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9 Dec 2003 : Column 404W—continued

Gender-specific Drug Treatment

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to create a specialist gender-specific drug treatment service for women in the community. [141623]

Caroline Flint: The National Treatment Agency is implementing Models of Care, which lays down a national framework for the commissioning and provision of local drug services. Models of Care sets quality standards, including on services for women and those with dependent children.

The NTA has also commissioned the University of Central Lancashire and Drugscope to work directly with drug services in three regions on meeting the needs of specific groups including women with dependants.

All Drug Action Teams are expected to review provision for under represented groups on an annual basis as part of their treatment planning.

High Crime Areas

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what efforts are being made by his Department to encourage the reporting of crime in high crime areas. [140468]

Ms Blears: We are encouraging more people to report crimes in all areas by improving the way in which crimes reported to the police are recorded. The National Crime Recording Standard, formally introduced in all forces in England and Wales in April 2002, aims to bring greater consistency to the way in which crime is recorded by the police and to ensure a more victim centred approach to crime recording.

There have also been crime specific initiatives aimed at increasing the numbers of such crimes reported to the police, particularly, domestic violence and sexual offences. For example, the British Crime Survey shows that there was a 5 per cent. Increase in the proportion of violent crimes being reported to the police in 2002–03 compared with the previous year.

With a total sample size of 40,000 interviews a year, more emphasis is now being placed on the British Crime Survey as a way of measuring crime, as it covers unreported and unrecorded crime as well as offences which are reported to the police. As the survey is unaffected by changes in the level of public reporting to the police or police recording, it provides a more accurate picture of crime across England and Wales.

9 Dec 2003 : Column 405W

Iraq

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK civilian police officers have been operating in Iraq in each month since May; and what plans there are for future deployment. [141147]

Mr. Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

There are currently 11 UK civilian police officers in Iraq, in both Baghdad and Basra. The first four officers were deployed in July. They were joined by six more officers in October and one in November. We intend to deploy 24 police officers soon to the Regional Police Training Academy in Basra to help train new recruit to the Iraqi Police Service.

Knives

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what information his Department records on the types of knives used in assaults and other criminal offences; and what assessment he has made of the trends; [141365]

Ms Blears: This information is not collected centrally.

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions his Department has had with Chief Constables on the use of stop and search powers to tackle the carrying of knives. [141549]

Ms Blears [holding answer 3 December 2003]: There have been no recent discussions between the Home Department and Chief Constables on the use of stop and search powers specifically to tackle the carrying of knives.

However, we have consulted the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on the revision of PACE Code A. It provides the guidance for police officers on the use of the powers of stop and search, including the powers to stop and search for offensive weapons and dangerous instruments. This guidance has recently been revised—a new version came into force on 1 April 2003. A further revision will come into force in April 2004. ACPO will be consulted on future revisions.

A stop and search sub group has been set up under the Lawrence Steering Group to look at issues around stop and search. ACPO are represented on that group. The sub group's work includes considering ACPO guidance to the police on their powers to stop and search for offensive weapons and dangerous instruments under section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make a statement on the relationship between the police and neighbourhood watch schemes. [140891]

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Ms Blears: The police play a crucial supporting role for Neighbourhood Watch at a local level. This includes providing advice on how to set up schemes and assisting with administration and publicity. In some cases co-ordinators and scheme members work as part of a "Watch Support Group" in police premises.

Watch schemes can be vital partners of the police in the fight against crime. Their role in preventing crime, supporting victims and reporting crime is a key one.

The Government along with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Neighbourhood Watch Association are building on this relationship to ensure that those who give their time to their local Neighbourhood Watch schemes and their communities will get as much support as possible from the police.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding was provided by central Government to the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [140892]

Ms Blears: Neighbourhood Watch is a movement of over 155,000 local schemes covering around six million households. Local schemes are independent and largely self-financing. Police support for schemes can be considerable but its monetary value has not been calculated.

The Home Office supports the National Neighbourhood Watch Association. For the last three years it sponsored their annual conference at a cost of £80,000pa. The organisation is largely self-financing with funding from the private sector. Last year the Home Office provided a grant of £150,000 and this year it has provided £200,000 to date. This was to assist the Organisation during a period of transition between private sponsors.

The Home Office also pays for the production of a range of Neighbourhood Watch Publications, including a training manual for scheme co-ordinators, worth around £100,000 each year.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Neighbourhood Watch schemes there are in England and Wales; and what estimate he has made of how many people belong to them. [140893]

Ms Blears: The 2000 British Crime Survey (BCS) estimated that there were over 155,000 Neighbourhood Watch Schemes in England and Wales covering more than six million households. National Neighbourhood Watch Association estimates that there are approximately 10 million Neighbourhood Watch members in England and Wales.

A copy of the 2000 BCS Findings on Neighbourhood Watch has been placed in the Library.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Watch schemes. [140894]

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Ms Blears: The British Crime Survey contains a number of questions about Neighbourhood Watch, including an assessment of its effectiveness. The findings of the 2000 British Crime Survey have been published and a copy has been placed in the Library.

Police

Mr. McWalter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what incentives he is providing to attract police officers who are of continuing value to the service to continue beyond 30 years of service. [142109]

Ms Blears: The Police Negotiating Board (PNB) Agreement of May 2002 included outline provisions for flexible arrangements that would give managers in the police service scope to retain officers who are entitled to retire with maximum pension benefits where they wish to do so. The main points of the 30+ scheme subsequently agreed by the PNB are:


The 30+ scheme has been piloted in a selection of forces in England and Wales since December 2002. A total of 15 forces are currently participating and the initial response to the scheme has been generally positive, both from officers and forces. We are currently reviewing the progress of this scheme and will send a report to the PNB later this month about extending the scheme nationally.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has issued to police forces in relation to police officers' membership of or affiliation to (a) political parties and (b) other political organisations; and if he will place copies in the Library. [141806]

Ms Blears: Schedule 1 to the Police Regulations 2003 states that "A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression among members of the public that it may so interfere; and in particular a member of a police force shall not take any active part in politics".

Copies of Police Regulations 2003 are in the Library (Statutory Instrument No. 527 of 2003).

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations have taken place over the last year about the formula for the police financial settlement. [140580]

Ms Blears: The policing community was consulted in August and October 2003 on the potential impact of changes in data used in the formula.

To provide stability in police funding following major changes for 2003–04, no changes to the structure of the police funding formula have been made for 2004–05 so formula change has not been the subject of consultation.

9 Dec 2003 : Column 408W

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional police officers have been recruited in (a) England and (b) East Sussex in the last five years; and what percentage increase this represents in each case. [140890]

Ms Blears: The available information is given in the table:

Total police strength1

31 MarchEngland(27)Sussex
1999117,1952,847
2000115,3242,822
2001116,5482,855
2002120,0732,893
2003124,1582,989
% change 31 March 1999 to 31 March 20005.9%5.0%

(26) Full time equivalent

(27) Figures are available for the Sussex Police Force as a whole and not East Sussex as requested.


Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been (a) killed and (b) injured by drivers (i) failing to stop and (ii) evading arrest in each of the last 10 years; and how many of those injured have retired from the police service as a result. [141326]

Ms Blears: Information in the form requested is not held centrally. Data on homicide of police officers where the method is described as being struck by a motor vehicle and the circumstances as resisting arrest or a reckless act involving a motor vehicle are listed in the following table:

Currently recorded homicides of police officers struck by a motor vehicle

Circumstances
Resisting arrestReckless act involving a motor vehicle
199300
199400
199500
199600
1997–9800
1998–9900
1999–200020
2000–0121
2001–0200


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