|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Best Value legislation was introduced in 1999 by virtue of Section 1(1 )(d) of the Local Government Act 1999. The legislation put a statutory responsibility upon police authorities to achieve continuous improvement through application of the Best Value approach, carrying out structured Best Value Reviews (BVRs) of all aspects of police service delivery. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has conducted a significant number of inspections of BVRs each year since the introduction of Best Value. All HMIC Inspection reports and recommendations to police forces and authorities have been published on the HMIC website. A report summarising the work carried out and identified good practice has been submitted to the Police Minister on an annual basis. To the best of HMIC's knowledge, there has not been a comprehensive evaluation of the overall impact of Best Value legislation within policing therefore it is difficult to fully quantify the direct benefits to the Police Service or whether the legislation has significantly improved or increased the bureaucratic burden on police forces and police authorities. HMIC has an expectation forces and police authorities should be proactive in securing continuous improvement giving due regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Best Value is one of the many tools that is considered within this process and HMIC has worked with the Service to ensure that, wherever possible, the full benefits of the approach are realised while avoiding the potential downside of excessive bureaucracy.
13 Jun 2005 : Column 168W
Hazel Blears: The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis is responsible for the operational management of, and allocation of funding by, the force. I will ensure that he receives a copy of the question and replies to you directly in response to your concerns.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list local authorities in England which have provided funds to police authorities for the purchase of additional police community support officers (PCSOs); how many PCSOs have been provided under such purchasing agreements; and what funding stream was used by each local authority to pay for the additional PCSOs. 
Hazel Blears [holding answer 9 June 2005]: This information is not collected centrally. Community support officers (CSOs) are employed by police authorities. At the end of March 2005, there are over 6,300 CSOs in post. Of these 4,367 posts are supported by some degree of Home Office funding. The Neighbourhood Policing Fund will assist forces to increase the number of CSOs to 24,000 by 2008.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the courts in which completed proceedings against police officers from Essex have taken place in each year since 2000. 
Hazel Blears: The Chief Constable of the Essex police force is responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the force. I will ensure that he receives a copy of the question and replies to you directly in response to your concerns.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths in police custody have occurred in each police authority in each year since 1990; and in how many cases the person who died was considered to be suffering from a mental illness. 
Hazel Blears: An annual published breakdown by force area of those who have died during or following contact with the police for each of the last five years, is attached at annex A. Prior to 1997, the Home Office did not collect the statistics by force area. The breakdown is not structured to provide specific information on those with mental health problems. However, since 1997 there have been some deaths of those detained by the police under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, and these figures are listed separately in the tables at annex A. Mental health problems may be a factor in other deaths orparticularly those that are recorded under category three (deaths in or following police custody).
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has completed his assessment of the McFarland Report on the performance and structure of the Police Information Technology Organisation; and when he intends to make a statement; 
Hazel Blears: The Review's report has been completed and is still under consideration by Ministers. Once Ministers have considered the content of the report, the report will be published and copies of the final report will then be available in the Libraries of both Houses. A Ministerial statement will be made to Parliament in due course.
Hazel Blears: The Government's plans for a modernised police servicewhich is more responsive, visible, accessible and accountable to local communitieswere set out in the November 2004 White Paper 'Building Communities, Beating Crime'. Key elements of the reform programme include: ensuring every community in England and Wales benefits from neighbourhood policing by 2008; building a stronger customer service culture within the service; strengthened accountability arrangements and a greater role for local people in determining how their communities are policed; further reductions in bureaucracy; ensuring greater national consistency on issues such as IT; consideration of whether we have the right policing structures to meet present and future challenges; and further modernisation of the workforce to enable the service to deliver these changes.
Hazel Blears: The Commissioners of Police of the metropolis and for the City of London are responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the police forces in London. I will ensure they receive a copy of the question and reply directly to you in response to your concerns.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the policing targets instructing officers to make four arrests per month for specified offences or face the prospect of disciplinary action. 
Hazel Blears: There are no Government performance targets for police forces in respect of the number of arrests to be made. The individual performance regimes for individual forces and how they are managed are rightly a matter for the chief constable and their police authority.
The following performance indicators identify an escape as one where (i) the prisoner is not recaptured within 15 minutes or (ii) is recaptured within 15 minutes but has committed an offence other than escape before recapture.
13 Jun 2005 : Column 170W
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances female prison officers are expected to search male prisoners; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 6 June 2005]: Female prison officers are expected to perform rub down searches on male prisoners on a routine basis. Staff working in high security establishments will carry out more frequent rub down searching than lower category establishments.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many appeals his Department has made against tribunal decisions which have compensated female prison officers for having been made to search male prisoners in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 6 June 2005]: In the last 10 years, one female prison officer successfully sought an employment tribunal ruling that she was unfairly being asked to rub-down search male prisoners. The decision made by that tribunal is being appealed by the Prison Service.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|