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1 Sept 2004 : Column 837W—continued


Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many autopsies have been carried out in (a) the UK, (b) Huddersfield and (c) Kirklees in each of the last 10 years. [166730]

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Paul Goggins: Information on the total number of autopsies (post-mortem examinations) in the UK is not collected centrally. The recording of information at the time of registration of death is not considered to be sufficiently reliable to give definite figures or to monitor trends.

Information on post-mortem examinations other than those ordered by a coroner or procurator fiscal is not available for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and is only available for England and Wales since 1997. Figures are given in the first column of the table.

The table also gives (where known), for each year since 1993, the number of post-mortem examinations conducted in those deaths which were investigated by coroners in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland, and by Procurators Fiscal in Scotland; and in the last column, in the coroner's district of the western part of West Yorkshire metropolitan county (which includes both Huddersfield and Kirklees).

Information on post-mortem examinations carried out in Huddersfield and Kirklees in deaths where the coroner was not involved is not available.
Post-mortems conducted in the UK, 1993–2002

YearEngland and Wales, certified by doctor, with post-mortemEngland and Wales coroner post-mortemsScotland: post mortems ordered by Procurator Fiscal 1Northern Ireland coroner post-mortemsPost mortems carried out on the order of the West Yorkshire (West) coroner (includes Huddersfield and Kirklees)

n/a—not available
(57) "Fiscal" post-mortems are reported by financial year. In this table the figure has been assigned to the year containing the April-December portion of the financial year.
Second column-ONS; third column-Home Office; fourth and fifth columns-Crown office and Courts office in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

Cultural Objects

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has commissioned into the link between the black market in stolen or otherwise tainted cultural objects and organised crime; and if he will make a statement. [185679]

Caroline Flint: We commissioned independent consultants to carry out an Options Appraisal on the potential establishment of a database of stolen or illegally removed cultural items. As part of that work, the consultants spoke to the police and others in the public and private sectors about the link with organised crime and the likely impact of such a database on crime levels. This work produced no evidence that a database of stolen cultural items will reduce crime, nor any data on the extent of organised crime involvement. This confirms the evidence we gave to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on 11 November 2003.

Universities (Charitable Status)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government have to change the charitable status of universities. [184964]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Government intend, as set out in the Draft Charities Bill, that the Higher Education Funding Council for England would regulate English universities in regard to Charity Law. The regulation of Welsh universities has not been fully decided although they would also be regulated in regard to Charity Law. This is a change in regulation, not in charitable status, and universities will remain charities.

"Reducing Crime—Changing Lives"

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a summary of responses to "Reducing Crime—Changing Lives". [182308]

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Paul Goggins: A summary of the responses to "Reducing Crime—Changing Lives" will be published in due course in accordance with the Cabinet Office code of practice on consultation.

999 Services

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police constabularies have a centralised 999 service; and if he will make a statement. [184508]

Ms Blears: All forces deal with 999 calls from their service provider, either BT or Cable and Wireless, locally. These calls are sent to specific numbers provided by each force to a central point within the force; this can be the Force Control Room for those forces that do not have a centralised call handling function or to a designated Communication Centre in the case offerees that have centralised their call handling functions. The manner in which forces deal with the 999s from that point varies depending on whether the Force Control takes ownership or whether they have a centralised control/communication centres and they take ownership or whether they pass command and control to their Divisions, Basic Command Units or OCUs.

At the present time there are about 32 forces who have a centralised function in one form or another and most other forces are in the planning stages to go down that route. However, information on how each force deals with the calls locally is not collated centrally.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many 999 control centres there are, broken down by police constabulary; and if he will make a statement. [184509]

Mr. Blunkett: 32 forces have a centralised call handling function for dealing with 999 calls. Most other forces are currently in the process of planning to establish such a function.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many calls were made to 999 police services in (a) Essex and (b) Southend-on-Sea in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [184510]

Ms Blears: A file will be sent to the Library. The Home Office does not collect total calls for service at a Basic Command Unit level, only at force level data.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken for a call to be answered by the 999 police service was in each year since 1997, broken down by police constabulary; and if he will make a statement. [184511]

Ms Blears: This information is not collected. However, we are able to state what percentage of calls are answered within target time, for example 90 per cent. of all 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds. Forces will set their own target time, so it is not comparable when 90 per cent. of 999 calls are answered within 10 seconds and 80 per cent. are answered within 15 seconds.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what performance targets are in place for the 999 Police Service, relating to customer satisfaction; and if he will make a statement. [184513]

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Ms Blears: We are committed to improving the quality of service the police provide to the public when they are in contact with them.

Call handling is a particularly important aspect of this service. A member of the public should be able to expect the same high quality service whenever they are in contact with the police, which is responsive to their needs, irrespective of where they live.

We are working with partners, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, to introduce minimum standards for service to the public, including the answering of telephone calls. We will also ensure that people are clear about the best way to contact the police.

New performance measures for user satisfaction with police services were introduced in April 2004, as part of the Policing Performance Assessment Framework (PPAF). These include measures which report satisfaction of users who have contacted the police by 999 and other means with:

The measures recognise that it is the quality of service provided, and not just speed of the initial answer that is important to users of police services.

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