Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Jun 2005 : Column 321W—continued

Illegal Cycling

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to increase (a) police and (b) council powers to confiscate off-road bicycles and quad bikes that are ridden illegally on private land, common land or public roads; and if he will make a statement. [1575]

Paul Goggins: The police already have a power to seize any vehicle which is being driven off-road without authority or on-road carelessly or inconsiderately, if it is at the same time causing alarm, distress or annoyance. Local authorities have powers, including a seizure
6 Jun 2005 : Column 322W
power, to deal with noise nuisance from off-road vehicles We are satisfied these powers are sufficient and have no plans to increase them.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to strengthen the law relating to preventing off-road bicycles and quad bikes ridden illegally on private land, common land or public roads. [1576]

Paul Goggins: The Government has recently consulted on changes to road traffic legislation in the Review of Road Traffic Offences involving Bad Driving which was published on 3 February and ended on 6 May 2005. The proposals would apply to all motorised vehicles driven on public roads, including quad bikes. In addition the consultation paper asks whether the offence of wanton and furious driving" which is the only offence that applies to non-motorised vehicles and private land, be replaced by a modern provision. We have had a large number of responses to the consultation. We are now in the process of carefully analysing all the responses received and we will publish a summary in due course.

Adventure Capital Fund

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much of the Intervention Capital Fund was allocated to social enterprises in each year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; [762]

(2) what criteria are used in allocating funding from the Intervention Capital Fund; and if he will make a statement. [763]

Paul Goggins: I understand my hon. Friend is referring to the Adventure Capital Fund, for which a second investment window opens in July. Only Community Enterprises can apply. For Round Two funding they must be engaged in activities covering children and young people; crime reduction; drug prevention; employment initiatives; community care and mental health; or vocational training. They also need to focus on building strong, independent community-based organisations; capacity building; disadvantaged groups; building social capital; or provision of community-based services.

The Adventure Capital Fund has provided funds (in the form of investments and also grants to help organisations become investment ready) to social enterprises with a community focus as follows:

Main investments2,000,000
Bursary grants271,240
Main investments2,126,640
Business development grants151,000
Main investments1,580,000
Business development grants150,168

6 Jun 2005 : Column 323W

Police Force

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables have been recruited in each of the last three years. [79]

Hazel Blears: Figures showing the numbers joining the special constabulary are given in annual statistical bulletins on police service strength, which are available in the Library.

The numbers of special constables joining in the last three years for which figures have been published are given in the table. Joiners include those transferring between forces.
Numbers joining the special constabulary in England
and Wales
1 April 2003 to 31 March 20042,224
1 April 2002 to 31 March 20031,885
1 April 2001 to 31 March 20021,714

Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate Police Strength Bulletins.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change the criteria for (a) entry to the police force and (b) training police officers. [128]

Hazel Blears: The entry requirements for police officers were reviewed in 2003 as part of the strategy to develop National Recruitment Standards. These standards now include a national recruitment and assessment process, and standards covering fitness, medical conditions, eyesight and eligibility criteria. These arrangements are kept under review. Effective training to improve operational performance is central to the Government's agenda on police reform and is continually reviewed and developed as part of the drive towards workforce modernisation. The Police Training and Development Board is responsible for this review and development and sets the priorities for new national learning and development programmes. Among others, this board includes representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, Skills for Justice and the Central Police Training and Development Agency (Centrex).

Taser Guns

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to equip frontline officers with Taser stun guns. [564]

Hazel Blears: The current operational use of Taser is limited to use by trained firearms officers, as a less lethal alternative for use in situations where authority to use
6 Jun 2005 : Column 324W
firearms has been granted. I have no plans for this equipment to be made available to all frontline police officers at the present time.

Police Vehicles

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in the (a) Kent police force and (b) England hold (i) advanced police driving licences and (ii) patrol car licences. [98]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 20 May 2005]: Information is not collected centrally on the number of police officers with advanced police driving licenses or patrol car licences.

Police/Crime Statistics

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to reduce crime in Hertfordshire; and if he will make a statement. [840]

Hazel Blears: The Secretary of State has established a comprehensive programme of measures to tackle crime in Hertfordshire, as elsewhere in England and Wales.

The 10 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) in Hertfordshire are responsible for the delivery of crime reduction at the local level. The performance of the CDRPs is managed by the Home Office team in the Government office for the east of England, whose role is to support and challenge the partnerships in their region. The director of this team is held accountable by the Crime Reduction Director in the Home Office through quarterly bilateral meetings, supplemented by performance review meetings with Home Office performance support managers in the intervening months.

To ensure that the Home Office meets its Public Service Agreement one, 'to reduce crime by 15 per cent., and more in high crime areas, by 2007–08', the Government offices in the regions have negotiated crime reduction targets with all their partnerships. The aggregate target reduction across Hertfordshire is just over 15 per cent. to be measured by the British Crime Survey (BCS) Comparator using a baseline of 2003–04. The BCS Comparator is a subset of all recorded crime that relates closely to the questions in the BCS.

All the Hertfordshire partnerships have planned their crime reduction activity for their three-year strategies, which they are implementing from April 2005. The Government office for the east of England will have monitored the contents of these strategies to ensure that they address crimes of both local and national concern.

The Secretary of State has also initiated a number of national programmes to support the work undertaken at local level.

6 Jun 2005 : Column 325W

The Police Standards Unit (PSU) in the Home Office regularly monitors the performance of police forces and, within them, basic command units, and engages with forces who are underperforming on a range of indicators. Forces' performance against their peers is an important aspect of the assessment. PSU have not been engaged with Hertfordshire police.

Hertfordshire constabulary had 2,135 police officers on 30 September 2004, 213 more than in March 2001. The Crime Fighting Fund has funded 113 extra officers in the force since April 2000, over and above the force'sown recruitment plans. At the end of March Hertfordshire constabulary had 99 community support officers, supplementing the work of the force in providing reassurance to communities.

The Home Office has made available to all police forces and CDRPs a statistical database, iQuanta, that enables them to monitor their crime reduction performance. Through the crime reduction website CDRPs are able to access 'toolkits' and examples of good practice to help them with planning crime reduction activity.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidences of violent crime there have been in Wales in each year since 2002. [1069]

Hazel Blears: There were 56,561 offences of violent crime recorded in Wales in 2002–03 and 56,415 recorded in 2003–04.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidences of drug-related crime there have been in Wales in each year since 2002. [1070]

Paul Goggins: Recorded crime figures are used to measure the extent of crime in local areas. Although these include statistics on drugs offences—such as possession—and on property crimes—such as burglary—they do not contain information on the offender's drug habits. It is therefore not possible to estimate from these statistics the numbers of crimes in Wales that are drug-related.

Next Section Index Home Page