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18 Jul 2005 : Column 1493W—continued

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the questions, references (a) 2586 and (b) 2589, tabled by the hon. member for Preseli Pembrokeshire on 3 June. [7295]

Hazel Blears: I replied to the hon. Member on 11 July 2005, Official Report, volume 436, column 750W

Passport Service

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated total cost of HM Passport Service's Authentication by Interview scheme is; and what assessment he has made of the annual changes arising from its implementation (a) in cost terms and (b) in terms of the number of fraudulent applications prevented. [10071]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The estimated cost of the Passport Service's Authentication by Interview (ABI) scheme in its year of introduction is aggregated within the total estimated unit cost of £67.93 for 2006–07, published within the Corporate and Business Plan.

The ABI initiative is intended both to deter and to detect fraudulent applications among first time applicants but its business case has been constructed on its potential deterrent effect, for which evidence exists. UKPS data sampling have identified the first time adult channel as accounting for 74 percent. of all fraudulent applications, although this group accounts for less than 10 percent. of all applications processed annually by the Agency. ABI closes the loophole that currently exists in the postal application system by bringing together the physical applicant, and current biographical information, to ensure they are one and the same. A fraudster will now be faced with having to act out their false identity, and risk a real possibility of detection. There have been a number of instances in the past where the requirement to attend for interview would have enabled UKPS to identify a fraudulent application and prevent the issue of a passport in a false identity.

The savings the scheme is designed to deliver are in deterring fraudulent applications passport applications and thus contributing to the overall fight against identity fraud.


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure the Metropolitan Police Service in each London borough has sufficient numbers of detectives. [7073]

Hazel Blears: The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has record police numbers. At the end of September 2004 the force had 30,111 police officers. At 31 March 2005, I am advised by the MPS, they had 6,432 detectives. The allocation of officers to London boroughs and other operational units in the MPS is an operational matter for the commissioner (Sir Ian Blair).

Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time equivalent police officers have been employed in the Avon and Somerset police force in each year since 1989–90. [12541]

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Hazel Blears: Information on the number of police service personnel for the Avon and Somerset constabulary since 1989 is set out in the following table. Police service strength for 31 March 2005 will be published at the end of July.
Avon and Somerset constabulary: police strength 1989 to 2005

As at 31 MarchNumber of police officersNumber of police (support) staffNumber of community support officers

(76)30 September.
(77)Estimated strength for 31 March 2005.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many custody suites are operated by Lancashire police; how many cells there are in each; and where each suite is located. [10799]

Hazel Blears: This is an operational matter for the chief constable of Lancashire constabulary but I understand that there are eight custody suites in this police area and these are at the following locations and contain the following numbers of cells:
Number of cells

(78)To be increased to 22 by July 2006

This represents the total number in regular use and includes detention rooms. It excludes those held in reserve for constabulary contingency, overspill or special operational use.

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers have been introduced in Newport, East; and what assessment he has made of the impact they have had on levels of crime and antisocial behaviour in Newport East. [13311]

Hazel Blears: Gwent constabulary had 77 community support officers (CSOs) on 31 March 2005. Information is not centrally collected about the number of CSOs in Basic Command Units. Arrangements are being made to collect such data.
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We have commissioned a national evaluation of community support officers (CSOs) which will be published later this year. An interim report, National Evaluation of Community Support Officers", published in December 2004 (available at, indicated that CSOs are having a positive impact on some types of anti-social 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 streets.

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in Newport, East in 1997; and how many there were in the last period for which figures are available. [13312]

Hazel Blears: Information on police officer strength at Basic Command Unit (BCU) level is collected annually and reflects the position at the end of March. This data has only been collected since March 2002. Information for 31 March 2005 will be published at the end of July. Information on police strength at constituency level is not collected. The deployment of police staff to BCUs is a matter for the chief constable (Mr. Mike Tonge).

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) special constables and (b) police support and administrative staff there were in the Northamptonshire police force in each of the last 10 years. [11197]

Hazel Blears: The available information is given in the following table.
Special constable and police service staff Northamptonshire

Strength at
30 September
Special constables (headcount)Police service staff(79) (full-time equivalent)

(79)Not including community support officers and traffic wardens.
(80)Excludes staff on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave, for comparison with earlier years.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is available to police officers when it is known before an arrest is made that an individual is mentally or physically disabled. [12253]

Hazel Blears: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), in conjunction with National Police Training, produced guidance in 1996 on restraint techniques entitled Personal Safety Training". The guidance covers conflict management and highlights factors, including mental illness, which should be taken into account by officers when assessing the appropriate level of response in a given situation. The guidance is subject to ongoing review and update.
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Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Code of Practice C, issued under the PACE Act 1984 sets out the special considerations which must be applied when dealing with mentally vulnerable and physically disabled persons in custody. Annex E of Code C provides a summary of provisions relating to mentally disordered and otherwise mentally vulnerable people.

Guidance on local protocols relating to mental health, including an appropriate place of safety under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, was issued to chief officers of police under Home Office Circular 17/2004. The guidance was issued in consultation with ACPO, the National Institute for Mental Health and other stakeholders.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints have been made against the police since 1997 in each year in (a) England, (b) Essex and (c) Southend. [10912]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 11 July 2005]: Figures held by the Home Office for complaints made against the police since 1997 to 2004 for England are amalgamated with those against Welsh police services.

The responsibility for collating figures after 2004 falls to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and will not be published until later this year. I will ensure that the chairman receives a copy of the question and replies to you directly once the figures are published. Copies of the letter containing the IPCC's response will be placed in the House Libraries.

