruits are expected to be taken on by Sussex Police in 2002–03.

Street Crime

30. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress of his safe street campaign in the Yorkshire region. [57077]

Mr. Denham: The street crime initiative represents a step-change in cross-Government action to tackle street crime with a focused programme of action in the 10 police force areas where the problem is most acute. In the Yorkshire region two forces are involved, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

Both South and West Yorkshire have commenced targeted police operations in crime hotspots. Police activity is being supported by cross criminal justice agency with priority street crime courts established in Doncaster, Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Leeds and Bradford, and the Crown Prosecution Service providing a premium service for processing street crime cases. Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield are among 34 local education authorities across the 10 areas receiving additional funding to target truancy and bad behaviour. Both Yorkshire areas will also benefit from an increase in Summer Splash schemes, targeting children at risk of offending and providing a range of organised activities over the school holidays. Local partnerships are engaged in ensuring that street crime is a priority in local strategic planning.

To support the police further in these areas the Government have announced additional funding allocations. West Yorkshire will receive £1.8 million and South Yorkshire £1.6 million.

33. Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he intends to tackle street robbery. [57080]

Mr. Denham: Tackling street crime is now a top priority for the Government. However, it is recognised that it cannot successfully be tackled by the police and criminal justice agencies alone. That is why the Government set up the Street Crime Action Group in March of this year. This group, chaired by the Prime Minister, has brought together all relevant Government Departments, criminal justice and other agencies to work together to identify and address weaknesses in the current systems. This includes preventative action as well as action designed to detect offenders and deal effectively with them through the courts.

The programme of action has been targeted and accelerated in 10 police force areas accounting for over 80 per cent. of street crime, since April 2002.

The Government have to date announced a number of measures to help tackle the issue of street crime. These include:


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Further to support the policing operations in these areas the Government have announced the following additional funding allocations:

£
Avon and Somerset2,340,000
GMP2,390,000
Lancashire835,000
Merseyside1,700,000
Met13,130,000
Nottinghamshire1,052,000
South Yorkshire1,600,000
TVP1,500,000
West Midlands1,880,000
West Yorkshire1,800,000


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