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19 May 2004 : Column 1039W—continued

Ministerial Visits

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list visits made by each Minister in the Department between December 2003 and April 2004, broken down by (a) date, (b) constituency visited and (c) cost. [171568]

Mr. Blunkett: The Government publish on an annual basis the total costs of all ministerial overseas travel and a list of all visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. Information for 2003–04 is currently being collected and will be published in due course.

Detailed information for all Ministers in respect of UK travel is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

All travel is undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are in the Library.

Neighbourhood Watch

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of the National Association for Neighbourhood Watch. [173420]

Ms Blears [holding answer 14 May 2004]: The National Neighbourhood Watch Association is an independent organisation and its future is a matter for the association itself.
 
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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support and assistance he provides to Neighbourhood Watch districts merging into regional bodies. [173422]

Ms Blears [holding answer 14 May 2004]: None. I am not aware of proposals for such mergers. I will consider any proposals if they are put to me. The Home Office and a number of Police forces provide considerable support to local neighbourhood watch schemes.

Operation Cohort

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Operation Cohort in the National Crime Squad is to close. [167401]

Caroline Flint: It would not be appropriate to comment on ongoing operational matters.

Police

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the percentage change in the number of full-time police officers in Sittingbourne and Sheppey has been since 1997. [170287]

Ms Blears: Sittingbourne and Sheppey constituency is part of the Swale Basic Command Unit (BCU). Information on strength at BCU level is collected annually and reflects the position at the end of March. Information on BCU strength is only available from 2002.

Between March 2002 and March 2003 police strength for the Swale BCU increased by 10.3 per cent. (from 213 to 235). The deployment of officers to BCUs is a matter for the Chief Constable (Michael Fuller) and within the Swale BCU deployment of officers is a matter for the Divisional Commander.

The number of police officers in Kent County Constabulary has increased by 292 since March 1997 to a record 3,552 officers in December 2003.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by how much in (a) percentage and (b) cash terms the Metropolitan police grant has changed in each year since 1997. [170493]

Ms Blears: The information is set out in the table.
General government grants(16)Annual percentage change in general government grantsSpecific grants and
capital provision(17)
TotalAnnual percentage change in all government grants
£ millionPercentage£ million£ millionPercentage
1997–981,549391,588
1998–991,5721.5351,6071.2
1999–20001,5941.4351,6291.4
2000–011,586-0.5611,6471.1
2001–021,6665.01251,7918.7
2001–02(18)1,6471251,772
2002–031,6771.82591,9369.3
2003–041,7645.22902,0546.1
2004–051,8223.33092,1313.7


(16)   General government grants comprise Home Office police grant, ODPM Revenue Support Grant and National Non-Domestic Rates. It also includes SSA Reduction Grant (£42.3 million in 1997–98, £32.1 million in 1998–99, £24.9 million in 1999–2000 and £10.4 million in 2000–01).
(17)   Includes funding from the Crime Fighting Fund, Basic Command Unit funding, Street Crime Initiative, Community Support Officer funding, Special Priority Payments, the DNA Expansion Programme, London Allowance, Free Travel, Capital grant, Airwave, Premises Improvement Fund, C3i and Counter Terrorism funding. The total for specific grants in 2004–05 is an estimate.
(18)   Figures for 2001–02 are not directly comparable with 2002–03 due to the change in funding arrangements for NCS and NCIS. Adjusted figures for 2001–02 are included to allow direct comparison with 2002–03.





