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25 Feb 2004 : Column 453W—continued

Female Prisoners

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many girls aged (a) 15, (b) 16 and (c) 17 years were held in prisons in England and Wales in each of the last five years; in which establishments they were held; and whether there are girls of these ages in prison now. [154217]

Paul Goggins: The number of girls aged (a) 15, (b) 16 and (c) 17 held in prisons in each of the last five years and on 30 November 2003, by establishment, is given in the table.

The Youth Justice Board issued a commitment to remove all 16-year-old girls from Prison Service custody by 31 December 2003. This commitment was achieved. However, in. exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to detain a 16-year-old girl in a Young Offenders Institution in the future.

Number of girls aged 15,16 and 17 in prisons by age

June 1999
Bullwood Hall449
Drake Hall001
Eastwood Park018
Foston Hall001
New Hall1721
June 2000
Bullwood Hall145
Drake Hall001
Eastwood Park145
Low Newton013
New Hall067
June 2001
Bullwood Hall2221
Eastwood Park029
Low Newton003
New Hall3722
June 2002
Bullwood Hall2225
Eastwood Park134
Low Newton001
New Hall61527
June 2003
Bullwood Hall0311
Eastwood Park006
Low Newton001
New Hall0134
November 2003
Bullwood Hall0015
Eastwood Park009
New Hall0123

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Fixed Penalty Notices

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices have been issued by community support officers; and for what offences. [155055]

Ms Blears: Information on how many fixed penalty notices have been issued by Community Support Officers (CSOs) in individual forces is not collected centrally.

CSOs may be given powers to issue penalty notices for a variety of offences. Designating CSOs with these powers, and determining the appropriate recording procedure, is a matter for the Chief Officer in each force which has CSOs. The following fixed penalty notice powers may be given to CSOs:

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The following are available to CSOs under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act and have not yet been commenced.

Forensic Science Service

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Oral Answer of 19 January 2004, Official Report, column 1073, on the Forensic Science Service, what extra resources the Forensic Science Service requires in (a) one-off capital investment and (b) additional annual revenue. [155935]

Ms Blears: The independent McFarland Review found the Forensic Science Service (FSS) to be significantly under-capitalised, a situation compounded by the constraints of Trading Fund status. The actions we are taking to develop the FSS as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) will ensure it has the commercial freedoms necessary to develop and build on its proven ability as a world leader.

The future financial requirements of the FSS are currently being addressed in work under way to produce an outline business case that will look in greater detail at how best to optimise its performance and economic prospects.

Identity Theft

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the individuals arrested in operations against identity theft of British passports have been (a) charged and (b) convicted; what the sentence was in each case; and how many passports were recovered. [144252]

Beverley Hughes: It is not possible for me to provide the hon. Member with the details sought within this question. This information is not routinely collected and could be retrieved only at disproportionate cost.

Leyhill Prison

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the events which led to the escape of Mr. Roddy Maclean from Leyhill Prison. [154968]

Paul Goggins: I received the final investigation report into the abscond of Roderick McLean on 10 February. I am studying the report and will write to the hon. Member.

New Prisons

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who is carrying out the survey to identify suitable sites for new, large prisons; and what the terms and conditions of the survey are. [153985]

Paul Goggins: The Prison Service is actively seeking urban sites that are suitable for the development of prison establishments. The size and function of new

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prison establishments is determined by the size and mix of the projected population. The details of individual sites cannot be disclosed at this stage for commercial reasons.


Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many plain-clothes officers are deployed by police forces in England and Wales. [155048]

Ms Blears: The requested information is not available centrally.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made for police drivers to receive (a) initial and (b) refresher training; and if he will make a statement. [155056]

Ms Blears: Police driver training is a matter for individual forces.

A national driver training package was produced in 2000 which was endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and recommended to forces. It consists of three core courses:

It is recommended that periodic formal assessments should take place every three to five years, accompanied by refresher training, if required.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance his Department has published on (a) the vision levels that police drivers need to achieve and (b) how frequently they should receive eye checks. [155058]

Ms Blears: The Home Office has not issued guidance on eyesight standards specific to drivers in the Police Service.

The Association of Police Officers Joint Working Group on Health, Safety and Welfare Medical Sub Group produced guidance on visual driving standards in 1994. This was set as a minimum visual acuity of 6/18.

The guidance also states that advanced drivers should undertake a medical assessment, including eyesight test, every three years until aged 45 and then annually.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what standards of driving test police drivers are required to meet; and what the failure rate was in each year since 1997. [155059]

Ms Blears: Police driving standards, ranging from basic to pursuit, are published on the Association of Chief Police Officers website:

There is no central collection of data on failure rates.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines are published by his Department on the disciplinary code for police drivers. [155060]

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Ms Blears: The Code of Conduct set out in the Police (Conduct) Regulations 1999 sets out the principles which guide police officers' conduct and applies to officers working in all areas and of all ranks.

There is no specific code or principle that relates to police drivers. The Association of Chief Police Officers issues Police Driving Guidelines, which all police forces follow.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what disciplinary measures are taken against police drivers who are involved in road accidents. [155061]

Ms Blears: Discipline measures are taken against those police officers who are found to have breached the Code of Conduct.

Police drivers who are involved in road traffic accidents are not automatically assumed to have breached the Code of Conduct. However, if an allegation or report of a breach is made a disciplinary investigation will be undertaken and this can result in a hearing. If the case is proved against the officer the disciplinary hearing will determine the appropriate sanction, which, if serious can be dismissal from the force.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what Government criteria there are for (a) siting of police cells, (b) the number of police cells and (c) conditions of police cells. [153771]

Ms Blears: The number and siting of police cells is a local operational matter for the Chief Constable and the Police Authority.

The conditions of police cells are subject to National and European legislation such as the Health and Safety Act, the Disability Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act.

The Home Office has issued the Police Design Buildings guidance and intends producing a Design Quality Guide. Police Authorities and forces are also advised on building projects by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the displacement of crime from areas subject to intensive policing initiatives to neighbouring areas. [155874]

Ms Blears: Research in London has found very little evidence of geographic or functional displacement as a consequence of the Street Crime Initiative (SCI). While there was some evidence of local shifts within the boroughs, this was not considered significant.

Under the Crime Reduction Programme there were a number of evaluations which included some estimation of whether activity had led either to a displacement of crime, or conversely to what is termed a diffusion of

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benefits (reductions in crime across a larger area, or across a wider range of crime types, than were being targeted).

For instance a report detailing the impact of 63 evaluated Reducing Burglary Initiative (RBI) projects is soon to be published, and this report will include estimates of displacement and diffusion of benefits. Under the RBI, a methodological report was also produced by one of the evaluation teams that examined the complex issue of how one measures crime displacement, and proposed a new statistical technique for doing so.

However, it has to be acknowledged that there remains no agreed methodology for assessing whether policing initiatives result in a displacement of crime or a diffusion of benefits. Nevertheless, past research evidence from outside the Home Office indicates that displacement of crime resulting from police or related crime reduction activities is by no means inevitable, and indeed crime reduction gains usually outweigh any possible displacement of crime.

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