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Holocaust Memorial Day

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the HomeDepartment what assessment his Department has made of the impact of holocaust memorial day in increasing awareness of and drawing conclusions from the holocaust; and what plans he has for future commemorations. [223021]

Fiona Mactaggart: Home Office quantitative polling research included four questions about holocaust memorial day (HMD) in the August 2004 and February 2005 surveys. The February 2005 research findings show a significant increase in awareness with 77 per cent. of those interviewed having heard of HMD (compared with 53 per cent. in August 2004) and 66 per cent. agreeing that events like HMD have an important part to play in combating racism and discrimination (compared with 51 per cent. in August 2004).

To give a comparison, in February 2004 a BBC survey revealed only 55 per cent. of the UK's population had ever heard of Auschwitz. A new BBC survey conducted in January 2005 has shown that now 94 per cent. of the population in the UK has heard of Auschwitz. This awareness is not just superficial, with half of the UK population feeling that they now know quite a lot about the holocaust, compared to only 30 per cent. last year. In establishing HMD the Government wanted to drive up awareness and understanding of the holocaust. The televised national event in January, preceded by a reception for survivors at St. James's Palace in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and supported by other media programming about the holocaust, has succeeded in this aim. Understanding the continuum of
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hatred and marginalisation that led from racist abuse to mass genocide will help new generations to stand up to anti-semitism, racism and intolerance.

The 2005 commemoration provides an excellent basis for the work of the new Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which will shortly be launched and will assume responsibility for the delivery of HMD from now on.

Illegal Abortions

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions of individuals for unlawfully carrying out abortions there have been in each year since 1997. [222485]

Ms Blears: The available information is contained in the table and gives the number of offenders found guilty at all courts for procuring illegal abortion", England and Wales 1997 to 2003.
Number of offenders found guilty at all courts for procuring illegal abortion"(19) England and Wales 1997 to 2003

Found guilty

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

Statistics on court proceedings for 2004 will be published in the autumn.

Illegal Experimentation (Human Embryos)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions of people found to have experimented unlawfully on human embryos there have been in each year since 1997. [222484]

Ms Blears: Persons found guilty for offences of experimenting on human embryos over 14 days under section 41 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 cannot be separately identified in the statistics collected centrally.

Inland Revenue

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2005, Official Report, column 1110W, on Inland Revenue, when the Inland Revenue first advised his Department that it had a necessary and proportionate requirement to use covert human intelligence sources; and when his Department advised (a) Inland Revenue and (b) other Departments making use of informers to conduct a review of their informers and practices for dealing with them prior to the coming into force of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. [223175]

Ms Blears: When approached by the Home Office in late 1999, as one of a number of public authorities that used or might use covert human intelligence sources, the Inland Revenue indicated that it did use such sources and wished to continue doing so but within the statutory framework which was to be provided by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. At no time prior to
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the coming into force of the 2000 Act did the Home Office advise the Inland Revenue, or any other public authority, to review its practices for dealing with informers.

National Missing Persons Helpline

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the funding base of the National Missing Persons Helpline; what representations he has received in respect of funding by his Department for the helpline; and if he will make a statement; [223030]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the work of the National Missing Persons Helpline. [223031]

Ms Blears: We have approved funding of up to £300,000 for the National Missing Persons Helpline subject to a fuller understanding of their financial and management situation.

Neighbourhood Policy Document

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many copies of Neighbourhood Policy—Your Police, Your Community, Our Commitment (a) have been printed, (b) have been distributed to date and (c) have been distributed unsolicited; and what the costs to date are of (i) design, (ii) printing and (iii)distribution. [223267]

Ms Blears [holding answer 22 March 2005]: The publication Neighbourhood Policing—Your Police, Your Community explains the Government's policies on community based policing. It is intended for those who work in policing and for the communities they serve.

A total of 300,00 copies of the publication were printed in English and 3,500 in Welsh.

To date 107,730 copies have been distributed to 21,546 addressees.

