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Pubwatch Scheme

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support the Government is providing to the national Pubwatch scheme in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Cheshire. [183677]

Ms Blears: The Home Office does not provide direct financial support to Pubwatch schemes. But the Government welcomes the contribution that Pubwatch can make in helping to tackle alcohol-related violence and disorder. The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England published on 15 March 2004 highlighted how solutions involving the industry such as Pubwatch can contribute to targeting the problem of alcohol related violence at source.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his Department's strategy to reduce crimes committed by re-offenders. [185811]

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Paul Goggins [holding answer 22 July 2004]: On 19 July, the Home Office published its strategic plan "Confident Communities in a Secure Britain", setting out how it will cut crime in the next five years, including its goal of reducing re-offending through the rehabilitation of offenders.

Some of the key elements include:

Retail Crime

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of (a) the proportion of retail crime that was reported to the police and (b) the actual level of retail crime in each year since 1997. [185604]

Ms Blears [holding answer 22 July 2004]: The Business Crime Team within the Home Office is working with the police, retailers and the Research, Development and Statistics Directorate to enhance the information on business and retail crime. This work is on-going.

Information on retail crime is available from the British Retail Consortium who publish an annual retail crime survey, which is a national and international commentary on retail crime.

Security Officers (Licensing)

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) for what reasons under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 a security officer pays a much higher sum for licences than the actual cost of the licensing and criminal record check; [184536]

(2) for what reasons under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 an individual private security officer will be required to pay for separate licences if during the course of his duties he patrols a shopping centre, monitors CCTV or applies a wheel clamp in a car park; [184537]
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(3) for what reasons under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 licensing of the manned guarding sector of the security industry commences in January 2005 when compliance is not required until early 2006; [184538]

(4) for what reasons it was decided that in-house manned guarding teams should be exempt from licensing under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. [184539]

Ms Blears [holding answer 16 July 2004]: The cost of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence, which is valid for three years, reflects the licence application process and includes the current cost of a Criminal Records Bureau Standard Disclosure (28). It also funds the associated activities undertaken to secure the future of the private security industry. These include compliance with and enforcement of the licensing scheme, raising awareness, accommodation, personnel, and research costs. The licence fee is tax deductible.

The private security industry contains a number of sectors each requiring their own skills and competencies. The SIA has worked closely with the industry to both identify and tailor training for these sector specific competencies. The nature of the sectors will mean that some training and competencies require sector specific licences. However, wherever possible, when competencies overlap between sectors, the SIA has exploited opportunities for one licence to be valid across a range of licensable activities.

The manned guarding sector is expected to commence rollout in January 2005. The industry has been supporting the SIA by working in partnership to find a mutually beneficial approach to the transition to licensing and developing the most appropriate process. The 12 months between commencement and legal requirement will allow business to spread their employees' training requirements and applications over a mutually agreeable time frame that meets both the commercial needs of the industry and the implementation of regulation.

The Government's White Paper published in 1999 envisaged that in-house staff employed on manned guarding duties would be covered by licensing arrangements. However, it was subsequently decided that, in light of differences in needs and circumstances between in-house provision and that under external contract, licensing requirements under the Act should not extend to in-house staff. More recently, the SIA has commissioned a detailed examination of in-house security provision, and a report is expected towards the end of the year.

Sexual Offences

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years were (a) recorded and (b) successfully prosecuted in each police area in the last year for which information is available. [182382]

Paul Goggins: In England and Wales during 2002–03 there were 1,514 recorded crimes for the offence of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16. In 2002, in all courts in England and Wales, there were 228
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convictions for this offence. For the offence of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13, there were 187 recorded crimes in 2002–03 and 47 convictions in 2002. There were no equivalent recorded crimes for a boy of these ages.

These statistics are not published at Police Force Area level.

Stop and Search

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases are outstanding from the stop and search orders issued under Section 44 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 at the time of the use by the US Air Force of RAF Fairford. [183826]

Ms Blears: Stop and search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 were in force in Gloucestershire Constabulary between 6 March and 27 April 2003. During this period, as a result of a Section 44 stop and search, six people were arrested for suspected drug related offences, one person for a suspected breach of the peace and one person for suspected criminal damage. None of these cases are outstanding. Five of those arrested were released, two were cautioned and one received a conditional discharge.

Mr. Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the 2002–03 stop and search figures for West Yorkshire; and if he will make a statement. [184795]

Ms Blears: The Home Office's Stop and Search Action Team has analysed the figures relating to the use of stop and search powers in West Yorkshire during 2002–03. There was a significant rise in the overall number of people who were stopped and searched by the police, but the figures do not suggest that there is evidence that the police had targeted any particular racial or ethnic group. Between 2001–02 and 2002–03 there was not a significant change in the proportion of people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds that were stopped and searched by the police.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the operation of stop and search powers in England (a) generally and (b) under counter-terrorism legislation. [183120]

Ms Blears: In July 2004 the Stop and Search Action Team (SSAT) was launched to ensure that police forces use the stop and search power fairly and as effectively as possible.

SSAT's programme of work will include further research looking at the disproportionate impact of these powers on communities; work with selected forces to understand the causes of disproportionality; and the development of a good practice


The SSAT will be working with both police and community representatives to deliver their work programme. The use of stop and search powers under terrorism legislation is included within the work programme and this will include work to reassure
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Muslim communities that these powers, including counter-terrorism powers, are being used proportionately and appropriately.

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