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Special Constables

32. Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the number of special constables. [64778]

Mr. Denham: Special constables are a key element of our police reform agenda, and we are already working, with stakeholders, to increase the recruitment and retention of special constables as part of that process. Indeed, we announced a package of measures on 18 June that are designed to improve the way specials are recruited, managed, deployed and how their welfare is considered within forces.

We are particularly keen to improve liaison with employers and encourage them to support employees who are specials. Specials bring skills and experience back to their workplace which makes them of real value as an employee. Later this year the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary will publish a joint discussion paper on fiscal and other changes we can make to promote community service, including service as a special constable. A new headline role has also been published, focusing on intelligence-led patrolling and crime reduction initiatives. And a new national foundation training package for specials was issued last month. Revised Conditions of Service Regulations and new Conduct Regulations are in preparation.

Central to this whole process will be Home Office/Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) good practice guidance covering all aspects of the recruitment, management and deployment of specials, which will be issued by the end of the year. And we will be identifying a number of "Specials champions" to support this work and to take forward initiatives to help reverse the decline in specials numbers. We have set aside £300,000 to support these champions and we are working very closely with ACPO in this area.

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Detainees (Immigration)

33. Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of the number of persons detained under immigration powers over the past 12 months. [64779]

Beverley Hughes: The latest available information on the number of persons detained under Immigration Act powers relates to 30 March 2002. As at that date, 1,575 persons (to the nearest five) were being detained solely under Immigration Act powers.

I regret that statistics showing the total number of persons detained in the last 12 months could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records, and no estimate of the total number has been made.

Information on Immigration Act detainees as at 29 June will be published on 30 August on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at

Accommodation Centres (Children's Education)

34. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what education provision is given to the children of asylum seekers in accommodation centres; and what improvements he plans to make. [64780]

Beverley Hughes: We expect the first trial accommodation centre to open during 2003. We will provide education facilities on site for the children of asylum seekers maintained there. On site education will mirror the provision in mainstream schools, tailored to the specific needs of the children. Education will be evaluated along with other aspects of accommodation centres at the end of the trial period.

Detoxification Centres

35. Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the availability of places for drug addicts at residential detoxification centres. [64781]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Over 50 per cent. of Drug Action Teams have residential detoxification services located within their area. Figures on the numbers of places available for residential detoxification, however, are not collected centrally.

There are an estimated 130 residential treatment services in England and Wales (which may or may not include detoxification facilities), which have an estimated 2,169 available beds. This would suggest a possible 8,700 drug and alcohol users could be treated each year.

Figures from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) show that the average waiting times for residential treatment have significantly reduced. The average waiting times for priority cases has been reduced from 5.08 weeks in 2000–01 to 4.45 weeks in 2001–02. Non-priority cases waited an average of 9.34 weeks in 2000–01 improving to 6.44 weeks in 2001–02.

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Clandestine Immigration

37. Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to deal with clandestine immigration. [64783]

Beverley Hughes: We are working closely with the French Government to deal with the problem of illegal immigration from France, and the trafficking networks which bring many of these illegal immigrants across Europe. We are committed to the efficient use of intelligence to target resources against organised immigration crimes, and we are investing in new technologies to combat those attempting to enter the United Kingdom clandestinely concealed in road freight vehicles.

Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which individuals are being detained, where and for what reasons, under Part 4 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. [65065]

Mr. Blunkett: 11 people have been detained to date using powers in Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. Of those detained, two have voluntarily left the United Kingdom; the other nine remain in detention. It is long standing practice not to discuss individual cases or the immigration status of individuals, including their place of detention, unless they themselves first choose to do so.

St. Charles Site, Brentwood

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department has taken to secure the land within its ownership in Brentwood, known as St. Charles site, from unauthorised entry. [65384]

Hilary Benn: The security arrangements in place include new 2.4 metre high fencing and 24 hour security guarding.

Following an incident of illegal trespass on 10 May 2002, immediate action was taken to install additional security measures on the Brentwood site. The additional measures, which were installed in consultation with Brentwood borough council and the Essex police, included trenches, earth mounding and other obstructions to entry.

Voluntary Sector

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for West Dorset, (Mr. Letwin), Official Report, column 704W, on Government funding of the voluntary sector, how Government funding has been defined for the purpose of the estimates; what categories of financial transaction have been excluded from this definition; and on what basis each estimate was made. [65039]

Hilary Benn: The definition of Government funding used for the purposes of the estimates is the same as that published in the Report on Central Government Funding of Voluntary and Community Organisations 1982–83 to 1999–2000 (annexe B, page 20) ISBN 1 84082 636–3, copies of which are available in the Library. No categories of financial transaction were specifically excluded.

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The estimates are based on surveys of Government Departments and other public funders of the voluntary sector conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation on behalf of the Home Office.

Prison Service

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers (a) joined

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and (b) left the Prison Service in each of the last five years for which figures are available in (i) actual figures and (ii) as a percentage of the total. [66434]

Hilary Benn: The information is contained in the table. Officer grades include prison officers, senior officers and principal officers. Joiners information excludes staff who have been re-graded to prison officer from another Prison Service grade.

Prison officers in post at Joiners Leavers (including retirements)
beginning of yearNumberPercentage of totalNumberPercentage of total

(25) Reliable information on leavers during 1997–98 is not available.

Human Trafficking

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures the Government are taking to prevent the trafficking of women in the Balkans and what evaluation he has made of their success; what measures the Government are taking in this regard in co-operation with fellow European Union member states, and what evaluation he has made of their success; what measures have been taken by European Union institutions to combat this trafficking and what evaluation he has made of their success; and if he will make a statement. [65708]

Beverley Hughes: Alongside effective enforcement in the United Kingdom (UK), we have recognised that there is the need to develop intelligence and undertake joint operations against trafficking networks in transit countries in the Balkans region. We have provided a total of £200,000 to fund various local anti-trafficking projects in the Western Balkans region implemented under the auspices of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's democratisation arm, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

In 2000 we set up Reflex, our multi-agency task force on organised immigration crime, which co-operates with overseas law enforcement partners on the disruption of organised criminal groups intent on trafficking. Led by the National Crime Squad (NCS), Reflex brings together all the key agencies, including the Immigration Service, the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), the security and intelligence agencies and key police forces including the Metropolitan police, Kent and the British Transport police.

The UK has posted nine Immigration Liaison Officers to disrupt trafficking and organised immigration crime in and around the Balkans region. European Union (EU) partners have made similar deployments. We co-operate directly or through Europol with EU law enforcement agencies and those in EU accession states. Since April 2001 this has resulted in the disruption of 14 trafficking organisations and 67 arrests. 323 individual facilitators have been arrested.

Project Immpact, a UK led EU immigration initiative to assist the Bosnia State Border Service, has reduced the flow of illegal migrants through Sarejevo airport by 90 per cent. UK and EU experts assist the anti-trafficking EU STOP teams in Bosnia which have identified 185 victims of trafficking involved in prostitution over the past year.

We have also provided assistance to the recently established anti-trafficking task force at the South East Europe Co-operation Initiative (SECI) centre in Bucharest, which is focused on cross border co-operation and intelligence sharing between its 11 member states in the Balkan region.

Belgium and Spain have made organised immigration crime a theme of their EU presidencies. The Danish presidency will promote an EU-wide project against the trafficking of women co-ordinated by the European Police Chiefs Taskforce in the second half of this year.

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