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Caroline Flint: As we announced on 15 December 2004 the Government are looking at a range of measures, including a ban on the sale of knives to the under 18s, to tackle knife crime. We expect to say more shortly about how we will take this forward.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department of Health concerning people who have mental health problems. 
We are concerned to ensure that mentally disordered people who commit offences are not sent to prison inappropriately, by promoting court diversion schemes and flexible sentencing options for the courts. We are working together to develop services for dangerous offenders with severe personality disorder, and we are improving mental health services in prisons through the development of mental health in-reach services.
Caroline Flint: Lancashire constabulary tell me that they have 67 police dogs and 17 police horses available in their force area. They also use police horses from other forces, through mutual aid arrangements, for crowd management.
Caroline Flint: The number of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) trained to use conventional firearms for 200304 was 6096. The Home Secretary has approved the M26 Taser in England and Wales for use by Authorised Firearms Officers as a less lethal alternative in circumstances in which a firearms authority has been granted in accordance with criteria laid down in the ACPO Manual of Guidance on Police Use of Firearms. We do not hold information centrally on the number of Authorised Firearms Officers who have been trained to use tasers.
Caroline Flint: Official conviction figures include statistics on convictions for drugs offences, such as possession, supply, and on property crimes such as burglary, but do not contain information on the offender's drug habits. It is therefore not possible to estimate the volume of convictions which are linked to the use of drugs or to the operation of drug markets.
Information on the number of known drug offenders found guilty or cautioned for drugs offences is available for police force areas only and it is not possible therefore to give an estimate for North Durham alone. For the Durham police force area, there were 1,180 convictions for drugs offences in 2001. The equivalent estimate for 2002 is 1,200. This information is available in the area tables of the Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics, UK, 2001 and 2002" filed in the House Library.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money has been recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; and if he will introduce further legislation to increase the powers of the (a) police and (b) courts to seize all (i) property and (ii) money gained from illegal activities. 
Caroline Flint: The total amount of money recovered in the United Kingdom under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 since the Act came into force on 24 February 2003 is £25,484,192. The Proceeds of Crime Act already allows for the seizure of cash and the freezing of all property and assets that are derived from crime. The value of property and assets are then recovered following their sale. The Act contains significant new powers to investigate and recover criminal assets. It established a dedicated Assets Recovery Agency with new powers of civil recovery and taxation of criminal assets. We are determined that the powers in the Act will be used to the full to recover the proceeds of crime. There are no plans at this time to introduce further powers on recovering the proceeds of crime.
[holding answer 3 February 2005]: Under the Firearms Act 1982, imitation firearms that are readily convertible to fire live ammunition are treated in law as real, working guns and are therefore prohibited or require a firearms certificate. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced a new mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment for the
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unlawful sale or possession of prohibited firearms. There are otherwise no restrictions on the sale of imitation firearms, some of which are capable of discharging low powered projectiles and some not. Any imitation sold as a toy must not have an energy level in excess of 0.08 joule.
The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced a new offence of carrying an imitation firearm in public without reasonable excuse. The police believe that this is a significant contribution to dealing with problems of misuse as they can now challenge anyone seen in public with an imitation and can arrest them if they do not have a reasonable explanation. It is also an offence to possess an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence.
Caroline Flint: The Security Industry Authority (SIA) became a legal entity on 1 April 2003. It became operational on 1 March 2004 with the commencement of the rollout of door-supervisor licensing. It is intended that SIA will, in due course, be self-funding from fee revenue.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons were for the decision that National Crime Squad and National Criminal Intelligence Service officers transferring to the Serious Organised Crime Agency should have the status of holder of the Office of Constable and the powers of police officers. 
Caroline Flint [holding answer 21 December 2004]: All permanent staff transferring to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) from precursor agencies will become SOCA employees, with any previous office held in suspense. They may be designated with police, customs or immigration powers according to operational needs (subject to suitability and training).
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