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9 Jan 2003 : Column 312W—continued

Foreign Prisoners (Deportation)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals serving prison sentences in prisons in England and Wales are to be deported on the completion of their prison sentence. [88838]

Beverley Hughes: As of 23 December 2002 there were 3,930 prisoners serving sentence who are known to be liable to be deported on completion of their custodial sentence. Each case is reviewed on its merits not sooner than 12 months before the prisoner might expect to be released having served the required period in custody.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the longest time was that a foreign national (a) man and (b) woman who had served a prison sentence waited on completion of that sentence to be deported from the UK in each of the last three years. [88839]

Beverley Hughes: I regret that the information requested is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals held in prisons in England and Wales are awaiting deportation and have completed their prison sentence. [88841]

Beverley Hughes: As of 23 December 2002 there are 94 prisoners detained beyond completion of their criminal sentences awaiting deportation.

Ministerial Engagements

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many engagements were undertaken outside London (a) by him or his predecessor and (b) by Ministers in his Department in January (i) 2000, (ii) 2001 and (iii) 2002. [87353]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 16 December 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer provided by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 16 December 2002, Official Report, column 608W.

Missing Persons

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce a national database of missing persons. [88186]

Mr. Denham: There are already arrangements nationally to record missing persons. Details of all missing persons should be recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) as soon as possible and in any case within 48 hours of their disappearance.

Notification of all outstanding missing persons should be sent to the Police National Missing Persons Bureau (PNMPB) within 14 days. Most missing persons are found locally within this period. Forces will not, however, be precluded from forwarding information to the PNMPB in a shorter time if a particular case appears to warrant more urgent attention.

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The National Missing Persons Helpline (NMPH) also maintain a database for all missing persons reported to them and these files are not closed until there is a definite resolution to each case.

The Home Office is currently working with key stakeholders within the area of missing persons, which includes the police and the NMPH, to increase co-operation and information sharing between Government Departments, and statutory and non-statutory agencies. #810,000 has been made available from the Invest to Save Budget (ISB), to put in place a new system for handling missing person cases. The aim of the project is the establishment of joint working arrangements between the United Kingdom police service and NMPH, together with improved recording and information sharing, to improve the service to missing persons and their families and to inform our understanding of the problem and develop strategies to address it. One of the key objectives of this project is to establish a unified national database of missing and unidentified people reported either to the police or to the NMPH.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for a common risk assessment between police services for missing persons. [88191]

Mr. Denham: The Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) 'Manual of Guidance for the Management of Missing Persons' promotes the use of a three-tier risk assessment procedure consisting of 'low', 'medium', and 'high' risk categories with an additional list of factors that need to be considered when assessing this risk.

Nationality Applications

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the backlog is of applications for nationality. [88567]

Beverley Hughes: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 10 December 2002, Official Report, column 237W, which stated that information on the number of cases outstanding was not available.

This is because information on the number of applications for nationality outstanding is not routinely published.

Overseas British Citizens

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made to end the status of Overseas British Citizen and to provide those affected with full British citizenship; what representations he has received about amending the status of Overseas British Citizens; and if he will make a statement. [88625]

Beverley Hughes: We have no plans to end the status of British Overseas Citizen. We received representations during the passage of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill about the plight of British nationals who had no right of abode in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. As a result we amended the Bill to confer an entitlement to British citizenship, and with it the right of abode in the United Kingdom, on British Overseas citizens, British subjects and British protected persons

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who have no other nationality and have not, since 4 July 2002, given up another nationality. The relevant section (s.12) will be commenced by order as soon as the administrative arrangements for receiving and considering applications are in place.

The remaining provisions in the British Nationality Act 1981 relating to the statuses of British Overseas Citizen, British subject and British protected person will continue in force to cater for those who are unable or unwilling to acquire British citizenship, and to facilitate the voluntary renunciation of those statuses.

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the number of people who would benefit from a change in the status of overseas British citizens. [88626]

Beverley Hughes: We estimate that there are now some 35,000 British overseas citizens and 10,000 British subjects and British protected persons who have no other citizenship. However, a margin of error must be allowed. These figures are based largely on personal contact with our overseas missions in the course of applications for passport and other consular services. There will be people who have not availed themselves of these services. Conversely, there will be people eligible for British citizenship who will not apply.


Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department can take in circumstances where police forces refuse to investigate particular complaints. [88981]

Mr. Denham: The Secretary of State for the Home Department does not have the power to intervene in the recording or investigation of individual complaints.

Under section 69 of the Police Act 1996, the chief officer of the force is the appropriate authority for recording and investigating complaints, other than complaints against senior officers. All complaints about the conduct of police officers must be recorded. It is for the chief officer to determine whether a complaint relates to the conduct of officers. A complaint may be resolved informally if the complainant consents and the chief officer is satisfied that the conduct complained of would not justify criminal or disciplinary proceedings. Otherwise the complaint must be formally investigated.

A new police complaints system will be introduced in April 2004 under provisions in the Police Reform Act 2002. This system will operate under the guardianship of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Under the new system, if the chief officer considers that a complaint should not be recorded because it does not relate to the conduct of police officers, he will be required to give reasons for that decision to the complainant. The complainant will have the right to appeal against that decision to the IPCC. The IPCC will be able, if appropriate, to require the complaint to be recorded. It will also have the power to call in any complaint and to determine how any subsequent investigation should be handled.

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Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officer working days have been lost due to (a) stress and (b) illness (i) in each police force in England and Wales and (ii) in total in each of the last five years. [87912]

Mr. Denham: At present sickness absence in the police service is not broken down by categories such as stress or illness. Therefore it is not possible to express the number of working days lost due to stress or illness over the last five years.

Sickness absence tables for the last five reporting periods will be placed in the Library, which give overall

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sickness absence figures on a force-by-force and a national basis.

From next April forces will be expected to measure sickness absence according to a new dataset, issued by the Home Office last July. This dataset will recommend a series of sickness absence categories which it is recommended that forces use for internal management purposes in order to target treatment at the categories of sickness producing the most absence.

Forces using these categories will, from the reporting period commencing in April, be able to break down their sickness absence figures into categories such as psychological disorders or infection.

HMIC Matrix of Indicators 1997–98—sick leave

Police days lost to sick leavePolice days lost to long term sick leaveAverage number of police Police officers on long term sick leaveSupport staff working days lost to sick leave
Avon and Somerset25,4564,87015,0352,6732,976289536,8147,738
City of London8,6351,6914,6867228691711,5552,227
Devon and Cornwall24,1536,10613,7223,3422,9294076,5949,869
Greater Manchester81,84325,05155,05017,4936,93099927418,44841,793
Metropolitan Police310,22084,348185,46054,32527,0282,27359270,874170,711
North Wales11,6032,2795,5821,0001,3962061,7304,020
North Yorkshire12,0592,8666,7531,5481,3752881,9254,481
South Wales42,9857,1622,884
South Yorkshire31,2987,52915,4523,6093,19472114,82210,995
Thames Valley36,46610,93423,5477,5753,82059245,48717,003
West Mercia19,0404,5448,3311,5992,0361974,4338,776
West Midlands66,78423,09733,72911,1667,1944631489,44337,901
West Yorkshire47,58712,94921,2195,7395,2153317910,11617,622

Support staff working days lost to long term sick leave Average number of Support staff on long term sick leave
MaleFemalesupport staffMaleFemale
Avon and Somerset4,2553,9201,5737786
City of London6691,32034934
Devon and Cornwall3,8614,6981,384823
Greater Manchester11,59925,0433,207195436
Metropolitan Police37,940109,33013,7056441,764
North Wales6351,31852600
North Yorkshire9442,31761028
South Wales1,241
South Yorkshire1,9062,8361,63876
Staffordshire1,7275,17091125 68
Thames Valley2,5668,1082,082516
West Mercia2,1433,5021,066310
West Midlands3,82315,2073,32940148
West Yorkshire5,1817,5152,55869111

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ask the Government Actuary to investigate police pension costs. [88504]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 January 2003]: As stated in the National Policing Plan, the Government are considering options for modernising police pensions to make them more flexible and affordable for future entrants. We are also seeking to meet the needs of police authorities and chief officers for a scheme which brings greater certainty about the financial impact on individual police forces.

The Government Actuary's Department is giving such advice as is necessary regarding police pension costs and options for reform.

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