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19 Sept 2002 : Column 20Wcontinued
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps are being taken to ensure that all vehicles and control rooms are refitted by 200405 in the (a) police forces and (b) fire services; 
(3) how much funding has been allocated to (a) the police forces and (b) the fire services to ensure that all vehicles and control rooms are refitted by 200405; 
(4) what the timetable is for (a) fund allocation and (b) the refitting of control rooms and vehicles for (i) the police forces and (ii) the fire services. 
Mr. Denham: On 19 July 2000, the Home Secretary announced that the Government had provided £500 million to meet the costs of the new police radio system, "Airwave" (formerly Public Safety Radio Communications System, PSRCS).
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Over the three years of the settlement, £191 million of capital funding has been made available for forces to spend on costs associated with Airwave installation and preparation, for example the refitting of control rooms and vehicles. A further £141 million in revenue funding has also been allocated for "one-off" preparation costs.
The Airwave programme consists of a phased national roll-out, determined by the forces and the main contractor in consultation with the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO). The timetable for fund allocation is linked to this roll-out timetable. The capital allocation is released in advance, at an appropriate time, so that forces are ready for their roll-out date.
On 7 May, the Government announced that they would manage, support and fully fund a new national competition for the procurement of a national radiocommunications system for the fire service in England and Wales.
Certain forces (including West Midlands) have moved to a more rigorous crime recording practice before or during 200001, in which a larger proportion of crimes reported to them are recorded. This may be a factor, along with the relative sizes of each force, in explaining why some forces' figures are larger than others.
|Police Forces||Offences Recorded||Percentage of national total|
|Avon and Somerset||312||1.1|
|Devon and Cornwall||646||2.3|
|London, City of||30||0.1|
|ENGLAND AND WALES||28000||100.0|
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Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of claims by police officers of adverse effects on their health since the installation of the new telecommunications masts in the North West of England. 
Mr. Denham: Prior to the Trade and Industry Committee report on Mobile Phone Masts the Home Office had asked the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) to assess the health and safety aspects of the TETRA technology used by Airwave. The NRPB report concluded that it is unlikely that the unique features of TETRA pose a hazard to health. The Home Office has nonetheless set up a comprehensive research programme to ensure that any residual health and safety concerns that have been received by forces and users are addressed. This includes consultation with epidemiologists and with experts in occupational health.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the laid down period for the Criminal Records Bureau to process an application for a disclosure; how long it is taking to process applications; and if he will make a statement. 
|Timelines of service||90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures issued within three weeks|
|95 per cent. of Standard Disclosures issued within one week|
|95 per cent. of Basic Disclosures issued within one week|
382,884 Disclosure applications have been initiated.
From these, 191,782 Disclosures have been issued.
It is estimated that 4050 per cent. of Disclosures are being issued within the three-week service standard for telephone applications (target 90 per cent. for Enhanced Disclosures). About 50 per cent. of both telephone and postal applications are being issued within five weeks.
The Criminal Records Bureau reviews its service standards regularly and accepts that it is currently not meeting these service standards. The Criminal Records Bureau is not yet meeting service standards. To address this, it has introduced a performance improvement plan including: revised procedures, recruitment of additional staff, improved management arrangements and extending working hours; a data entry backlog had been outsourced to Hays Plc's Chennai (India) data processing centre. Special procedures have been introduced for the most urgent cases.
As at 17 March 2002
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time between receipt of a communication by the Criminal Records Bureau and an answer being sent has been in the last year. 
Hilary Benn [holding answer 25 June 2002]: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) offers three different ways to contact the Bureauby telephone, by post or by email. The CRB aims to deal with all enquiries quickly and efficiently. Its target is to answer 90 per cent. of all telephone calls within 20 seconds. For week beginning 7 July 2002 the calls answered within target were 88 per cent., which represents an improvement on previous performance.
The CRB aims to provide a response to written correspondence within one week of receipt. At present there is no information available to confirm to what extent this target is being met, as the details are not collated centrally.
Mr. Denham: The Criminal Records Bureau has introduced a performance improvement plan including: revised procedures, recruitment of additional staff, improved management arrangements and extending working hours; a data entry backlog had been outsourced to Hays Plc's Chennai (India) data processing centre. Special procedures have been introduced for the most urgent cases.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made of the costs to voluntary organisations of becoming registered bodies with the Criminal Records Bureau due to (a) charges and (b) administration costs. 
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Hilary Benn: The fees to become a registered body were announced on 15 February 2001. There are one-off charges of £300 for registration, and of £5 for each additional counter-signatory nominated by the registered person. The administrative costs incurred by registered bodies will depend upon a range of factors including the size of the organisation and the number of applications to be processed.
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