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3 Feb 2004 : Column 786W—continued

Community Support Officers

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many community support officers are employed by each police authority. [151866]

Ms Blears [holding answer 2 February 2004]: The table gives a breakdown of the number of Community Support Officers (CSOS) employed by each police authority.

CSOs recruited to the end of January 2004

AuthorityTotal CSOs recruited
Avon and Somerset46
Devon and Cornwall55
Greater Manchester160
Metropolitan Police1,372
North Wales8
North Yorkshire37
South Wales63
South Yorkshire42
Thames Valley6
West Mercia55
West Midlands59
West Yorkshire206

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Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Spelthorne of 10 November 2003, about a constituent, Mr. J. A. Hernandez. [149030]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 January 2004]: I wrote to the hon. Member on 29 January 2004.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 8 December 2003 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Dr. Louis Sterling; [149550]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 28 January 2004.

Corruption Offences (Legal Assistance)

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests for mutual legal assistance his Department has received for corruption offences since November 1997; from which countries these requests came; when they were received; and how long it took for his Department to process each request. [151316]

Caroline Flint: The United Kingdom is committed to assist its international partners in the fight against corruption and has recently signed the UN Convention

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Against Corruption. The UK Central Authority (UKCA) in the Home Office has processed a number of such cases during the period in question. However, the more detailed statistics sought by the hon. Member are not available as UKCA does not currently collate them in a manner that can produce data according to offence type.

Crime Statistics

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect on total recorded crime of changes in recording practice since 1997–98. [150185]

Ms Blears: There have been two major changes to recording practices which have affected total recorded crime since 1997–98. In April 1998, the Home Office Counting Rules were substantially revised and in April 2002 the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was adopted nationally in England and Wales. These changes were introduced to promote greater consistency between police forces in the recording of crime, to take a more victim-oriented approach to crime recording and to improve the overall quality of statistics on recorded crime.

It is estimated that the changes to the Home Office Counting Rules introduced in April 1998 had the effect of increasing total recorded crime by 14 per cent. and the introduction of the NCRS is estimated to have increased total recorded crime by 10 per cent. in 2002–03.

Further details on these changes to recording practices and their effects on recorded crime statistics can be found in "Recorded Crime Statistics England and Wales, April 1998 to March 1999" and "Crime in England and Wales 2002–03", copies of which are available in the Library. A more detailed account of the impact of NCRS is given in "National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS): An Analysis of the Impact on Recorded Crime. Companion Volume to Crime in England and Wales 2002–03", which is available on the Home Office website.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects measures introduced by the Department to result in a reduction of recorded crime. [150186]

Ms Blears: The latest published data, covering the period July to September 2003, show that total recorded crime is stable compared to the same period 12 months previously. This includes falls in robbery (2 per cent.), domestic burglary (3 per cent.), other burglary (8 per cent.), and thefts of and from vehicles (8 per cent.).

Recorded crime is not the best indicator of long-term trends in crime because it is sensitive to changes in police recording practices and public reporting to the police. However, the British Crime Survey, which is not affected by these factors and which covers unreported

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and unrecorded crime as well as crimes reported to the police, shows that crime has fallen by 25 per cent. since 1997, with a further 1 per cent. fall in the 12 months to September 2003 compared to the year ending September 2002.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why statistics on crime in Wales are not separated from statistics for England. [150463]

Ms Blears: Statistics on crime in Wales are published separately in a number of publications. For example, the "Digest of Welsh Statistics 2003", published by the National Assembly for Wales, contains a chapter on crime and justice statistics. This can be found on the Welsh Assembly website at A range of other statistics are available through the Welsh Assembly website at under "Crime".

The Home Office Statistical Bulletin 7/03, "Crime in England and Wales 2002/2003" includes breakdowns of statistics for Wales, and for police forces within Wales, along with equivalent figures for English regions. These statistics include the number of recorded offences broken down by offence group, with offences per 1,000 population given for these figures. Victimisation rates are also given, as well as overall detection rates over time for Wales, methods of detection in 2002–03, and rates of detection for each main offence group in 2002–03. There are also breakdowns of violent crime offences, burglary and vehicle crime offences by police force area. In the internet publication, a separate chapter contains a summary for Wales of the main findings from crime statistics and British Crime Survey and this is available at

Supplementary Volume 2 to "Crime in England and Wales 2002/2003", which deals with public attitudes to crime, disorder and the criminal justice system, was published on 22 January. It includes figures for Wales, as well as English regions, concerning confidence in the criminal justice system, confidence in the police, perceptions of crime, and worry about crime.

Police Service (Essex)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time police officers were employed in Southend in each of the last 10 years. [152201]

Ms Blears: The deployment of officers to basic command units and to other specialist units in Essex police is an operational matter for the Chief Constable (Mr. David Stevens QPM).

Information on police officer numbers for each Basic Command Units is only available for March 2002 and 2003 and is set out in the table.

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Southend basic command unit

Basic command unit strength
31 March 2002(6)267
31 March 2003(7)273


(6) HM Inspectorate of Constabulary Annual Statistical Return for March 2002

(7) Research, Development and Statistical Directorate (RDS). Details for BCU strength in Essex police can be found on the RDS pages of the Home Office website.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to increase the establishment of the Essex Constabulary. [152154]

Ms Blears: It is for the Chief Constable (Mr. David Stevens QPM), in consultation with the Essex Police Authority, to determine police officer numbers subject to the budget set by his authority.

At the end of August 2003 Essex Police had record strength of 3,063, which is 102 more officers than in March 1997. I understand that Essex Police expect strength to be 3,081 by March this year. In addition Essex Police plan to have 55 Community Support Officers by 31 March 2004.

We have supported increases in police strength through the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF). Essex Police was allocated 197 CFF recruits over the three years to March 2003 fully funded by the Home Office. Continuation funding will continue for these posts. In addition Essex was allocated a further 10 CFF posts for 2003–04 funded at the rate of 75 per cent. For 2004–05 it is proposed that funding for these posts will be at the rate of 60 per cent.

Police staff make an important contribution to policing of Essex as many have been used to free police officers for operational duties. Between March 1997 and March 2003 police staff strength in Essex increased by 483 to 1,682.

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