Under the Police Reform Act 2002, the chief constable of Essex police has the responsibility for recording all complaints made against his staff. Your request for complaints made against the police in Southend has been passed to him. I will ensure that he replies to you directly and copies of the letter containing Essex Police's response will be placed in the House Libraries. directly and copies of the letter containing Essex police's response will be placed in the House Libraries.
England and WalesEssexSouthend

(81)Not held

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the three-year cumulative change in formula grant funding for the police forces in England and Wales between 2003–04 and 2005–06 (a) before and (b) after the floor damping scheme. [11194]

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

Formula grant before floor damping
Formula grant after floor damping
Local authority2003–042005–06Change2003–042005–06Change
Avon and Somerset police157.1172.215.1157.1170.012.9
Bedfordshire police60.265.75.560.165.15.0
Cambridgeshire police73.280.16.971.177.96.8
Cheshire police105.6110.85.3103.9111.37.4
Cleveland police84.591.97.484.190.96.8
Cumbria police57.861.03.257.762.14.4
Derbyshire police97.3103.76.497.9105.07.0
Devon and Cornwall police160.4171.210.8161.5173.011.5
Dorset police58.661.83.261.666.04.4
Durham police81.786.95.281.587.86.3
Essex police143.3153.310.0155.9167.011.1
Gloucestershire police56.559.83.357.061.14.1
Greater Manchester police388.5418.329.8380.8412.531.7
Hampshire police179.7192.713.0184.5197.713.2
Hertfordshire police97.0104.17.1101.5108.87.3
Humberside police111.1118.27.0110.9118.97.9
Kent police168.7177.99.2176.8189.512.6
Lancashire police179.1192.113.0177.1190.813.7
Leicestershire police98.9109.810.998.8107.79.0
Lincolnshire police58.264.05.758.763.44.7
Merseyside police243.1255.612.5240.5257.717.2
Norfolk police79.686.06.479.685.96.3
North Wales(82)73.476.32.973.478.34.9
North Yorkshire police68.272.64.470.475.45.0
Northamptonshire police64.
Northumbria police221.1235.414.3214.3232.217.8
Nottinghamshire police123.7133.910.1123.6133.39.8
South Wales(82)158.3165.16.8163.0174.511.5
South Yorkshire police172.7184.111.4172.3185.713.4
Staffordshire police104.3111.06.7105.8113.37.6
Suffolk police63.167.64.563.968.54.6
Surrey police71.
Sussex police144.8152.17.4153.1164.010.9
Thames Valley police204.0216.512.5205.9220.614.7
Warwickshire police47.852.
West Mercia police103.0109.36.3104.4111.87.4
West Midlands police413.6442.328.7386.5426.540.0
West Yorkshire police298.6318.319.6289.4313.624.2
Wiltshire police58.761.73.058.762.94.3

(82)Because the Welsh Assembly does not operate a grant damping mechanism, the Home Secretary has for several years provided additional funding to ensure Welsh police authorities receive at least a minimum increase in grant in line with English authorities. These additional grants amounted to £5. 1 million.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the effect on the grant to the Northamptonshire Police Authority was as a result of the Floor Damping scheme for formula grant funding in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06. [11196]

Hazel Blears: Government funding for police authorities is chiefly allocated using a funding formula that distributes resources on the basis of relative need and resources. A damping mechanism subsequently applied to protect all authorities against financial instability ensures all authorities receive an increase in grant at least equal to the floor" level on a like-for-like basis year-on-year. Grant floors will remain an integral part of the finance system.

The general grant floor of 3.75 per cent. this year guaranteed a minimum increase in general grants for all
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police authorities. Northamptonshire Police Authority's increases are given in the table.
Northamptonshire Police Authority general grants allocation

Before damping
(£ million)
After damping
(£ million)
Effect of damping
(£ million)
Net increase (percentage)

The average increases for England and Wales were 4.3 per cent., 3.3 per cent. and 4.8 per cent.

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions in the last five years persons have been (a) charged with and (b) convicted of offences in relation to unauthorised (i)access to and (ii) disclosure of information held on the Police National Computer. [11988]

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Hazel Blears: It is not possible to identify from the Home Office Court Proceedings database offences relating to the misuse of the Police National Computer, as details of individual offences are not centrally collected.

The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) get requests for investigations from forces on misuse of the police national computer should a force become suspicious of abuse of the system. Data on the number of prosecutions brought as a result of these investigations are not collected centrally.
18 Jul 2005 : Column 1500W

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in each police force in England and Wales were assaulted in each of the last five years. [4996]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested relates to recorded offences of assault on a constable and is given in the table. The figures should be seen in the context of the introduction nationally of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002. The effect of this was a 23 per cent. increase in overall recorded violence against the person.
Recorded offences of assault on a constable

Police force area1999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Avon and Somerset305312319405534
Devon and Cornwall628646646671430
Greater Manchester1,8911,9051,9722,016796
London, City of3730394534
Metropolitan Police1,4011,3671,2691,9082,796
North Wales298445434550246
North Yorkshire508426449582274
South Wales7208688931,032700
South Yorkshire756923785689434
Thames Valley8268021,2541,527709
West Mercia640587768845523
West Midlands2,6063,2343,8112,817360
West Yorkshire1,3881,4881,5031,695634

The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1 April 2002 and figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police stations in England were (a) open round the clock, (b) open part-time and (c) mothballed in the latest year for which figures are available. [11874]

Hazel Blears: This information is not held centrally.

The management of the police estate and allocation of resources are matters for each police authority and the chief officer, who make arrangements in the context of local needs. The ownership of police stations is vested in the local police authority, not the Home Office. Use and disposal of police premises are matters for local decision.
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