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10 Nov 2004 : Column 735W—continued

Physical Restraint Techniques

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many training sessions in physical restraint techniques for staff have been carried out in each secure training centre in each of the last five years. [190479]

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Paul Goggins: The information is not available in the form requested. All custodial staff in secure training centres must be certified as custody officers by the Home Secretary. To gain certification, they must undergo appropriate training, including training in Physical Control in Care, the restraint technique used in secure training centres. Additionally, the providers of secure training centres are contractually obliged to provide regular refresher training in restraint techniques.

Custodial Sentences

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of (a) parents aged between 18 and 25 years and (b) all other individuals convicted of crimes were sentenced to a custodial sentence in each of the last five years. [191687]

Paul Goggins: It is not possible, in the court proceedings statistics collected centrally, to identify persons who are parents, but the following table shows persons aged 18 to 25 who were convicted and sentenced for indictable offences and the number and percentage who received a custodial sentence compared with persons of other ages.
Persons sentenced for indictable offences at all courts and those receiving immediate custody, by age, England and Wales, 1998 to 2002

Persons aged 18 to 25 years
Persons of other ages
Sentenced to custody
Sentenced to custody
Total sentencedNumberPercentageTotal sentencedNumberPercentage

Statistics on court proceedings for 2003 will be published in November.

Departmental Expenditure

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent by his Department on (a) headhunters and recruitment consultants and (b) management consultants in each of the last eight years. [184806]

Fiona Mactaggart: (a) Information on the cost to the Home Office of headhunters or recruitment consultants in each of the last eight financial years is not held centrally, to obtain this information would incur disproportionate costs.

(b) The available information held by the Home Office on the cost of management consultants to the Department in each of the last eight financial years is as follows:

We do not hold information on the cost to the Home Office of using external consultants for 1996–97 and to obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.

The increase in expenditure on consultancy in 2000–01 was due to a major investment programme in the modernisation of the Home Office and in particular on IT related modernisation.

The high spend figures for 2001–02 includes costs on a wide variety of Immigration and Nationality Directorate projects, the cost of setting up the National Probation Directorate and various consultancies on IT business change in both the Home Office and its Executive agencies.

Following the National Audit Office report "Purchasing Professional Services" the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) issued guidance that re-defined consultancy to include the purchasing of all professional services and not just management consultancy. Information on the cost of consultants to the Home Office for the financial year 2002–03 was not collected centrally in order that the new OGC definition of consultancy could be embedded into Home Office policy.

Information for the financial year 2003–04 is currently being collated but is not yet available.
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Ministers' Private Offices

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the running costs of Ministers' private offices in his Department have been in each year since 1997. [191386]

Mr. Blunkett: Running costs for my Department, Ministers' offices, the private office management support unit and parliamentary secretariat for each year from 1997 were as follows:

Pay costsRunning costs

The running costs for the whole of private office, including the non-ministerial offices in 2002–03 was £5,176,925. The figure for 2003–04 was £5,552,690 which represented 0.05 per cent. of the total Home Office budget for that period.

Changes in financial recording systems from 2001 mean that it is no longer possible, without disproportionate cost, to separate the costs of ministerial from non-ministerial offices and figures provided after 2001–02 are therefore not directly comparable with earlier figures.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are in place to prevent overlap between the work of the Police Standards Unit and the National Centre for Policing Excellence. [194862]

Ms Blears: The Police Standards Unit (PSU) and the National Centre for Policing Excellence (NCPE) have different and complementary roles with limited overlap between their work.

PSU seeks to improve policing performance through performance monitoring and measurement, for example through the Policing Performance Assessment Framework (PPAF), and through targeted support for police forces.

NCPE seeks to encourage continuous professional development and inform high standards of police practice through its work on doctrine. As part of Centrex (the Central Police Training and Development Authority), for which the Home Office is the sponsor Department, NCPE also offers specialist and technical learning and development courses in a number of areas.

Both organisations have an interest in developing good practice in policing.

This co-ordination is being driven forward by 'Improving Performance through Applied Knowledge' (IPAK). The programme is structured to avoid overlaps or gaps between the work of NCPE and PSU. Key stakeholders of the programme also include Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and
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the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and Sir David Phillips, the NCPE Director, is a member of the IPAK Programme Board.

At a working level, PSU works closely with NCPE on a variety of areas. For example, the NCPE guidance to the police on the management of volume crime is explicitly intended to sit above the PSU tactical guidance on dealing with domestic burglary, street robbery and vehicle crime.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action has been taken to tackle racist attitudes within the police service. [194866]

Ms Blears: Tackling racist attitudes remains a high priority for both the Government and the police service.

New assessment procedures for police recruitment have been put in place which test candidates' attitudes to race and diversity at least seven times across the process, including at interview. Those who do not score sufficiently highly in the competency "Respect for Race and Diversity" are not offered a job—irrespective of how well they do in the rest of the selection process. Candidates are also rejected automatically if, at any time during the recruitment process, they behave or speak inappropriately. Although no assessment and selection system is infallible, we have made the procedure as robust as possible in order to identify and root out racists and others with unacceptable attitudes.

The Police Service will also be rolling out a new probationer learning and development programme from April next year. The training will be based in the community and probationers will need to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge and carry out their tasks with due regard to community relationships and diversity.

Learning and development for police officers and police staff is also seen as central to tackling racist attitudes in the police service. Under a new Strategy for Improving Police Performance in Race and Diversity, which has been agreed by all the key stakeholders, and which will be published in November 2004, individuals will be made responsible for their performance in this area. Individual performance will be assessed against National Occupational Standards relating to race and diversity and through the Performance and Development Review process. Learning resources, which take into account an individual's rank or role and local policing environment, will be used with the aim of developing the individual's knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviour in this area.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether an assessment has been made of the (a) merits and (b) effects of the career break system for police officers. [194867]

Ms Blears: I have asked the independent secretariat of the Police Negotiating Board to advise on how best to evaluate the operation of the scheme.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what alternatives to the current 43-force structure are being assessed. [194909]

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Ms Blears: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary have been commissioned to look at the issue of force structures and will report to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in early 2005. The focus of this work is to gather an evidence base for whether any changes are needed.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much council tax revenue will be spent on police services in the West Midlands in 2004–05. [195691]

Ms Blears [holding answer 4 November 2004]: The West Midlands police authority will raise £61.3 million through the police precept on council tax in 2004–05. The final net budget requirement, most of which is funded by police grant, is £460.6 million.

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