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10 May 2004 : Column 67W—continued

Anti-Social Behaviour Act

15. Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the implementation of powers contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. [171330]

Mr. Blunkett: The majority of the powers in the Ant-Social Behaviour Act 2003 have now been commenced.

This is the biggest single package of measures in   tackling anti-social behaviour. They have been introduced after widespread consultation with communities and practitioners. The new powers are part of the Government's "Together Campaign" to help local people and agencies tackle the menace of yob behaviour.
 
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Migration (EU Accession States)

17. Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the potential impact of migration from EU accession states on public services in the UK after 1 May. [171332]

Mr. Browne: The measures that we have taken to regulate the UK labour market and prevent access to benefits and housing by nationals of the accession countries who are not in work, should mean that nationals of those countries coming to the United Kingdom are likely, as a group, to place relatively low demands on key public services. They will also, of course, be contributing like everyone else to the costs of those services by the taxes they pay.

Police Recruitment

18. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on police recruitment policy. [171333]

Fiona Mactaggart: Our general policy is to ensure that our national recruitment standards programme attracts recruits in sufficient number and of the right quality. In particular, our policy is to encourage more ethnic minority, graduate and female applicants to the Police Service and ensure that police officer numbers do not fall below current record levels.

Recruitment policy is drawn up in consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities.

Sex Offenders

20. Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on    the resettlement of sex offenders within the community. [171335]

Paul Goggins: Those who receive a prison sentence of 12 months or more are supervised by the National Probation Service on their release from custody. Those who are assessed as the highest risk are supervised under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements. The provision of stable accommodation is a major factor in the resettlement of offenders and approved probation and bail hostels have a key role to play.

Serious Organised Crime Agency

21. Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the proposed Serious Organised Crime Agency. [171336]

Paul Goggins: Serious organised crime poses a substantial and sophisticated threat to the UK. The Serious Organised Crime Agency will provide an effective response by reducing organisational boundaries, linking intelligence and operations, and providing a single point of contact for all matters related to such crimes.

Persistent Arsonists

22. Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the current aftercare of persistent arsonists; and if he will make a statement. [171337]


 
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Caroline Flint: The Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements we established in 2001 have provided the means by which all agencies involved in protecting the public from offenders—including persistent arsonists—can co-ordinate their efforts and provide a much closer supervision of high-risk offenders.

The OPDM-led Arson Control Forum (established in April 2001) provides the strategic direction of the national fight against arson. The forum has also invested a total of £9.3 million in local arson prevention over three years.

We will also be identifying young people with targeted measures before they become involved in offending as part of our new Prolific and Priority Offender Strategy.

Terrorism (Mental Illness)

23. Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he proposes to take in respect of the arrangements for individuals suspected of having a terrorist connection or intent who may be deemed to be suffering from mental illness. [171338]

Mr. Blunkett: The prisons where those suspected of terrorist connections or intent are held have good medical facilities providing 24-hour cover. In addition, prisons have access to relevant hospitals, including secure hospitals, where referral is appropriate on medical grounds. Provisions therefore exist to deal with any mental or other health problems regardless of the reasons for detention.

Where an individual is not detained in prison he will be treated within the national health system.

Anti-Social Behaviour

24. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are being taken to build up local expertise in measures to tackle anti-social behaviour. [171339]

Mr. Blunkett: Tackling anti-social behaviour is a key priority for the Government. That is why we have launched the Together Campaign, ensuring local practitioners gain real expertise in tackling anti-social behaviour.

A key part of the Together Campaign is the Together Academy and Actionline. The academies are designed to train front-line workers in the use of new and existing powers. In total there were 10 events held during March 2004 across England and Wales, training just over 2,000 academy graduates.

The Actionline ensures new and existing powers and best practice are used and understood. There have been over 1,000 since March.

The campaign will help improve the response to tackling anti-social behaviour by placing the focus within the heart of our communities and providing them with the opportunity to work together and also the tools to take action to tackle anti-social behaviour.

We have provided funding for every crime and disorder partnership across England and Wales and introduced specialist anti-social behaviour prosecutors to develop local expertise.
 
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Criminal Justice Interventions Programme

25. Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on extending the criminal justice interventions programme. [171340]

Caroline Flint: Criminal Justice Interventions Programme (CJIP) was successfully introduced into 30 areas with the highest levels of acquisitive crime in April 2003. The full programme—which includes drug testing on charge, arrest referral and through care and aftercare packages—has been expanded to a further 36 areas in April 2004. In the CJIP areas, waiting times for treatment have fallen significantly over the past year and the numbers starting treatment increased by 47 per cent.

Alcohol-related Violence

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what further action he proposes to reduce alcohol-related violence. [171334]

Mr. Blunkett: In March the Government launched the national alcohol harm reduction strategy for England. We intend to work together with all our stakeholders including the alcohol industry to implement all the recommendations in the strategy.

At the end of April, I announced a clampdown to be led by Paul Evans, the former Police Chief, who was so successful in achieving results in Massachusetts.

This will be a concerted enforcement campaign in the early summer to tackle under age drinking and selling alcohol to those already drunk. We want to rid our town centres of late night alcohol related violence. We will also work closely with local authorities, licencees and retailers to ensure that the full powers of the law are used effectively.

Advertising Campaigns

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated cost of the current police advertising campaign warning of the dangers of terrorism is; and from which budget that cost is being met. [164278]

Ms Blears [holding answer 31 March 2004]: There are currently two publicity campaigns that are being run warning of the danger of terrorism. One is the Life Savers Campaign and the other is the "Who owns this Bag?" campaign. The total cost of these campaigns is estimated at £355,500 and is being met jointly by the Metropolitan Police Service, the City of London Police, the British Transport Police, Transport for London and the Association of Chief Police Officers.


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