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25 Oct 2004 : Column 1007W—continued


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government has to undertake an inquiry into the attitudes and opinions on race and ethnicity of those between the ages of 20 and 30. [190135]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office citizenship survey, which takes place every two years, includes perceptions of racial prejudice, racial discrimination, religious discrimination and community cohesion. Data from the survey can be broken down by age and
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ethnicity. Survey results, which include comparisons between different age groups, are published and are available from the Home Office

web site.

Operation Sassoon

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to use High Wycombe as a care shelter as part of Operation Sassoon. [192186]

Mr. Raynsford: I have been asked to reply.

Operation Sassoon is the code name for the plan for mass evacuation of any part of London in an emergency. We do not disclose the operational details of emergency planning. Sassoon includes planning for the reception and shelter of evacuees. London and home counties authorities have been involved in this work.


David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost to each police authority of the implementation of stop forms as set out in recommendation 69 of the MacPherson report. [190935]

Ms Blears: As part of the Phased Implementation of the Recording of Stops forces supplied data on the set up and running of the sites used. Details were provided on fixed and variable costs, including all staff time spent on implementation and other expenditure.

These figures cannot be multiplied up to get forces or national estimates. The costs have different strands include training, form design, database work. Some of these are not exclusive to stops and have transferable uses.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average number of sick days taken by police officers was in each year since 1997, broken down by police force area. [190937]

Ms Blears: The average number of sick days taken by police officers for each year since 1997 reported by force is shown in the list, which has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to publish policing performance radars for basic command units. [191217]

Ms Blears: The Police Performance Monitoring Report for 2003–04 was published on 22 September. It showed police force performance across six 'domains'.
DomainPolice force performance
ACitizen focus
1Reducing crime
2Investigating crime
3Promoting public safety
4Providing assistance
BResource usage

Data is available at force level in all six domains, but because of the nature of the data sources, reliable comparable data is available only at BCU level in domain 1 (as crime rates) and part of domain 2 (as
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detection rates). For example, the data in domains A and 3 is drawn from the British Crime Survey: the sample size does not allow the extraction of meaningful results at lower than force level. The 'performance radar' is not a suitable display mechanism for performance in just two domains.

For BCUs, crime and detection rates for six key offences have been published for 2003–04 on the Home Office web-site.

The development of the Policing Performance Assessment Framework this year will add some further measures which are available at BCU level. We are reviewing how performance at force and BCU level will be reported in the Monitoring Report due for publication next year.

Radio Frequency Identification Projects

Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the pilot demonstrator projects for radio frequency identification announced in May 2000. [190807]

Ms Blears: The Home Office launched the Chipping of Goods Initiative in March 2000 in response to the need to reduce the cost of property crime and the burden on police resources in tracing the ownership of stolen goods.

Through eight demonstrator projects with industry the initiative set out to show how the incidence of property crime could be reduced in the supply chain using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based information management systems.

An assessment of the crime reduction and business efficiency benefits of each of the eight projects was published in a series of case studies in May 2004. Benefits identified by the companies which took part included a marked reduction in laptop theft, improved traceability (thus helping to identify stolen and counterfeit goods, and the ability to clarify whether goods had been lost or misdirected. The case studies are available of the website about the initiative

The Initiative has accelerated awareness of tagging solutions and reinforced the association between achieving improved security and delivering increased business performance.

A final report on the initiative will be published by the end of the year. I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Library.

Royal Parks Constabulary

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority and (b) the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on the role of the Royal Parks Constabulary in maintaining security in the vicinity of the royal palaces; [189531]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the role of the Royal Parks Constabulary; [189532]
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(3) what reports he has requested from the Chief Officer of the Royal Parks Constabulary on events in St. James' Park on 13 September. [189533]

Mr. Blunkett: The Royal Parks Constabulary ceased to exist in April of this year, becoming part of the Metropolitan Police Service. I have spoken to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Sir John Stevens, and the Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations in relation to this incident, as well as receiving an interim written report from the Commissioner. In addition, I hold regular meetings with the Metropolitan Police Service to discuss matters relating to security at Royal Palaces.

Stop and Search

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans there are to change police training in stop and search encounter procedures. [191323]

Ms Blears: The current stop and search training package has been developed by Centrex, the Central Police Training and Development Authority, for use by forces. The package covers the legislation behind stop and search powers and the most effective methods of conducting stop and searches. The scope of the training package is being widened to take into account the recording of stops as well as stop and searches.

Guidance on the recording of stops was issued to forces in March 2004 following phased implementation in seven forces. This guidance was followed up by interim stop and search guidance in July this year. Two conferences for forces have also covered the implementation of Recommendation 61 of the MacPherson Report, the use of stop and search powers and new training initiatives.

The Stop and Search Action Team is due to publish a manual on the effective use of stop and search in April 2005. This manual will include examples of effective practice in stop and search training.

Traffic Police

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for The Home Department how many traffic police there have been in each police authority area in each year since 2000. [192183]

Ms Blears: Published information on police strength by police force area is available for rank, gender, ethnicity but not function. Figures on police strength for March 2004 were published in Home Office Statistical Bulletin 13/04, copies of which are available in the Library or on the internet site: http://www.

Violence Against Retail Staff

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action the Government (a) have taken and (b) will take to tackle violence against retail staff. [191508]

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Ms Blears: The Government believe that everyone has the right to go about their work without the threat of violence and abuse, and this is why we fully support the USDAW "Freedom from Fear" campaign to promote the safety of shop workers.

Advice on managing work-related violence, including specific guidance for the retail sector, has been published by the Health and Safety Executive and can be accessed via their website

The Home Office has also provided assistance through the provision of a training programme, earlier this year, which covered all aspects of security, including protecting staff and dealing with potentially violent situations. Over 440 people attended these courses which were run across the country.

Other Government policies to tackle alcohol misuse related crime or antisocial behaviour such as the 'Together' campaign, will all contribute towards decreasing violent crime in the workplace.

We are also supporting innovative projects to give confidence and training to shopworkers such as the ShopWatch scheme in London, where shopworkers volunteer to be trained as Special Constables, receiving paid leave from their employers to patrol the shopping area during trading hours.

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