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2 Feb 2005 : Column 975W—continued

Police Command Units

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police Basic Command Units (BCUs) there were in each of the last seven years; and how many BCUs he estimates there will be in (a) 2004–05, (b) 2005–06 and (c) 2006–07. [201389]

Ms Blears: Force areas are divided into Basic Command Units (BCUs). These are typically commanded by police officers of superintendent or chief superintendent rank with responsibility for the delivery of policing, the management of officers and other police staff and a number of police stations in their area. The determination of areas of command and the deployment of resources within a force are matters for the Chief Constable rather than for Ministers.

There are currently 255 BCUs in England and Wales. Based on information currently available from forces, the number of BCUs is expected to fall to around 245 in 2005–06. No estimates for BCU numbers after 2005–06 can be made at this stage.

BCU numbers were/are as follows.

The number of BCUs has been reduced as police forces have rationalised boundaries to follow those of CDRPs more closely. This has facilitated closer co-operation between the police and their partners.

Policing (Dagenham)

Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average spending per capita on policing in the Dagenham constituency has been in each year since 1996–97. [207157]

Ms Blears: The Commissioner of Police the Metropolis informs me that the spending per capita in the Barking and Dagenham Borough Operational Command unit (BOCU) is as follows:
Spending per capita(34)in Barking and Dagenham BOCU


(30)No earlier information is available due to change of force's financial system.
(31)Includes partnership funding for the first time.
(32)Includes partnership funding, building maintenance and interpreters costs. Included for the first time is the devolved responsibility for Forensic Medical Examiners costs; and the introduction of the Community Support Officers.
(33)Includes partnership funding. Included for the first time is the devolved responsibility for forensics costs; and phase 1 of the Safer Neighbourhoods Initiative.
(34)2001 Census population estimate of the London borough of Barking and Dagenham.

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This reflects direct operational costs. In addition, BOCUs are able to call upon all-London units (such as dog sections, Territorial Support Group, Traffic and Air Support Units) when operational priorities dictate.


Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners have been transferred to Standford Hill Open Prison from (a) Elmley Prison and (b) Swaleside Prison in each year since 1997; [209864]

(2) how many prisoners have been transferred to Standford Hill Open Prison from (a) Elmley Prison and (b) Swaleside Prison in each year between 1997 and 2004. [210955]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 27 January 2005]: Figures for the number of prisoners transferred to Standford Hill prison are available only from November 1999 onwards for Elmley prison and from 2003 for Swaleside prison. These are shown in the following table.
(to date)

(35)Figures not recorded

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates there are at HMP Holloway; what the average period of stay was of an inmate at that prison at the last date for which figures are available; and what the average number of remand prisoners in the institution was in the last period for which figures are available. [210706]

Paul Goggins: The population of HMP Holloway was 377 on 30 November 2004, of which 185 were remand prisoners. The average remand population at the prison for the year December 2003 to November 2004 was 273. The average time served (including remand time) in HMP Holloway for a sample of sentenced prisoners discharged in 2003 was 47 days per episode.

The information is as recorded on the Prison Service IT system, and data on average time served are provisional.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners at (a) Elmley prison and (b) Swaleside prison have been reclassified from Category C to Category D in each year since 1997. [210954]

Paul Goggins: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 1 February 2005, PQ 209863.
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Probation Service

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he will ensure that future organisational change in the probation service does not have a negative impact on (a) staff morale and (b) industrial relations. [205317]

Paul Goggins: We recognise the importance of positive engagement by staff, and the unions that represent them, in the development of National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

We have established a Joint Consultative Council (JCC) to provide a forum for communication, discussion, consultation and early information sharing between NOMS, all recognised trade unions and the Probation Boards Association (PBA). The JCC met on 12 November and 17 December.

We will also continue to invest in the probation service and, in particular to expand the workforce. In 1997 the service employed 13,968 staff. This had risen to 19,119 by 2004 and we plan to have around 21,000 in employment by April 2006.

The JCC is additional to existing methods of communication, consultation and negotiation in the National Probation Service (NPS).
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The principal industrial relations forum for the NPS is the National Negotiating Council (NCC) which is comprised of the recognised trades unions in the NPS, the PBA and the National Probation Directorate. In addition there are forums representing senior managers and chief officers. The NNC will be critical to the successful implementation of any changes and the Home Office and NPD are committed which is designed to preserve and enhance staff morale in the service and promote a positive climate of industrial relations.

The NOMS Change Programme includes a Human Resources Sub-Programme, specifically intended to deliver policies, strategies and frameworks which will provide members of staff with the culture, values, skills and motivation required for the new organisation and new ways of working.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the performance against targets of the national probation service during the period of April to September 2004 was; and what assessment he has made of the implications of that performance for the (a) quality of service and (b) cost effectiveness provided by the service. [210787]

Paul Goggins: The performance of the national probation service (NPS) in meeting its targets for April to September 2004 is set out in the table alongside its performance for 2003–04.
April to September 2004–05
Performance measureTargetAchievedTargetAchievedpoint change
Enforcement within 10 days
Compliance including orders allowed to continue
Offending Behaviour Programme Completions
ECP completions
DTTO starts
Basic Skills Starts
Basic Skills Awards
Number days912.3911.5-0.8
Victims contacted
Timeliness of Pre-Sentence Reports

(36)Although DTTO starts were down, this was against a higher target. There were in fact 864 more DTTO starts in April-September 2004 than in the equivalent period in 2003.
(37)April to June 2004.

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The comparison illustrates the real improvement that the NPS has achieved on most of its main service delivery targets, including those, such as basic skills, that were increased for 2004–05.

The budget for probation areas has increased by two per cent. in real terms in 2004–05. Much of this increase relates to funding capacity-building for the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and so is not directly related to the increase in performance. It is fair to say, therefore, that the improved performance has increased the cost-effectiveness of the NPS, so improving the value for money of the service delivered to the community.

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