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10 Dec 2002 : Column 235W—continued

Entertainment Venues

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in developing arrangements under which entertainment venues would contribute to the policing and public order costs arising from their activities. [85072]

Mr. Denham: We have set up a working group, comprising representatives of the Home Office, Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the association of Chief Police Officers and the football authorities, to consider a range of strategic football issues, including police charging policy in connection with matches, and the investment of football clubs in the wider community.

The Government is also concerned at the costs incurred in policing entertainment venues, particularly pubs and clubs which operate late into the night and major events such as sporting and outdoor entertainment. We welcome schemes where entertainment outlets contribute to the additional policing costs associated with alcohol related disturbance.

Exceptional Leave to Remain

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy regarding exceptional leave to remain. [85524]

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Beverley Hughes: Our policy is to give protection to those people who need it. However exceptional leave has acted as a pull factor for people to come to the United Kingdom in the belief that they will be given exceptional leave if their asylum claim is refused.

We have decided to tighten up the basis on which leave will be granted to those who have been refused asylum. The current exceptional leave provisions will be replaced by a new form of XHumanitarian Protection" which will offer protection to those who have protection needs but are not covered by the 1951 Convention.

Firefighters' Dispute

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of police officers who will be removed from normal duties to escort Green Goddesses during the duration of the firefighters' strike; and what estimate he has made of the cost to police authorities of this additional responsibility in terms of overtime, cancelled rest days and non-availability for routine activity. [81666]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 19 November 2002]: I understand from the Association of Chief Police Officers that between 5,000–6,000 police officers, mostly working rest days, were used per day to escort Green Goddesses and staff control rooms during the firefighters dispute.

I have been advised by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) that it is very difficult to predict exactly what the final cost to police authorities of supporting emergency fire cover will be, as this will depend on the nature of the strike activity.


Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for permanent leave to remain have been made since January; how many were made in (a) 2001 and (b) 2000; what the average waiting time is to determine applications for permanent leave to remain; what the waiting time was in December (i) 2001 and (ii) 2000; what estimate he has made of how many extra staff would be needed to reduce the waiting time to three months; and if he will make it his policy that supporting documentation is copied upon receipt of the application and returned to the applicant while waiting for determination. [85751]

Beverley Hughes: The latest available information on the number of people granted settlement (permanent leave to remain) is as follows. Information on the number of applications made for settlement is not available.

There are no published data on decision times to determine applications for settlement. Our aim is to screen all postal applications within three weeks. Most applications (i.e. those which are straightforward) are decided on an initial screening. Due to a busy period for immigration applications between September and November, the initial screening of new applications is at present taking up to eight weeks on average. We are

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working to reduce this to three weeks or less, but are unlikely to achieve that for the next two to three months because of the exceptionally high intake. Because of the high number of applications, some which need further inquiries or more detailed consideration can take over 12 months to decide. Information on general processing times for applications is provided to applicants on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) website at

We are looking at what extra resources will be required to provide a better service.

Where applications are handed into the Public Enquiry Office and cannot be completed on the day, the sponsor's passport is copied and handed back to the caller. We will extend this practice in January to those new postal applications where the application cannot be decided on initial consideration.

Immigration (Removals)

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were removed by his Department in November. [85526]

Beverley Hughes: I regret that information on the number of people removed under Immigration Act powers in November 2002 is not yet available. Figures for total removals will be published in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin XControl of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2002", which is due for publication in August 2003.

Monthly statistics showing the number of asylum removals are available from the Home Office quarterly asylum statistics bulletin. Figures for November will be available in XAsylum Statistics: 4th Quarter 2002, United Kingdom", which is scheduled for publication in February 2003.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the backlog of cases is in each division at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. [85525]

Beverley Hughes: At the end of September 2002, there were 37,200 asylum cases awaiting an initial decision, including work in progress.

On the same date, there were an estimated 47,000 appeals lodged with the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) that had not yet been sent to the Immigration Appellate Authority. This figure includes non-asylum appeals.Information on the number of cases outstanding in other divisions of IND is not available.

Information on the number of asylum cases awaiting an initial decision is published quarterly on the Home Office website at

Internet Child Pornography

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional resources are available to the police to deal with the recent names given to them by US detectives investigating internet child pornography. [85410]

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Hilary Benn: The new National Policing Plan requires forces to include child protection in their local policing plans, strengthen their partnership arrangements and carefully select and train staff working in this area.

This reinforces the Joint Chief Inspectors' Report on Arrangements to Safeguard Children recommendation that police forces and authorities should review the role, remit, location and status of child protection units to ensure that child protection is dealt with to a consistently high standard.

As part of the investment programme for police services in England and Wales, this year (2002–03) the police received an overall funding increase of 6.1 per cent. (on top of record spending and a record increase of 10.1 per cent. in 2001–02) taking the total provision to #9,010 million. In addition policing will receive an increase of #1.5 billion for policing as a wholeby 2005–06 over the 2002–03 figure.The Home Office has also decided to provide an additional #½ million in this financial year only to assist the Association of Chief Police Officers national structure to support operations to combat child abuse on the internet.

Operational decisions on allocation of police resources to combating child exploitation rest with police authorities and chief officers. There is no central record of the additional resources which chief officers across forces may have allocated to deal with investigations resulting from this operation.

Metropolitan Police

Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Metropolitan Police officers there were in each of the last 10 years. [82478]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 27 November 2002]: The information is set out in the table.

Metropolitan police

Year(12)Police officers(13)

(12) As at 31 March

(13) Figures are for full-time equivalent strength

(14) Police strength in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for March 2001 was reduced as a result of boundary changes on 1 April 2000 between the MPS and the Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey forces. Consequently it is not possible to make like with like strength comparison over the 10 years

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