Previous Section Index Home Page

11 Nov 2004 : Column 905W—continued


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of thefts from farms in each of the past 10 years for which records are available. [196686]

Ms Blears: No information is collected by the Home Office on thefts from farms. Such offences cannot be separately identified in the recorded crime series or in the British Crime Survey.

Vehicle Scanning System

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact that the increase in the funding for the vehicle scanning system will have on the number of police officers patrolling the roads. [197204]

Caroline Flint: My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, announced on 2 November 2004 that £15 million will be available to help the expansion of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) across England and Wales. This might include for example, converting existing CCTV systems to become ANPR-enabled and provide mobile technology.

It will not lead to an increase in the number of police officers ANPR; rather it will enable existing police officers to use the latest available technology to build on the success highlighted by the Evaluation Report "Driving Down Crime".

The Home Office will ask that forces who receive funding demonstrate their commitment to ANPR by deploying sufficient resources in order to maximise this investment opportunity while not diverting from other policing priorities.

This funding represents a significant boost to ANPR. The Government are keen that the momentum provided by the ANPR pilot projects is maintained.
11 Nov 2004 : Column 906W

Wildlife Crime

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the link between wildlife crime and organised crime. [195352]

Ms Blears: The National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) monitors the links between organised wildlife crime and other areas of criminality, including money laundering, fraud, deception and distribution of drugs. That assessment by its very nature has operational and intelligence information not intended for publication.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to ensure the employment of at least one full-time wildlife crime officer by each police force. [195353]

Ms Blears: The employment of police officers in each force area is an operational matter for the chief officer concerned based on operational priorities.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police forces have a full time wildlife crime officer. [195354]

Ms Blears: Figures are not held centrally. The appointment of officers on operational duties is a matter for the chief officer of each individual force.

Young Offenders Institutions

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to outsource the management of young offenders' institutions; and if he will make a statement. [190421]

Paul Goggins: We are currently considering how to take forward contestability within the National Offender Management Service but no decision has yet been taken.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what educational assessments are carried out on each young offender entering each young offenders' institution. [191895]

11 Nov 2004 : Column 907W

Paul Goggins: Each young person entering custody undergoes a range of educational assessments. When they are referred to a young offenders' team by the police, they undergo a standard assessment with an assessment tool called ASSET. The assessment includes a section on education needs. They also undertake the PLUS Strategy assessment for literacy and numeracy and diagnostic assessment. They can be referred to an educational psychologist or the establishment's special education needs co-ordinator if there is a need identified during assessment and induction.


Caravan Parks

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what requirements are placed on the (a) owners and (b) operators of holiday caravan parks to ensure that ponds or lakes do not pose a safety hazard to children. [196853]

Jane Kennedy: The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) protects members of the public affected by work related activity. HSWA will apply to holiday caravan parks.

Employers or the self-employed are required to take reasonably practicable precautions to adequately control risks, including those posed by lakes or ponds. The duty holder can be the operator, owner or both depending upon the circumstance.

Caravan parks, apart from the local authority owned ones, are also licensed under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. The local authority issues the licence.


Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial support is available to people who are unable to work (a) full-time and (b) part-time because of caring responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. [196917]

Maria Eagle: Carers are entitled to the full range of social security benefits if they meet the usual qualifying rules. In particular, carer's allowance is available to those who are 16 years of age and over, not in full-time work and provide regular and substantial care for at least 35 hours a week to a severely disabled person. It is possible to combine entitlement to carer's allowance and part-time work provided that earnings do not exceed the national insurance lower earnings limit (currently £79 per week) after deduction of allowable expenses.

Entitlement to carer's allowance gives carers access to the carer premium in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit and to the carer's additional amount in pension credit. In addition, carers can get help through the carers grant which was introduced in 1999 to support local councils in providing breaks in caring and services for carers.
11 Nov 2004 : Column 908W

Departmental Offices

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of (a) decoration and (b) refurbishment of the London offices of the Department was in each of the last four years. [196150]

Maria Eagle: LandSecurities Trillium (LST) owns the estate occupied by the Department for Work and Pensions. Ownership of accommodation transferred to LST under a PFI scheme (PRIME) in 1998. This PFI Contract was further expanded in December 2003 to include the former Employment Service (ES) estate following the merger of the former Department of Social Security and ES to create DWP.

Under the PRIME PFI Contract DWP pays a unitary charge that includes an element for all aspects of building maintenance and repair (which includes routine decoration and refurbishment), this is known as Life Cycle Capital Expenditure (LCCE). The elements of decoration and refurbishment cannot be disaggregated from the overall LCCE expenditure.

Departmental Publications (Access)

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of publications issued by his Department are available in (a) Braille, (b) autoprint, (c) large print and (d) easy read format. [194285]

Maria Eagle: We are committed to giving disabled people access to the same information as non-disabled people and ensuring a consistent approach in providing information to all our customers.

We make a large number of our publications available in alternative formats, either readily available or upon request. Of 276 national publications, 50 are available in large print format, 64 are available in Braille, and 59 are available on audio tape.

However, virtually all our publications are available in the above formats upon request.

The Department does produce more publications than are detailed above. However, information concerning those publications could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Next Section Index Home Page