The costs of the publication were £850 for design; £42,474 for print and £24,000 for distribution.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department will provide a substantive reply to questions 202011 and 202012 tabled for answer on 6 December 2004. [220269]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 4 March 2005]: Ireplied to the hon. Member on 14 March 2005, Official Report, column 1841W.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are applied when considering whether a prisoner is eligible for parole; and if he will make a statement. [221471]

Paul Goggins: The Parole Board is required to take account of the Secretary of State's Directions when determining whether or not an offender held in custody is of sufficiently low risk to be released into the community.
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The panel of the Board will consider the matter either on the papers or at an oral hearing, depending on the type of release and the status of the offender. Depending on the matter before the Board for consideration, the Board will have some or all of the following available to them:

A copy of the Directions can be found in the House Library.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what methods are used in the national assessment process aimed at preventing racists from joining the police force. [221867]

Ms Blears: It is essential that we do all we can to exclude those with racist or other unacceptable attitudes from joining the police service.

We have introduced a national assessment and selection process across all forces which tests candidates' against seven competencies identified as requirements for a recruit police officer, including community and customer focus and respect for race and diversity.

The process aims to prevent people with prejudiced views and behaviour from joining the police service.

In particular, it comprehensively tests candidates' attitudes to race and diversity. Candidates' attitudes are tested at least seven times across all the exercises in the assessment centre, including at interview, in interactive role play exercises and through written assessment.

The exercises are all contextually based. Putting people through a range of exercises, using a range of assessment instruments when people are under pressure, makes it difficult for candidates to conceal attitudes and behaviours.

Those who do not score sufficiently highly in respect for race and diversity are not accepted—regardless of how well they have done in the rest of the selection process.

Moreover, candidates are failed automatically if they demonstrate inappropriate behaviour through their behaviour or language while at the assessment centre. This includes outside the testing environment, when they are in the corridors, waiting areas, and other public areas.

We are also encouraging all forces to use members of their minority ethnic communities as assessors in their selection processes.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) headcount and (b) whole-time equivalent (i) police officers and (ii) civilian staff have been employed by Sussex police in each of the last 10 years. [222032]

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Ms Blears: The latest figures on police strength for September 2004 were published in an online report number 23/05.

The information requested is given in the following table:

Police staff
30 SeptemberFTEHeadcount(20)FTEHeadcount

(20)Police strength headcount not collected prior to 2002.
(21)Comparable with previous years' data—excludes staff on career breaks and maternity/paternity leave.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the police received in funding in (a) 1997 and (b) 2003. [218615]

Ms Blears: Funding for the police service in England and Wales is set out in the following table.
£ million

Home office police grant3,4734,288
Revenue support grant(22)(5507620023)1,5162,055
National non-domestic rates(22)(5507620023)1,035770
Total other grants(24)658
Capital grants(25)170306
Revenue raised from council tax(22)9472,047

(22)Source: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and National Assembly for Wales.
(23)Revenue Support Grant (RSG) includes SSA Reduction Grant and Central Support Protection grant in 1997–98. RSG and NNDR for the City of London Police are provided in respect of all the Corporation's functions.
(24)Specific grants for targeted programmes.
(25)Capital grants include Home Office police capital grant, supplementary credit approvals, Air Support, Premises Improvement Fund, Airwave capital and C3i. The figure for 1997–98 includes an element for major capital schemes allocated under the Priority Planning List (PPL) scheme.

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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the North Yorkshire Police Authority Medium Term Financial Plan 2005 to 2011. [221144]

Ms Blears: Each police authority is responsible for its own Medium Term Financial Plan, which will reflect the resource implications of local policing service levels and developments.

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the central Government grant to Nottinghamshire constabulary was in (a) 1999–2000 and (b) 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [223207]

Ms Blears: The information is set out in the table.
£ million

General grants(26)Specific grants(27)Capital

(26)Includes Home Office principal police grant, ODPM revenue support grant and redistributed business rates.
(27)Includes Crime Fighting Fund, Street Crime Initiative, BCU funding, CSO funding and Neighbourhood Policing Fund, DNA funding, Special Priority Payments and Airwave.
(28)Capital grant in 1999–2000 includes £3.4 million paid to Nottinghamshire Police Authority under the then arrangements to provide additional support for a limited number of major capital schemes each year. In addition, the authority received supplementary credit approvals of £2.6 million in 1999–2000 and £1.3 million in 2004–05 for grant supported borrowing.

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