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4 Jul 2005 : Column 125W—continued

Crime and Disorder Partnerships

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of crime and disorder partnerships; and if he will make a statement. [4787]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 16 June 2005]: The Home Office has in place performance management arrangements to ensure the effectiveness of crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs). Under these arrangements challenging targets for crime reduction have been agreed with each CDRP and progress against them is regularly monitored. Under-performing partnerships are offered support and assistance to improve delivery.

Many partnerships are now delivering real reductions in crime, disorder and substance misuse to their communities. Our approach to performance management is to work with local partners to bring the performance of all CDRPs, to the level of the best.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Criminal Records Bureau to have the necessary functionality to analyse disclosure applications by employment group. [8004]

Andy Burnham: The Criminal Records Bureau remains committed to its plans to build in enhancements to the disclosure application form which, in the future, will enable more specific analysis of employment groups. I am unable to provide a specific time-scale for the installation of this function at present.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Criminal Records Bureau disclosure applications were received in each of
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the last 12 months; how many were issued; and what the average length of time taken to issue a disclosure was in each month. [8005]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is as follows:
Applications receivedApplications issuedAverage issue time (days)
June 2004205,859208,09819,61
July 2004223,928210,05920,68
August 2004190,266192,22722,02
September 2004233,083201,10923,93
October 2004242,154218,08722,44
November 2004239,827225,52824,13
December 2004190,732194,33725,48
January 2005186,431197,25328,41
February 2005211,601203,29424,75
March 2005227,434218,36424,32
April 2005219,830225,42225,75
May 2005228,159207,20326,29


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment his Department has made of the health effects of prolonged cannabis use. [6634]

Paul Goggins: The advice contained in the report of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on the classification of cannabis, published in March 2002. included a wide-ranging assessment of the risks to human health from cannabis use.

The Advisory Council found that there were several serious consequences of prolonged cannabis use, which included that repeated cannabis use leads to a significant proportion of regular users becoming dependent upon the drug.

The health risks of using cannabis are also described in guidance commissioned by the Department of Health, published in September 2003, and entitled Dangerousness of Drugs—A Guide to the Risks and Harms associated with Substance Misuse".

The smoking of cannabis presents a health risk with an increased incidence of bronchitis, asthma and lung cancer as well as disorders of the heart and circulation. Preliminary studies of lung function in regular cannabis smokers have not found a major cause for concern in the majority, but some severe cases of lung damage have been reported in very heavy users.

Cannabis use can worsen existing mental illness, such as schizophrenia, and it slows recovery.

We continue to monitor the health effects carefully. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary asked the Advisory Council in March to consider all the relevant evidence from recent studies into the links and associations between taking cannabis and developing mental health problems. He wants to be clear whether the evidence would alter the council's overall assessment of the appropriate classification of cannabis. He also asked for advice on the claims of greater prevalence of increased strength cannabis. It is intended that the council will have concluded its assessment in time to report back to my hon. Friend by the end of the year.
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Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what alternatives to the charitable sector there are for the provision of facilities for (a) drug treatment and testing orders and (b) drug rehabilitation requirements in St. Albans; [6734]

(2) what non-charitable premises are available in St.Albans for the provision of (a) treatment testing and (b) rehabilitation of offenders by his Department; and what provision there is other than the charitable sector for (i) through care and (ii) after-care elements in St.Albans. [6735]

Paul Goggins: The non-charitable sector providers for drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) and drug rehabilitation requirements (DRRs) in St. Albans are:

HPA's Victoria Street premises are used by Drugcare, a charitable foundation, for the provision of assessments and/or counselling for offenders with drug problems who are subject to community penalties, other than DTTOs/DRRs.

The non-charitable throughcare and aftercare element i.e. statutory provision for the rehabilitation of drug misusing offenders in St. Albans is provided by Hertfordshire Drug Interventions Programme (DIP). Through the Hertfordshire DIP, some of the elements of throughcare and aftercare provision for clients and potential clients is provided in St. Albans every Friday currently at SS Alban and Stephen Catholic Church, where they can be assessed, drug tested and offered further support through the dedicated team.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested for the (a) supply and (b) possession with intent to supply of (i) heroin, (ii) crack cocaine, (iii) all class A drugs and (iv) all class B drugs excluding cannabis prior to reclassification in each of the calendar years since 2001, broken down by (A) police force and (B) age of individual arrested. [4942]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 20 June 2005]: The information requested is not available centrally.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the numbers of (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions that are likely to result in each of the next years from the implementation of the Drugs Act 2005. [6118]

Paul Goggins: The total estimated additional prosecutions anticipated in a full year are approximately 3,076 and the additional convictions are anticipated to be approximately 1995.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to make information available to those attending nightclubs on the effects of combining the use of Viagra and amyl nitrates as recreational drugs. [5853]

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Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

The Department has issued no specific guidance on the dangers of combining Viagra and amyl nitrates as recreational drugs.

Viagra is a licensed medicine and the product information for patients supplied with the medicine contains warnings that Viagra should not be used in combination with nitrates.

The Department has published two guidance leaflets specifically aimed at young people, which give advice about the use and side effects of a number of drugs, including 'poppers' containing amyl nitrite.

In addition, the FRANK website aims to inform young people and their parents, carers and families about the effects and risks of taking illicit drugs, including 'poppers' containing amyl nitrite. It also makes very clear the health risk of mixing both Viagra and 'poppers', and of mixing drugs in general.

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