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6 Jan 2004 : Column 323W—continued

Police Funding

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account was taken of the extra bank holidays in 2004–05 in the police financial settlement. [140577]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 1 December 2003]: Account is not taken of variable numbers of bank holidays when determining the annual police grant settlement. Accommodating changes from year to year is a matter for police local management.

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional financial assistance is available from the Home Office to police authorities to cover the cost of large scale and expensive investigations. [144350]

Ms Blears: Police forces are normally expected to meet the cost of large-scale investigations from their own budget and general reserves.

In cases where unforeseen and exceptional costs are substantial, the Home Secretary may consider providing grant towards the additional costs. Cases are considered in the light of individual circumstances and subject to funds being available. Forces will normally be expected to meet initial costs up to 1 per cent. of their annual budget.

Murder Investigations

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account was taken of the financial impact of concurrent murder investigations in Nottingham in the recent police financial settlement. [140579]

Ms Blears [holding answer 1 December 2003]: I have decided exceptionally this year to provide a standard rate increase of 3.25 per cent. in general grant for each police authority in England and Wales.

Provision is made within the police funding formula for projected levels of crime, but not at the level of each individual case. It is a matter for the Chief Constable and Police Authority to determine, within the overall resources available, the deployment of resources according to operational priorities and objectives.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the sum representing the difference between the overall 4.2 per cent. cash rise and the 3.25 per cent. standard increase in allocation to police authorities will be spent; how much of it will be allocated to the London Metropolitan Police area; when it will be paid; and if he will make a statement. [141103]

Ms Blears: Total provision for policing to be supported by grant will increase by 4.2 per cent. in 2004–05. This includes principal formula police grant, revenue support grant and the share of national non-domestic rates available to police authorities, specific grants, capital grants, direct Home Office spending and the share of formula spending attributable to local council tax precept under revenue support grant arrangements.

All police authorities in England and Wales will receive a standard increase in unhypothecated general police grant (comprising Home Office police grant, ODPM revenue support grant and national non domestic rates) of at least 3.25 per cent.

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In addition, forces will receive grant for a number of specific initiatives. We announced details of the Crime Fighting Fund on 19 November. The Metropolitan Police will receive £73.0 million. Details of other specific initiatives from which the Metropolitan Police Service will benefit are still to be announced. These include Basic Command Unit funding, funding for Community Support Officers, the Street Crime Initiative, special priority Payments, the DNA expansion programme, counter terrorism funding as well as funding for capital purposes. The Metropolitan Police will continue to benefit from 75 per cent. funding of the London Allowance, funding towards free travel for Metropolitan Police Officers and further capital funds towards the Command Control Communications Information system project.

Police (Gloucestershire)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to ensure that there is a new timetable for an improvement in the quality of police files in Gloucestershire by means of Crown Prosecution Service participation in police training. [144015]

Ms Blears: Senior crown prosecutors, including the Chief Crown Prosecutor, have participated in 20 police training exercises in Gloucestershire between August and December 2003. This training has covered a number of issues including: the new charging arrangements; evidential requirements in racially aggravated offences; police file preparation and management; disclosure issues; and identification evidence.

The result of those training exercises is being evaluated and there are plans for a limited number of further training exercises in January and February next year and it is likely the police Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) training programme will be reviewed again at that point with a view to further joint CPS/police training during next year.

There have also been selective police/CPS training exercises designed to improve the quality of files in particularly troublesome cases and these have included rape offences and racially aggravated offences.

Presidential Visit

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated cost was of the police operation to provide security for the visit of President Bush. [143761]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 December 2003]: The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police tells me that the estimated cost of the policing operation in London for this event is £4.2 million. We also understand from Durham Constabulary that the estimated cost of the policing operation for the President's visit to Durham is £1 million.


Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at what time the (a) M20 and (b) M26 were closed to traffic on 15 December; at what

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time each was reopened to traffic on 16 December; and for what reason the roads were not reopened sooner. [145532]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 5 December 2003]: Sections of the M20 and M26 motorways were closed to traffic at 10.30pm on 15 December and reopened at 7am on 16 December.

The closure was necessary to enable the police to undertake a full investigation into the three deaths which unfortunately occurred as a result of an accident there.

The length of such investigations is affected, for example, by the need to ensure that small items of evidence are not overlooked, or where artificial light may not be adequate for the proper identification and interpretation of tyre marks, or other vehicles need to be prevented from destroying or obliterating evidence by passing over it.

Sexual Offences

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requirements need to be satisfied in order to issue a Risk of Sexual Harm Order. [143479]

Paul Goggins: The Risk of Sexual Harm Order (RSHO) is a new civil preventative order which is being introduced in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. RSHOs will be available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The RSHO is designed to protect children aged under 16 (17 in Northern Ireland) from sexual harm by adults. We know that some abusers try to prepare children for sexual activity by exposing them to sexually explicit language or images. The RSHO is intended to help the police to prevent such behaviour.

A Chief Officer of police will be able to apply for, and a court will be able to make, a RSHO in respect of a person aged 18 or over where it appears they have, on at least two occasions either:

An application for an order will be by complaint to a magistrates court. The behaviour on which the application for a RSHO is based need not amount, in itself, to a criminal offence and the defendant does not need to have a previous conviction for a sexual (or any other) offence.

A RSHO may prohibit the defendant from doing anything which is necessary to protect a particular child, a group of children or children in general from sexual harm. The order will last for a fixed period of at least two years, or until further notice.

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Interim RSHOs will be available to allow prohibitions to be put in place prior to the main application for a RSHO being determined. RSHOs, and interim RSHOs, can be varied, renewed or discharged on further application to the magistrates court by either a chief officer of police or defendant.

The defendant may appeal to the Crown court against the making of a RSHO or interim RSHO or any order made by a court to vary, renew or discharge a RSHO or interim RSHO.

A breach, without reasonable excuse, of any prohibition contained in a RSHO or interim RSHO will be a criminal offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

Speed Cameras

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much revenue Essex police received from the operation of (a) speed and (b) red light cameras in 2002–03; [145166]

Caroline Flint: Information on the revenue raised from speed and red light offences detected by camera is not available.

However the table shows, for the Essex police force area, the number of fixed penalties ordered to be paid and the number of court fines for such offences in the calendar years 1997 to 2001 (latest available). Information for 2002 will be available early in 2004.

Not all fines and fixed penalties will have been paid.

Fixed penalty and court proceedings data for speeding and traffic light offences by cameras(17),(18),(19) in the Essex police force area

Fixed penaltiesCourt
Offenceand yearNumber of ticketsEstimated revenue(20)Number of fines(21)Total amount of fine (£)Average fine (£)
Speeding offences(18)
Traffic light offences3

(17) Automatic cameras until 1998, all camera types from 1999.

(18) Offences under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and The Motor Vehicles (Speed Limits on Motorways) Regulations 1973.

(19) Offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1994.

(20) Paid i.e. no further action.

(21) Estimate based on £40 fixed penalty charge to October 2000. From November 2000 the penalty was raised to £60.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices were issued to motorists caught at each location of a fixed speed camera within a Safety Camera Partnership in (a) the year prior to installation and (b) the year subsequent to installation. [142235]

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Caroline Flint: Information collected centrally on the number of fixed penalty notices issued as a result of detection by camera does not identify the type of camera used or its location.

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