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7 Sept 2004 : Column 953W—continued

Community Safety

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to consult older people on issues of community safety. [186449]

Ms Blears: Within the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, local authorities are required to work with the police to conduct a review of levels and patterns of crime and disorder. They are then required to consult widely with key agencies, community groups, charities (such as Help the Aged and Age Concern) and the community about these findings. Each of the 376 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships across England and Wales conduct resident surveys on a variety of issues to find out what people's concerns are, and then act on them as necessary. The survey covers a whole spectrum of residents from young people to older people.

In addition, the Fear of Crime Team within the Home Office have presented to, and facilitated, workshops at the Help the Aged National and Regional Senior Safety Conferences, developed and published a vulnerability strategy which identifies and addresses fear of crime issues among older people, and developed Fear of Crime reassurance cards, which challenge misperceptions about local crime issues. These cards are being disseminated to older people by Help the Aged handyvan fitters and neighbourhood wardens.

Community Sentences

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reporting procedures are for the performance of prison alternatives. [182285]

Paul Goggins: The National Probation Service (NPS) will shortly publish its annual report for 2003–04. In addition, each of the 42 operational areas of the NPS is required to produce its own annual report by the end of October.
 
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The National Probation Directorate produces a quarterly Performance Report, which sets out the extent to which local probation areas are performing against targets and how the key strategic objectives are being delivered. The reports are available on the NPS website (www.probation.homeoffice.gov.uk/output/page34.asp).

The Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate publishes Probation Statistics for England and Wales on an annual basis. This presents statistics and trends relating to the work of the service, including the number of offenders under different types of supervision, the number of reports produced and staff in post. The most recent edition, published in January 2004, covers the year 2002 and is available on the Home Office website (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/probation1.html). The web address also provides access to a number of Home Office Research Studies on themes relevant to the work of the NFS.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans the Government have to publicise successful outcomes of community sentencing; [182287]

(2) what plans he has to use the media to communicate information on community sentencing to the public; [182290]

(3) what measures (a) are in place and (b) he will introduce to demonstrate to the public that community sentences are serious penalties for offenders. [182294]

Paul Goggins: There is in place a communication strategy to improve public knowledge, understanding of, and confidence in, community sentences.

The Home Office and local Probation Areas are also working to increase the public's understanding and knowledge of the range of community sentences available to the courts. The aim is to demonstrate that community punishment can be tough and demanding, making sure that offenders put something back into the community. A national visibility scheme for community. The reparation marque 'Making Amends' identifies locations that have benefited from community work.

We will also promote public awareness of the new community sentences created by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including Custody Minus and the new generic community sentence, as they come on stream next year.

Contingency Planning

Kali Mountford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on emergency planning arrangements in the UK. [184912]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 20 July 2004]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton, South (Mr. Tynan) on 27 July 2004, Official Report, column 844W.

Crime (Great Yarmouth)

Mr. Anthony D. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment has been made of the level of fear of crime among the people of Great Yarmouth. [186715]


 
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Ms Blears: A Citizens' Panel is currently being conducted across Norfolk which includes questions about crime, the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour. The results will be broken down to district council level and will be published in December this year on the Norfolk Citizen Panel website, the address is: www.norfolk.gov.uk/citizenspanel/content/panellist results.asp.

Departmental Expenditure/Staff

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) capital and (b) running costs of mobile phones in his Department were in each year since 2001. [185291]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 20 July 2004]: The accounting policy of the Home Office is to only capitalise assets whose cost is greater than £5,000. Mobile phones purchased as part of a contract are treated as a revenue expense.
 
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The running costs for each year since 2001 are as follows:
£
2001890,715.68
20021,260,983.99
20031,282,909.33

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time equivalent staff there have been in (a) his Department and (b) agencies of the Department in each year since 1997. [182219]

Fiona Mactaggart: The following table provides a reply to the question based on the civil service statistics staff levels since 1996.

These are full-time equivalent figures, based on civil service statistics, 1997 onwards available from the available civil service statistics. All figures are as at April.
1997199819992000200120022003
Central Home Office and IND (excluding
agencies)
9,3588,0377,7119,27013,02013,55016,540
Fire Service College215253188180190
Forensic Science Service1,1851,2381,6381,7802,1902,4202,660
United Kingdom Passport Agency1,4071,2761,2451,3202,2702,7702,600
Prison Service37,70439,36338,71940,56041,94041,78043,210
Home Office Total49,86950,16749,50153,11059,61060,52065,010

In accordance with the policy objectives of the spending review and strategic plan commitments to staff cuts, we are streamlining departmental Head-Quarters (HQ) and reducing staff numbers by 30 per cent. in order to focus resources on the front-line. We are committed to similar reductions in the HQ of Corrections and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. Reducing our HQ staff numbers by 2,700 full-time equivalents will free up around £100 million in real terms to be spent on the front-line.

Designated Accommodation

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many rooms are set aside for (a) the use of smokers, (b) worship, broken down by religion and (c) nursing mothers and pregnant women in each building and sets of offices for which his Department is responsible. [186536]

Fiona Mactaggart: In the Departments seven main central London buildings there is (a) one smoking room in each building, (b) one building with a multi-faith room and one building with a Muslim prayer room, and (c) a designated room for nursing mothers and pregnant women in three of the buildings. This information is not held centrally for the remainder of the Home Office Estate.

English Language Training (Leeds)

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what English language training is available to (a) adult refugees and (b) adult asylum seekers in Leeds. [186736]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

These are matters for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.


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