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Ms Blears [holding answer 3 February 2005]: The Government offices for the regions (GOs) do not set crime reduction targets for police authorities, for police forces or for crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs).
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires CDRPs to publish three-yearly crime and disorder reduction strategies which include specific targets for reducing crime in their areas. The next round of strategies is due to be published by 1 April 2005. A key function of GOs is to support delivery of Government business in the regions, and in line with this role, I have asked them to work with CDRPs to ensure that the local targets agreed make an appropriate contribution to national delivery of the new Home Office Public Service Agreement (PSA) 1. This PSA requires a reduction in crime by 15 per cent., and more in high-crime areas, by 200708.
On the basis of advice from the Home Office, GOs' approach to this task has been to suggest to each CDRP a target range" for which they should be aiming, The range suggested to an individual CDRP depends upon the level of crime in their area. CDRPs with higher crime levels are expected to achieve greater reductions than those in lower crime areas.
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Guidance on this process was issued to CDRPs on 7 December 2004, copied to chief constables and police authorities. In addition, the National Policing Plan published in November 2004 explicitly highlighted the need for GOs, police and CDRPs to collaborate closely in agreeing measures to achieve PSA 1. The National Policing Plan 200508 is available on the police reform website at www.policereform.gov.uk.
As key members of CDRPs it is for police authorities to ensure that police performance requirements and CDRP targets are directed at achieving reductions in crime and improvements in performance. Chris Fox, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers, recently sent a letter to chief constables clarifying the links between the Police Performance Assessment Framework (PPAF) and the requirement for CDRPs to set challenging targets. Many CDRPs across the country have now agreed targets with their GO with which all CDRP membersincluding the policeare satisfied.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of officers of inspector rank and above in each constabulary are (a) women and (b) from ethnic minorities, broken down by rank. 
Ms Blears: As part of the Government's police reform programme, there are several programmes available to officers at the rank of inspector and above which enhance policing and leadership skills. These programmes promote ongoing development and present an integrated approach to police training.
The Core Leadership Development Programme (CLDP) is available to officers up to and including the rank of inspector. The emphasis of the programme is on personal and professional development of both leadership and management. The goal is to improve individual performance and ability to effectively deliver an improved service, both internally and within the community.
The Senior Leadership Development Programme (SLDP) is aimed at commanders and their teams, for all types of command and management units operational or support. The programme provides further leadership development for police officers with independent command and management responsibilities, including those aspiring to join the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and looking to go to PNAC (the Police National Assessment Centre).
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In addition to these central programmes, the Professionalising Investigations Programme (PIP) has been developed to examine existing investigation procedures and develop ways to make the process more professional, ethical and effective for both officers and support staff involved in investigations at all levels, including the management of investigations.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average age is of serving
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police officers, broken down by (a) rank and (b) police force area. 
Ms Blears: It is not possible to calculate average age from the information available centrally. Available data show that, of the 140,070 officers in post in England and Wales police forces on 31 March 2004, 14,148 (or 10 per cent.) were aged 25 or under; 75,309 (or 54 per cent.) were aged 26 to 40; 50,028 (or 36 per cent.) were aged 41 to 55; and 585 (or 0.4 per cent.) were over 55.
| Age type|
|Forces||25 and under||26 to 40||41 to 55||Over 55||Total|
|Avon and Somerset||336||1,911||1,196||18||3,461|
|Devon and Cornwall||176||1,844||1,339||7||3,366|
|London, City of||60||452||346||3||861|
Ms Blears: We are taking this work forward with the help of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and officials from the National Assembly of Wales. Consultation on the new formula will take place this summer with the aim of introducing a revised formula for the 200607 police funding settlement.
Ms Blears: Police authorities are statutorily required to publish data on best value performance indicators in local annual policing plans plus annual reports. Full police force area comparisons of the key indicators are published in the Home Office's annual Police Performance Monitoring volume and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary's annual report. Measures specifically relating to crime, detections and police numbers are also published in the Home Office's annual statistical bulletins 'Crime in England and Wales' and 'Police Service Strength, England and Wales'.
Ms Blears: The Code of Practice (Code B) for searches of premises by police officers and the seizure of property found by police officers on persons or premises, issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), deals with police powers to search premises.
Code B requires that police officers should consider if the necessary objectives of entry and search of premises can be met by less intrusive means. Officers should exercise their powers courteously and with respect for persons and property; and only use reasonable force when this is considered necessary and proportionate.
Code B recognises that on some occasions it may be necessary to enter premises at an unsociable hour where it is considered that access at any other time might frustrate the purpose of the search. Premises may be searched only to the extent necessary to achieve the object of the search, having regard to the size and nature of whatever is sought.
The officer conducting the search under Code B is required, unless it is impracticable to do so, provide the occupier with a copy of a notice in a standard format. This notice, amongst other things, should summarising the authority under which the search is being made, details of compensation procedures, explain the rights of the occupier and the rights of the owner of any property seized.
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