 
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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he has taken to promote the use of bicycles by patrolling police officers. [172570]

Ms Blears: The Home Office encourages forces to use a variety of means to increase the accessibility and visibility of officers with their local communities, as part of a wider commitment to engage with communities on a routine and in depth basis to identify their needs and act on them. It is the role of chief constables, however, to decide whether the use of patrol by bicycle would best meet the identified needs of their communities.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many civilians were employed by each police force in England and Wales in the last year for which figures are available; and in what roles they were employed. [173570]

Ms Blears: Published information on police staff strength by police forcearea is available in total but not by function. The latest available figures for police staff are those for 31 March 2003. For Community Support Officers the latest available is for 31 March 2004. The data are set out in the table.
Police staff as at 31 March 2003 and Community Support Officers as at 31 March 2004 by police force England and Wales

Police forcePolice Staff as at 31 March 2003Community Support Officers as at 31 March 2004
Avon and Somerset1,78546
Bedfordshire59511
Cambridgeshire78659
Cheshire1,00837
Cleveland69480
Cumbria6760
Derbyshire1,0610
Devon and Cornwall1,83455
Dorset7937
Durham60237
Essex1,68277
Gloucestershire59055
Greater Manchester3,173185
Hampshire1,7200
Hertfordshire1,29944
Humberside8800
Kent2,09562
Lancashire1,489117
Leicestershire93445
Lincolnshire64144
London, City of2680
Merseyside1,752100
Metropolitan Police11,3581,465
Norfolk92434
Northamptonshire81212
Northumbria1,45751
North Yorkshire72352
Nottinghamshire1,18043
South Yorkshire1,51053
Staffordshire1,14613
Suffolk71315
Surrey1,24564
Sussex1,57872
Thames Valley2,4127
Warwickshire50328
West Mercia1,23355
West Midlands3,01260
West Yorkshire2,538224
Wiltshire70324
Dyfed-Powys5025
Gwent60750
North Wales7038
South Wales1,36663
Total of 43 forces62,5813,459
NCS524(20)
NCIS(19)(20)
British Transport Poll624(20)
Total other services1,148(20)
Total police service63,7293,459
Total police service (excluding BTP)63,1053,459


(19)   Have not supplied figures
(20)   Not applicable
Note
All figures are full time equivalents.




 
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Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hours were spent by police officers (a) on patrol, (b) on reactive policing, (c) in offices and (d) attending court for each police force in England and Wales in the last year for which figures are available. [173569]

Ms Blears [holding answer 17 May 2004]: This information is not available. Later in the year, the Government intends to publish the proportion of time spent by police officers on front line duties in each force.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what use is being made of geographic information systems to match police project funding to area-specific problems (a) in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, (b) by Government Office of the Regions area and (c) in England. [141860]

Ms Blears: I understand that Cleveland Police use North East Regional Information Sharing System (NERISS) for crime mapping and data sharing. Cleveland also use Intergraph public safety mapping for command and control and Mapinfo for crime analysis and to inform tasking and co-ordination meetings and patrol patterns.

The Chief Constable of Cleveland Police informs me that resources are distributed locally according to an allocation model that is in part based on levels of deprivation. The force is in the process of adjusting its method of allocation to recognise, for example, the policing environment, in Middlesborough. The adjustment is informed by ongoing analysis of crime and disorder in the force area.

Comprehensive information on a national basis is not available but we are aware of police and local authorities using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in some instances to target funding and other resources.

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances the police are entitled to enter private property without a warrant. [172857]

Ms Blears [holding answer 13 May 2004]: The main powers of entry available to police officers are set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). Circumstances in which the police may enter private property without a warrant are:
 
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A police officer may also enter private property without a warrant where the owner consents to such entry.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British-manufactured (a) vehicles and (b) motorcycles are employed by police forces. [172381]

Ms Blears: This information is not held centrally.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines his Department offers on buying British-built or manufactured vehicles for police forces. [172382]

Ms Blears: Since 1992 the Police Information Technology Organisation, with the support of the National Association of Police Fleet Managers, has put in place a number of national frameworks for the purchase of vehicles by the police service.

Under EC rules references in procurements to national origin are specifically prohibited as this contravenes the principles of the Treaty of Rome, of a single European Community internal market open to all.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign-made vehicles are used by police forces. [172414]

Ms Blears: This information is not held centrally.


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