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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proposals he has to ensure that prosecutors may appeal against bail decisions in cases where it is highly likely defendants may re-offend; [116243]

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Paul Goggins: The Bail Act 1976 provides that the court may refuse bail if there are substantial grounds for believing that the defendant would commit an offence if released on bail. Where (in the case of an adult defendant) the evidence of such a risk is the fact that he was already on bail at the date of the offence, Clause 14 of the Criminal Justice Bill requires the court to refuse bail unless it is satisfied that there is no significant risk that he would commit an offence.

The Bail Amendment Act 1993 gives the prosecution a right of appeal to the Crown court against a decision by magistrates to grant bail, but this is at present limited to cases where the defendant is charged with or convicted of an offence which is punishable by imprisonment for five years or more (or an offence of taking a conveyance without authority or aggravated vehicle taking). Clause 18 of the Criminal Justice Bill extends this right of appeal to cover all imprisonable offences, as recommended by Lord Justice Auld. It will continue to apply only to decisions taken by magistrates courts.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are in place to inform victims and witnesses of decisions relating to bail conditions of suspects and early release of prisoners. [116245]

Paul Goggins: In England and Wales (separate arrangements apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland), the police are generally responsible for keeping victims informed of case developments, up to and including their conclusion in the courts. At present, this would not routinely include informing victims about bail decisions although the police have discretion to do so in cases where, for example, it would put the victim at risk of harm if they were not so informed.

One of our manifesto commitments is to introduce a Victims of Crime Bill during the course of this Parliament. The Bill, which will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows, is likely to include a statutory Code of Practice to replace the Victim's Charter. The Code will place some 70 to 80 obligations on criminal justice agencies to deliver specific services, within prescribed timescales, to victims. Among these obligations will be a specific requirement for the police to inform victims of bail decisions and, when relevant, bail conditions.

The Code will apply to victims, including those who go on to give evidence as witnesses. We also recognise that we need to do more to support witnesses who are not victims. An interagency working group has recently undertaken a wide-ranging review of the services provided to witnesses. Among other recommendations, it proposed improving the information given to witnesses and that good practice guidance be developed and disseminated following local pilot studies in witness care.

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Victims already have a right to be consulted about the release of prisoners. Since April 2001, the National Probation Service for England and Wales has had a statutory duty to consult and notify victims about all release arrangements and release conditions where an offender receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more for a sexual or other violent offence. There are currently no plans to extend this service to witnesses.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications to his Department for CCTV funding have been rejected in each year since 1999; and if he will make a statement. [117687]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A potential £170 million will be spent funding 684 CCTV schemes under the Crime Reduction Programme CCTV Initiative.

Under round one of the initiative in 1999–2000, 354 funding applications worth a potential £63 million were successful, 382 were unsuccessful and a further 12 were withdrawn.

Under round two of the initiative in 2001, 332 funding applications worth a potential £106 million were successful, 449 (including statements of intent) were unsuccessful and a further 10 were withdrawn. Funding was subsequently withdrawn from two successful applicants.

Charities Bill

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the timetable is for the proposed Charities Bill. [116820]

Beverley Hughes: The Strategy Unit Report is a report to Government and does not represent settled Government Policy. Home Office officials have now completed their analysis of the responses for which the Home Office has responsibility. It is the Government's intention to publish during the summer a summary of the responses to the consultation and an indication as to how the Government propose to take the review's recommendations forward.

Where recommendations have commanded general support and do not require legislation, we aim to move as quickly as possible to implement them, although some may first need further policy development work.

However, legislation would be needed to give effect to many of the recommendations. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has given a commitment to publish a draft Charities Bill as soon as possible.

Crime Statistics (East Yorkshire)

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the population of each prison in Haltemprice and Howden was in the last quarter for which figures are available; and what the figures were for the preceding four quarters. [116733]

Paul Goggins: There are two prisons in the hon. Member's constituency, Everthorpe and Wolds. The population data for each of the two prisons for the most recent and the preceding four quarters is given in the following table.

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31 March 200230 June 200230 September 200231 December 200231 March 2003

(17) Decrease in population at Wolds because of change of use from local prison to category C training prison.

Crime/Policing (Merseyside)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the chance of becoming a victim of crime in Merseyside was in each year since 1995. [116473]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The larger sample size of the British Crime Survey (BCS) in 2001–02 has resulted in the ability, for the first time, to analyse data (questions that are asked of the whole sample) by police force area such as Merseyside. Results for the Best Value Performance Indicator 120 measuring risk of victimisation of both personal and household crime for Merseyside for 2001–02 interviews can be found in 'Crime in England and Wales 2001–2002', Home Office Statistical Bulletin 07/02 (table 7.05). There is no comparable data for the years preceding 2001–02.

Prior to the 2001–02 BCS there is only information available for the old Government Office Region (GOR) of Merseyside for the 1998 BCS (covering crime in 1997). Victimisation rates for violence, burglary and vehicle crime by GOR can be found in 'The 1998 British Crime Survey' Home Office Statistical Bulletin 21/98 (appendix tables A5.4, A5.10 and A5.15). This definition of GOR was not used in previous sweeps of the BCS.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of community support officers in the Sefton authority area; how many officers have been appointed; and what their primary duties are. [116476]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Merseyside police are currently evaluating the impact of their community support officers (CSOs). The results of this will be released in late October. To date, I understand, the CSOs have been very well received within the community.

The Sefton area has nine CSOs, all of whom are allocated to the Bootle neighbourhood. Their primary duties are to supply a highly visible uniform presence within the neighbourhood and to assist in the gathering of information.

Detention Cells

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the specifications for police detention cells differ from those for magistrates courts detention cells; and what proposals he has to enable dual use where new combined courts and police stations are constructed. [115240]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 22 May 2003]: Cells in magistrates courts are designed to hold detainees during the periods when the courts are in session and may be used for multiple occupancy. Where detainees are held overnight they are usually transferred from magistrates court cells to other accommodation.

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Police cells are designed to hold detainees for 24 hours or longer and consequently usually do have provision for sleeping and in cell sanitation.

Consideration is being given to some sharing by the police of magistrates court cells outside of the periods of court operations. This model is planned to be implemented and monitored at the new Warwickshire Criminal Justice Centre joint police station and magistrates court project.

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