Previous Section Index Home Page

25 Jan 2005 : Column 289W—continued


Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were employed in the Dagenham constituency in (a) 1997, (b) 2001 and (c) 2004. [207158]

Ms Blears: Published information on the number of police officers in Basic Command Units (BCUs) has only been collected since March 2002 and is set out in the following table.
Barking and Dagenham operational command unit

As at 31 MarchNumber of police officers

I am told by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the Barking and Dagenham Operational Command Unit (OCU) had 411 police officers at the end of September 2004.

It is not possible to separately show the number of officers in the Dagenham parliamentary constituency from the rest of the BCU. The deployment of officers in Barking and Dagenham OCU is a matter for the borough commander.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has issued to the police on recording attendances at disturbances in pubs and nightclubs. [207630]

Ms Blears: Guidance on crime recording was issued by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2002 in the form of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). The aim of the Standard was to promote greater consistency between police forces in the recording of crime and to adopt a more victim oriented approach to crime recording. The police should record all reports of incidents, including attendance at disturbances in pubs and nightclubs, in accordance with the NCRS.

The Standard states that all reports of incidents, whether from victims or third parties and whether crime-related or not, will result in the registration of an incident report by the police. Such an incident will subsequently be recorded as a crime if, on the balance of probability:
25 Jan 2005 : Column 290W


Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the reports on self-inflicted deaths in prisons completed by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman in the last 12 months. [200465]

Paul Goggins: In 2003–04, the Ombudsman completed reports on apparently self-inflicted deaths of prisoners in Her Majesty's Prison Styal and Her Majesty's Prison Wakefield. The completed reports on self-inflicted deaths since 1 April 2004 concern prisoners who died in Her Majesty's Prison Liverpool, Her Majesty's Prison Durham, Her Majesty's Prison Lewes, Her Majesty's Prison Holloway, Her Majesty's Prison Nottingham, Her Majesty's Prison New Hall and Her Majesty's Prison Woodhill.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances prison inmates are not required (a) to wear footwear and (b) to cut their toenails; and if he will make a statement. [207939]

Paul Goggins: There is no blanket requirement for prisoners to either wear footwear or cut their toenails. A rule or order requiring either will be imposed where there are good reasons for it. This will normally be where failure to wear footwear or cut toenails is assessed as presenting a risk to health and safety.

A prisoner who refuses to comply with a rule or order requiring the wearing of footwear or the cutting of toenails in circumstances where this presents a risk to health and safety may have to be excluded from certain areas or activities within the prison establishment. Their behaviour may also constitute an offence against prison discipline.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the intermediate estate in the Prison Service. [204477]

Paul Goggins: Intermittent Custody is one of the new sentences introduced by the 2003 Criminal Justice Act. It is designed to avoid some of the negative outcomes—loss of employment or accommodation, and family breakdown—which can accompany even relatively short periods of full-time custody. Pilots of intermittent custody began on 26 January 2004 at Kirkham Prison, in Lancashire, for male offenders and at Morton Hall Prison, in Lincolnshire, for females.

During the 49 weeks to 2 January a total of 147 intermittent custody orders were imposed. The early results—including a high level of compliance with the orders—are very encouraging and we have decided to extend intermittent custody beyond the existing pilot sites. Planning for that expansion is already under way.

The intermittent custody pilots are the subject of a detailed independent evaluation by a team from the Institute for Criminal Policy, based at King's College, London. Their final report will be completed in
25 Jan 2005 : Column 291W
December 2005, but any emerging findings will be incorporated into the planning for the expansion of intermittent custody during the course of this year.

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what projections he has made of the number of inmates in future large prison developments in England and Wales. [208749]

Paul Goggins: A new 840 place prison, Her Majesty's Prison Peterborough, to hold both male and female prisoners in separate units will open in March 2005. The Government are also currently considering the purchase of additional sites. The specific capacity of any prisons subsequently built at these sites is a matter yet to be decided.

Sex Abuse (Historical Cases)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will summarise the guidance available for police forces regarding the interviewing of witnesses in historical sex abuse investigations [207324]

Ms Blears: Guidance for police on appropriate techniques for investigating allegations of historical child abuse is included in the 'Senior Investigating Officer's Handbook—the Investigation of Historical/Institutional Child Abuse' produced by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Guidance on interviewing vulnerable or intimidated witnesses (VIWs) is contained in 'Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Guidance for Vulnerable or Intimidated Witnesses, including Children' issued in January 2002. This guidance became operational in May 2002 when it superseded Memorandum of Good Practice on Video Recorded Interviews with Child Witnesses for Criminal Proceedings". Victims in sexual offence proceedings are considered to be intimidated. Other witnesses in these cases—but not the accused—may also be treated as vulnerable or intimidated.

Achieving Best Evidence covers preparing and planning for interviews with VIWs, decisions about whether or not to conduct an interview and decisions about whether the interview should be video recorded or whether it would be more appropriate for a written statement to be taken. It covers the interviewing of such witnesses both for the purposes of making a video-recorded statement and also for taking a written statement, their preparation for court and any subsequent court appearance.

Other guidance includes: 'Guidance on the Recording of Interviews with Vulnerable and Significant (Key) Witnesses' issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers; and 'Complex Child Abuse Investigations: Inter-agency issues' issued jointly by the Home Office and Department of Health.

Sex Offenders

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces convicted by a court martial of a sexual offence has his or her name placed on the sex offenders register. [209511]

25 Jan 2005 : Column 292W

Paul Goggins: Section 137 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides that the notification requirements of Part 2 of that Act (often known as the sex offenders register) apply to convictions for relevant sexual offences received in service courts as well as civilian courts.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 has introduced a new civil preventative order; the sexual offences prevention order (SOPO). SOPOs can be made by service courts at the time of sentencing for a relevant sexual or violent offence where it is considered necessary to protect the public from serious sexual harm. SOPOs impose prohibitions on the offender and make him subject to the notification requirements for the duration of the order. Essentially this means that violent offenders who pose a risk of serious sexual harm can be made to sign on the sex offenders register.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sex offenders are held in prisons within 50 miles of their home. [209529]

Paul Goggins: As at 31 October 2004 (the latest date for which these figures are available), 2,375 of the prisoners convicted of sex offences were held within 50miles of their home address 1 .

Next Section Index Home Page