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6 Mar 2003 : Column 1232W—continued

Prison Service

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list construction projects in the Prison Service in each of the last 10 years that have overspent; and if he will make a statement. [100229]

Hilary Benn: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to review the Prison Service's contract with British Telecommunications; and if he will make a statement. [100230]

Hilary Benn: Following a competitive tender, the Prison Service entered into a contract with BT in 1998 to develop a new telephone system for prisoners. The new system provides improved security for prisoners by removing the need for telephone cards, which had become a source of bullying and "taxing" within prisons. It also improves security for victims and witnesses because it allows individual telephone numbers to be barred to individual prisoners. The system is now installed in more than half the prisons in England and Wales, and is expected to be installed in all prisons by next summer.

The contract was reviewed in the course of last year, and among the changes was a technical adaptation to enable foreign prisoners to make overseas calls at reduced cost. These arrangements are now being piloted in four prisons, and in the light of the conclusion of the pilots, it is hoped to extend the arrangements to all prison establishments later in the year.

Prisoner Numbers

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the projected numbers of inmates for UK prisons are for 2005; and what the capacity of UK prisons will be by 2005. [100340]

Hilary Benn: The projected annual average for the prison population in England and Wales in 2005 is 87,200. The projected useable operational capacity of the estate for 2005 is 77,000. These projected figures are used for the purposes of planning the Prison Service estate. As part of the Review of Correctional Services, the Government is looking to develop a long-term strategy to manage population pressures.

Information relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for Ministers in the Scottish Executive and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland respectively.

Prisons

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the (a) uncrowded capacity and

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(b) maximum capacity of prisons in England and Wales were in each year between 1995 and 2002; and if he will make a statement; [99621]

Hilary Benn: The information requested is shown in the following table. The terms "maximum capacity" and "uncrowded capacity" are understood as being the useable operational capacity and in-use certified normal accommodation (CNA) respectively. The projections given from 2003 onwards are used for planning purposes. As part of the Review of Correctional Services, the Government is looking to develop a long-term strategy to manage population pressures.

Currently planned average in-use CANCurrently planned average useable operational capacityForecast average population
200669,50077,50091,200
200569,00077,00087,200
200467,00075,00081,300
200366,00074,00074,100
200264,20071,50070,800
200163,50069,40066,300
200063,40069,00064,600
199962,40068,10064,800
199861,30067,80065,300
199756,30061,80061,100
199653,20056,50055,300
199550,20054,20051,000

Notes:

1. Population figures exclude the numbers of prisoners held in police cells during that year. The figures are based on data for the last day of each month.

2. In-use CNA: the uncrowded capacity of the estate after adjusting for accommodation out of use.

3. The projected population figures are taken from the Home Office statistical bulletin published on 9 December 2002. A copy of the bulletin has been placed in the Library.

4. Usable operational capacity: the measure used for long-term estate planning purposes. The maximum number of prisoners that the estate could normally hold is up to 2, 000 less than the total certified operational capacity.


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Special Constables

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables were serving in Sussex police in the last six months; and what steps he is taking with the Sussex Chief Constable to increase this number. [100485]

Mr. Denham: The latest available figures for the strength of the Special Constabulary are for March 2002, at which time there were 306 special constables serving in Sussex police. Police numbers are now published annually and the next publication will show figures as at 31 March 2003.

The National Policing Plan 2003–06 reaffirms our commitment to introducing measures to increase the numbers and effectiveness of the Special Constabulary. The National Specials Weekend which was held on 21–23 February provided an opportunity for Forces to


Travellers

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans to bring forward legislation for stronger enforcement powers for the police to move on unauthorised traveller camps for (a) those local authorities who have adequate site provision in their area and (b) those local authorities who have been unable to provide sites in their area; and if he will make a statement. [99495]

Mr. Denham: Last July, we announced proposals for new eviction powers for police to deal with unauthorised encampments. These new powers will allow police to take firm action against unauthorised encampments, without the pre-conditions found in the current legislation, where local authorities have made adequate site provision which may be temporary. We will bring forward legislation when parliamentary time allows. Where local authorities have not made adequate site provision, current eviction powers will still be available.