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Hazel Blears: A BB gun is an airsoft weapon firing plastic pellets and statistics have only been collected separately from April 2004. Between April and December 2004, there were 2,219 offences where the type of weapon used was a BB gun.
Hazel Blears: A BB gun is an airsoft weapon firing plastic pellets and statistics have only been collected separately from April 2004. Between April and December 2004, there were three offences in North Yorkshire where the type of weapon used was a BB gun.
Paul Goggins: No particular body or organisation decides how much a vehicle immobiliser operating on private land should charge for the release of a clamped vehicle. For clamping on-street or in local authority car parks in England and Wales, outside London, the level of the release fee is set by the Secretary of State for Transport. In London, the Association of London Government Transport and Environment Committee makes proposals for setting the release fee. Any change is subject to formal agreement by the Mayor.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of community support officers to reducing (a) violent and (b) gun crime. 
Hazel Blears: The interim report of the National Evaluation of Community Support Officers (CSOs) published in December 2004 (available at www.policereform.gov.uk) indicated that CSOs are having a positive impact and can have a substantial impact on some types of antisocial behaviour and lower level crime, for example vehicle related crime and personal robbery. The main aim of CSOs is to provide a visible and reassuring presence on the street. It was never intended that they should tackle areas like violent and gun crime.
At the end of March there was 6,300 community support officers (CSOs) in England and Wales, 223 of these in the West Midlands police. As set out in our booklet Neighbourhood Policing: your police; your community; our commitment", we will provide funding to support an increase in the numbers of CSOs to 24,000 in 2008. We will announce later in the year, following discussions with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities what funding will be allocated for each
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police authority. It will be for the chief constable of the West Midlands police to determine the deployment of CSOs in the force area.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason the UK has not ratified the Convention on Human Trafficking; and what discussions he has had with non-governmental organisations on the decision not to ratify that Convention. 
[holding answer 24 May 2005]: The UK has not yet taken a decision on whether to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Human Trafficking. There are certain provisions in the Convention which present concerns for the UK and which remain under active consideration. We want to
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resolve these issues before taking a decision on signature. We support fully all of the aims of the Convention and we too want to see widespread action to tackle this abhorrent trade at source, to protect and support the victims and bring those responsible to justice. Ministers and officials are in contact with non-governmental organisations about the Convention. The Convention was discussed during a round table meeting on trafficking held in October and further dialogue on the Convention has taken place since.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the outturn band D council tax precepts were for each police authority in England and Wales in each year from 199798 to 200506. 
|Police precept on council tax (band D)|
|Avon and Somerset||52.04||54.86||60.62||67.59||72.66|
|Devon and Cornwall||49.79||48.30||53.52||58.87||61.81|
|Police precept on council tax (band D)|
|Avon and Somerset||83.40||111.64||125.09||131.34|
|Devon and Cornwall||73.80||103.27||113.39||119.62|
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