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10 Dec 2002 : Column 238W—continued


Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to make performance data relating to police basic command units publicly available; and if he will make a statement. [84311]

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Mr. Denham [holding answer 2 December 2002]: Information is already published about the performance of police basic command units (BCUs) in reducing and detecting crime in respect of six types of crime which are of particular public concern. The most recent published figures, covering the year 2001–02, can be found in Home Office Statistical Bulletin 07/02 which was published in July.

The National Policing Plan described the on-going work to develop a more rounded picture of police performance. Performance radar diagrams will be introduced to provide a quick and visual representation of police performance across a number of policing responsibilities. Following discussion with forces and police authorities these will be published as appropriate. In due course these will cover both forces and BCUs.

Police (Staffordshire)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) civilian police workers there were in Staffordshire in each of the last 10 years. [84176]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 4 December 2002]: The information is set out in the table.

Staffordshire police

Year (as at 31 March)Police strength(15)Civilian support staff strength(15)

(15) Figures are full-time equivalents for civilian support staff. For police officers full-time equivalent strength figures were introduced from March 1995, following the introduction of part-time working for officers.

Police Service Targets

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the targets he has set which apply to the police service. [83675]

Mr. Denham: The National Policing Plan, which was presented to Parliament on 29 November 2002 in accordance with Section 1 of the Police Reform Act 2002, sets out, for the first time in one document, the strategic national priorities for the police service over the next three years and the indicators against which the performance of the service will be judged.

The police service is asked, through police authorities and police forces, to contribute to the Home Department achieving its Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets. These have been detailed in Section 10 and Annex A of the National Policing Plan. A summary of actions that Chief Officers and police authorities should take into account is at Annex B of the same document. The number of Best Value Performance Indicators, which was 32 in 2001–02, has dropped to 19 in 2002–03 and will remain 19 for 2003–04.

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All forces and authorities are subject to audit and inspection, and each is required to demonstrate a continuous drive for efficiency by meeting an annual target of savings/efficiency gains equivalent to 2 per cent.; of their annual budget.

Police Training

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of police recruits who commenced training completed their probation service in each police authority area in each year since 1995. [82492]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 25 November 2002]: Tables showing the numbers of officers appointed on probation (which is the closest equivalent to recruits entering training have been placed in the Library). Data on officers confirmed on appointment (i.e. having completed their probation) has been collected only since 2001. That data is given for 2001–02 but it does not, of course, relate directly to the numbers appointed in that year.

Post-Release Supervision

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take measures to make the extended post-release supervision mandatory for ten years for sexual and violent offenders. [82674]

Hilary Benn: The Government are committed to the protection of the public. This is reflected in provisions within the Criminal Justice Bill to introduce new sentences for sexual and violent offenders who have been assessed as dangerous. These sentences will replace existing provisions for dealing with sexual and violent offenders, including the extended supervision provision in section 85 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.

Under the new sentences an offender who commits a specified sexual or violent offence carrying a maximum sentence of between two and 10 years must be sentenced to the new extended sentence. Release during the second half of this sentence will be upon recommendation of the Parole Board and the Court will be required to add periods of extended supervision of up to nine years to the sentence.

Prison Health Service (Wales)

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in transferring funding responsibility for prison health services to the NHS in Wales. [85834]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 9 December 2002]: I am in touch with the Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Assembly. Welsh Assembly and Home Office officials are considering the arrangements that would be needed to effect the transfer of responsibility for prison health services to the national health service (NHS) in Wales.

Prison Releases (Drug Addicts)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of people leaving prison were drug addicts in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000 and (e) 2001. [85711]

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Hilary Benn [holding answer 9 December 2002]: The Prison Service does not measure the number of prisoners leaving prison with drug-related problems.


Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the rise in the prison population on (a) the assault rate on (i) prisoners and (ii) staff, (b) offending behaviour courses, (c) staff-prisoner ratios, (d) family visits and (e) purposeful activity. [82424]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 2 December 2002]: The Prison Service is working to minimise the disruption caused to prisoners and their regime by the population increase.

The rate of positive adjudications of assault has reduced in recent months. This is due in part to prisoners spending more time in their cells but the current assault rate is also depressed pending the introduction of new adjudication arrangements brought in after the removal of added day punishments. Although the population increase has affected staff-prisoner ratios, the operational capacity of each establishment is set to minimise the risks to security, safety and control.

With population close to operational capacity, a greater number of prisoners must be moved to maximise the available accommodation. This increases the number of prisoners being held away from their home area and for some, the greater distance can disrupt family visits. Prisoners held temporarily in police cells are not granted family visits, although the aim is that the time an individual prisoner spends in police cells is kept to a minimum and that prisoners who are particularly vulnerable are accommodated in prisons, wherever possible.

The Prison Service aims to avoid transferring prisoners that are on or awaiting offending behaviour programmes, however some disruption is inevitable while programmes are relocated away from local establishments which suffer most from increased turnover. The average level of purposeful activity across the estate has fallen slightly.


John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the policing and public order costs generated by entertainment venues in Romford town centre. [85073]

Mr. Denham: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis informs me that his estimate of the cost of policing disorder in Romford town centre between 7pm and 6am, when entertainment venues attract much of their clientele, is, so far this year, in the region of #240,000.

XSecure Borders, Safe Haven" White Paper

Mr. Simon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to proceed with the proposals contained in paragraphs 7.6, 7.10 and 7.11 of the White Paper XSecure Borders, Safe Haven". [85404]

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Beverley Hughes: We expect to reach a decision shortly on these proposals. A Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules will then be laid before Parliament.

Sexual Offenders Register

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are on the Sexual Offenders Register; and how many were on the register in 1997. [85384]

Hilary Benn: The Sex Offenders Act 1997 requires offenders cautioned for, convicted of, or found not guilty by reason of insanity of an offence specified in Schedule One to the Act since the date of its implementation to notify the police of their names, addresses, dates of birth and intentions to travel abroad for eight days or longer. The requirements of the Act also apply to offenders who were serving a sentence for a relevant offence, either in prison or in the community, at the date of its implementation (1 September 1997). There is, however, no central register of sex offenders and offenders subject to the requirements of the Sex Offenders Act are not separately identified in criminal statistics.

Information on the number of 'registered' sex offenders in a police area is submitted by police and probation services under the requirements placed on them established by section 67 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000.

As at 31 March 2002, police forces in England and Wales had notified the Home Office of 18,513 'registered' sex offenders.

I am informed by the Scottish Executive that as at 28 August 2002, 1,816 registered sex offenders were recorded by the Scottish Criminal Record Office as being administered by Scottish Police Forces.

The provisions of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 were commenced on 1 September 1997. A Home Office evaluation of the way the Act had been implemented was published in July 2000. This indicated that at 31 August 1998, one year after implementation, 8,608 sex offenders were subject to the Act's requirements. Figures covering the last three months of 1997 are not available.

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