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10 Dec 2002 : Column 232W—continued

Custody Plus

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the cost of (a) introducing and (b) running the custody plus scheme. [84308]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 2 December 2002>: The majority of the costs for implementing custody plus (both the costs of introducing the new sentence and of running it thereafter) fall on the Probation Service who need to build up capacity to manage an increased case load of approximately 50,000 per annum as a result of this new sentence. Current estimates are that an additional #19 million, #70 million, #136 million, #175 million, #186 million and #194 million for the financial years 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08 and 2008–09 respectively will be needed for the Probation Service to implement all the sentencing provisions in the Bill. Costs are expected to be in the order of #194 million annually thereafter.

Domestic Violence

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the prevalence of domestic violence within different categories of family configuration and marital status; [83856]

Mr. Denham: The British Crime Survey (BCS) provides overall trend information on the number of incidents of domestic violence. The BCS figures are derived from a sample and so are subject to sampling error. Moreover, the BCS is carried out by face-to-face interviews and some respondents may be unwilling to reveal experience of domestic violence to interviewers. Copies of the BCS are available in the Library.

However, the 1996 BCS included a self-completion component on domestic violence to encourage disclosure. Results from this were published in Home Office Research Study No.191—copies are available in the Library. This more confidential approach to measurement revealed that the proportion of women who were victims of domestic assault in the preceding year was over three times higher than in the main BCS. This study also has information on the marital status of victims (page 29), and whether there are children in the household (page 32).

In addition, BCS interviews conducted in the 2001–02 financial year provide the following information (from face-to-face interviews).

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Living arrangementsPercentage of respondents(11)
Head of household under 60
Single adult and child(ren)3.8
Adults and child(ren)0.7
No children0.6
Head of household over 600.1
All adults0.6

(11) Who were victims of domestic violence once or more

The 2001 BCS also contained an interpersonal violence self-completion module designed to estimate the extent of domestic violence, sexual victimisation and stalking. The module included questions on the marital status of victims and the family configuration. Results are expected to be published in Summer 2003,

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what statistics regarding domestic violence are tracked at UK level. [85311]

Mr. Denham: Domestic violence is not separately identified in recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has collected information from police forces on the number of reported incidents of partner-on-partner violence since 1993. The British Crime Survey (BCS) can provide information on the number of incidents of domestic violence against women and men. The Home Office also collects information on all homicides, which can identify the relationship between the victim and perpetrator.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if there is a standard model for the role of domestic violence officer in the UK. [85315]

Mr. Denham: There is currently no standard role for domestic violence (DV) officer in the UK. Home Office Circular 60/1990 emphasised the need for the establishment of dedicated units or specialist officers to deal with DV incidents. XPolicing domestic violence —a modular training programme", a national training product developed by Centrex and issued in November 2003, will provide a structured but flexible approach to the delivery of domestic violence training within the police service including to domestic violence officers.


Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much central government funding was provided to Drugscope in each of the last five years. [85097]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Drugscope and its predecessor organisations the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse and the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependency received the following funds from the Home Office, Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

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2002–03 figures relate to spend to date and known commitments and may not reflect accurately the final outturn figure.

These figures are based upon information available from departmental accounting systems and do not include all payments for consultancy work.

In addition, Drugscope was also successful in securing #76,294 over the two years 2002–03 and 2003–04 from the Recovered Assets Fund.

Emergency Planning

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what responsibilities he has for emergency planning and the co-ordination of the work of emergency planning authorities; and how his exercise of such responsibilities in London differs from that elsewhere in (a) England and (b) the UK. [84605]

Mr. Denham: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Blair) made clear to the House on 20 November, my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary (Mr. Blunkett) has responsibility for ensuring effective arrangements are in place to co-ordinate the Government's response to major emergencies.

The Home Secretary chairs three Cabinet Committees which co-ordinate this work: DOP (IT) (T) which oversees the work to strengthen the UK's defences against terrorism, DOP (IT) (R) which works to build the UK's resilience and ability to manage the consequences of major emergencies; and the Civil Contingencies Committee which meets to oversee lead department's management of major emergencies and manage their wider effects. The devolved Administrations are represented on the relevant committees.

The Cabinet Office provide the Home Secretary with direct support headed at official level by Sir David Omand, who is the Permanent Secretary in charge of security and intelligence co-ordination. All Departments have a responsibility to plan, prepare, train and exercise for handling major incidents and emergencies that might occur within their field of responsibility. It is their Ministers' responsibility to ensure that they are ready to take the leading role on behalf of central Government in managing the initial response to a major emergency, mitigating its immediate effects, and organising the development of a recovery plan.

My right hon. Friend, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Prescott) is replying to you on his responsibilities in this area, and on the specific arrangements for London. My right hon. Noble Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Lord McDonald) has responsibility for the work of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, including the payment of the Civil Defence Grant.

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Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many local agreements have been established between fire authorities and health authorities at local level in relation to the handling of an NBC attack. [85424]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 5 December 2002]: A national Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate and the Department of Health for the mass decontamination of casualties following a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident was drawn up in December 2001. The MoU is intended to provide a national framework for locally agreed plans and procedures for mass decontamination.

Agreements have already been established to cover the fire authorities in 19 of the 28 strategic health authorities in England. In all other areas, agreements are being finalised for adoption.

The Devolved Administrations have adopted the approach of agreeing a single Memorandum of Understanding to cover all fire and health authorities.

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions Ministers have met under his chairmanship in the past six months to discuss civil protection. [85426]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 5 December 2002]: In line with Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, information on the proceedings of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is not disclosed. However, my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, has regular contact with his colleagues in relation to his responsibilities for counter terrorism and civil contingency.

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