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25 Nov 2002 : Column 102W—continued

Murder Statistics (Leeds)

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many murders in Leeds were committed by a person well known to the victim in the last five years; and what proportion of the total number of murders this represents; [81484]

Hilary Benn: Details of homicides held centrally locate the offence by police force area only. The available information relates to currently recorded offences of homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) by West Yorkshire police and is given in the following table.

1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–01
Total number of currently recorded homicides3329332536
Number of homicides where victim known to suspect2018181220
Proportion of homicides where victim known to suspect (percentage)6162554856
Number of homicides with suspect3026332334
Percentage of homicides with suspect91901009294

As at 3 October 2001, figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available.

North Wales Police

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much (a) Home Office funding, (b) National Assembly funding and (c) local authority funding was received by North Wales police in each of the last 10 years at present-day prices. [80579]

Mr. Denham: The available information is set out in the following table:

£ million

Home Office grant(10)National Assembly for Wales grant(11)Council taxTotal in cash termsTotal at 2001–02 prices(12)
1995–96(13)35.324.58.868.680.2
1996–9737.624.010.772.381.9
1997–9837.325.111.273.680.9
1998–9939.124.113.676.882.1
1999–200038.725.915.780.283.8
2000–0141.526.118.886.388.2
2001–0246.028.020.194.194.1
2002–03(14)49.628.723.6102.099.5

(10) Home Office grant includes principal formula police grant, Crime Fighting Fund, Rural Policing grant, capital grant, DMA funding and Airwave grant. Under the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) floors and ceilings arrangements, police authorities in England were guaranteed a minimum increase in principal formula police and ODPM grants of 2.3 per cent. for 2002–03. Floors and ceilings are not applied by the National Assembly for Wales, but to ensure North Wales benefited from a minimum increase of 2.3 per cent., my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary exceptionally agreed to make a special payment to North Wales police authority of £362,000.

(11) National Assembly for Wales grant includes national non domestic rates and revenue support grant.

(12) Real terms are at 2001–02 prices using gross domestic product deflator at 27 September 2002.

(13) Before 1995–96, when most police authorities became independent local authorities, revenue support grant and national non domestic rates were paid as part of respective county council grant funding.

(14) The grant figure for 2002–03 is not directly comparable with that for 2001–02 owing to changes in funding for the National Crime Squad/National Criminal Intelligence Service, now funded centrally rather than through police authorities. On a comparable basis, grant for 2001–02 would be £93.3 million.


Police

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what areas of police (a) deployment,

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(b) management and (c) enforcement he is responsible to Parliament for in terms of parliamentary questions. [80526]

Mr. Denham: The Secretary of State for the Home Department is responsible to Parliament for an efficient and effective police service in England and Wales. To that end the Police Reform Act 2002 has extended the scope of regulations, codes of practice and directions to take remedial action that the Secretary of State may issue. The Secretary of State shares with chief officers of police and police authorities the management of policing, but is not responsible for the deployment of police officers and staff. Nor is he responsible for enforcing the law—this is a matter for those who hold the office of a constable or who have otherwise been given specific powers by Parliament. The control and direction of police officers and police support staff is vested in the chief constable, save for those staff who by agreement work for the police authority.

In former times, the Secretary of State has declined to answers related to police operations and this has been upheld by the Speaker. Recent Secretaries of State have often tried to accommodate hon. members with specific information relating to the police. Most information should be sought direct from the chief officer of police or the police authority.

Clifford Police Station (York)

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how many days York's Clifford street police station was closed during and following the flood in York in November 2000; what was the revenue cost to the North Yorkshire police authority of the closure; what assessment he has made of the wider economic cost to other people in North Yorkshire who use the police station and are protected by its services; what damage was done to the building; how much it cost to repair; and whether the cost of the repairs was covered by insurance. [80997]

Mr. Denham: The Chief Constable of North Yorkshire police informs me that Clifford street police station was closed for the period between 3 November 2000 and mid February 2001.

The main damage was to decorations and the flooring. The cost to the force, including cleaning and moving, was approximately £18,800. This was covered by the force's insurance.

During the closure services were provided from the nearby Fulford road station. The force informs me that there may have been a marginal effect on response times but that there was no great effect on residents or businesses in the city centre.

Community Support Officers (Nottinghamshire)

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce community support officers into Nottinghamshire Constabulary's 'B' Division. [80703]

Mr. Denham: On 23 September my right hon.Friend the Home Secretary announced a fund of 19 million for the recruitment of more than 1,000 Community Support

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Officer's (CSOs) in England and Wales this financial year. 27 forces bid successfully for a share of this funding.

Nottinghamshire is among the forces which will benefit from this. They bid successfully for £222,577 to recruit and train 12 CSOs and will deploy them on certain estates in the city of Nottingham.

Deployment of CSOs is a matter for the Chief Officer of the force concerned. I understand there are no current plans to introduce CSOs into Nottinghamshire's 'B' Division.

Police Paperwork

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to reduce paperwork for police officers. [82149]

Mr. Denham: Sir David O'Dowd's taskforce was commissioned to give the Government a police service view of what could be done to tackle the administrative burdens and inefficient working practices which keep police officers off the streets. The taskforce report highlighted ways to free up significant amounts of officers' time. We have now set up a steering group, co-chaired by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office, to take the taskforce recommendations forward.

The Government recognise its responsibilities to support this work, including considering changes to legislation where necessary. Indeed, in line with a number of taskforce recommendations, the Police Reform Act 2002 has already made the necessary changes in the law to enable chief officers to expand the range of functions that support staff can perform in the custody suite. We will also ensure that significant funding is made available to improve police information technology. This is a vital opportunity to change the culture and management of the police service and bring about a real difference to the everyday lives of officers on the front line.

Police Recruitment (Medical Standards)

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to provide new guidelines to police forces on medical standards for police officer recruitment. [80924]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 18 November 2002]: The medical and eyesight standards for entry into the police service have been reviewed as a part of the national recruitment standards project.

We expect to receive the draft recommendations for the medical standards early next year. Following the consultation period the medical standards will be put in place.

The draft recommendations for the eyesight standards have been circulated to forces for comments. Following consultation the new eyesight standards will be put in place early next year.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to meet the Acting Chief Constable of Leicester concerning ethnic minority recruitment. [81503]

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Mr. Denham: I have no current plans to do so. Support and assistance is being offered to forces on ethnic minority recruitment through annual reviews by the Home Office and Her Majesty's Inspectorate Constabulary against agreed interim targets. Good or promising practice in the areas of recruitment, retention and progression will be promulgated when identified.


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