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21 Feb 2005 : Column 442W—continued

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) civilian personnel were assigned to each basic command unit of the Avon and Somerset constabulary in each year since 1997. [214651]

Ms Blears [holding answer 7 February 2005]: Police officer strength by basic command unit was not collected centrally prior to 31 March 2002 and police staff prior to 31 March 2003.

The available information for Avon and Somerset constabulary is given in the table.
Police officers
Police staff
Bath and North East Somerset2282242244356
Central Bristol3673783855171
North Bristol2632552704249
North Somerset2032132274961
Somerset East2552572666689
Somerset West2952953086599
South Bristol2512512584652
South Gloucestershire2652632675561

(192) As at 31 March.

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the full-time equivalent head count for Avon and Somerset constabulary was in each of the last eight years. [214652]

Ms Blears [holding answer 7 February 2005]: Information on police service strength is published annually in a Home Office statistical bulletin and half-yearly in an online report. The latest figures were published in Home Office Statistical Bulletin number 13/04, Police Service Strength England and Wales, 31 March 2004".

Full-time equivalent strength for Avon and Somerset constabulary is given in the following table.
Police officersPolice staffCommunity support officersTraffic wardensTotal strength
31 March 19972,9891,4391084,536
31 March 19982,9761,3931144,483
31 March 19992,9991,4251154,539
31 March 20002,9341,436594,429
31 March 20012,9941,452484,494
31 March 20023,0961,611444,751
31 March 2003(193)3,1491,767434,959
31 March 2004(193)3,4011,95245345,432

(193) Comparable strength with previous years. Excludes staff on career breaks and maternity/paternity leave.

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David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have broken their bail conditions in each year since 1997; and what offences they had committed. [210017]

Paul Goggins: It is not possible from data collected via the Home Office Court Proceedings database to identify the number of people who have skipped bail nor the offences they had committed.

However, statistics of persons proceeded against at magistrates' courts and convicted at all courts for the offence 'absconding by person released on bail' is as follows:
Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under S.6 Bail Act 1976, England and Wales 1997 to 2003(194)

Proceeded againstFound guilty

(194) These data are on the principal offence basis.

Statistics for 2004 will be available in the autumn.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what grant schemes are available for CCTV in (a) villages in Lancashire and (b) railway stations at (i) Coppall, (ii) Acklington, (iii) Astley Village, (iv) Clayton and (v) Euxton. [215328]

Ms Blears: All Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) within Lancashire receive the following grants, which could potentially be used to purchase and install CCTV cameras within each district:

It is for the CDRP in each area to decide, as a partnership, what the priorities for that area are and what interventions will be used to tackle them.

All of the railway stations identified are within Chorley and, so, the Building Safer Communities and Basic Command Unit Funds are all potential funding streams.

Child Curfew Orders

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Child Curfew Orders have been made under the scheme introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. [214932]

Paul Goggins: No applications have been received to establish a local child curfew scheme under section 14 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The powers in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 for the dispersal of
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groups and the removal of persons under 16 to their place of residence have been used in preference to this power.

Community Sentences

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to increase public confidence in community sentences as an alternative to prison. [216754]

Paul Goggins: The Government believe that prison should be reserved for serious, violent and seriously persistent offenders. For all other offenders, alternatives to prison can often be more effective in addressing offender behaviour than short custodial sentences. The new generic community sentence, provided by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, will be commenced on 4 April 2005. This will give the courts a flexible range of tough community punishments suitable for dealing with a wide range of offenders whose offence is too serious for them to be fined but who do not fall into the serious, violent or seriously persistent category.

The Government recognise that there is a lack of public knowledge and understanding of community sentences.

That is why the National Offender Management Service has launched a major communications campaign which aims to demonstrate that community sentences are both tough and demanding whilst providing the opportunity for offenders to give something back directly to the community. It will target national, regional and local media to secure the broadest public audience.

There is a national visibility scheme in place to identify community work done by offenders. In the next few weeks a 'Clean Up' campaign will start in 10 regions, which will give local people the opportunity to have a say in the unpaid work to be done by offenders as part of their community punishment.

Community Support Officers (London)

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the 20,000 community support officers the Government proposes to recruit by 2008 are to be posted in Greater London; and if he will make a statement. [216426]

Ms Blears: Community support officers are a key element of neighbourhood policing. We have made provision of £50 million available for the first phase of the Neighbourhood Policing Fund by enabling forces to commence recruitment of an additional 1,568 community support officers (CSOs). The Metropolitan police were allocated 250 of these CSOs. The City of London police applied for their first allocation of CSOs and received 16 in this funding round. These CSOs will help to build the total number in England and Wales to 5,500 by 31 March 2005.

Decisions about further allocations will be made in the coming months to assist forces in reaching the target of 24,000 CSOs in 2008. We are currently discussing the criteria for investment under the Neighbourhood
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Policing Fund with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities and other stakeholders.

Contempt Laws

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to reform the laws of contempt. [215895]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

The law of contempt plays a vital role in safeguarding the administration of justice and there are no plans to reform it. The Attorney General issued guidance to the media on the publication of articles amounting to contempt in his keynote address to the Law for Journalists Conference in November 2003 (available at and in his speech to the Weber Shandwick Contempt Seminar in November 2004 (available from the Attorney General's press office).

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