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14 Oct 2005 : Column 655W—continued

Police Recruitment

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the numbers and percentages are of the total of Protestants, Roman Catholics and those who are not identified as from either religious background who (a) applied for positions, (b) were regarded as suitably qualified for and (c) appointed as police officers in Northern Ireland under the 50/50 recruitment policy. [18094]

Mr. Woodward: I am advised that, as at 12 October 2005, the information requested is as follows:
(a) Applications received

Roman Catholics15,41735.3

(b) Regarded as suitably qualified

Roman Catholics1,56826

(c) Appointed as Police Trainees

Roman Catholics(5)99150.1

(5) The appointment process is ongoing and these figures are subject to change.

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With the large number of applications to join the Police Service, the number of qualified candidates is far in excess of the finite number of posts available. This means that qualified candidates of all religious traditions will sadly experience the disappointment of an unsuccessful application.

There are in addition, some candidates who lose out as a result of the implementation of the 50/50 recruitment policy, which seeks to rectify an acute historical imbalance in the composition of the police service.

The proportion of officers in the Regulars from a Catholic community background has risen from 8.3 per cent. to 18.69 per cent. This would not have been achieved without these arrangements in place.

I think the members of all Political Parties should welcome the fact that increasing numbers of our young people, from both traditions, wish to join the PSNI. This reflects their ever growing reputation.

Restorative Justice

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the funding of community restorative justice projects in Northern Ireland. [18160]

Mr. Hanson: It is open to community restorative justice projects to seek funding from whatever sources may be available to support their community-based programmes and to satisfy the relevant grant criteria.

The Criminal Justice Review acknowledged that, subject to conditional safeguards, such schemes could also have a role to play in dealing with the types of low level crime which commonly concern local communities. My officials have therefore been working with the key criminal justice agencies and the representatives of the community restorative justice schemes on the development of guidelines to support the management of appropriate referrals from the statutory agencies for a community restorative solution. Once these guidelines have been agreed it is proposed to establish a pilot scheme to test the mechanisms in a practical environment.

Sexual Health Clinics

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people aged 16 and under have attended sexual health clinics in the Province in each of the last five years. [17544]

Mr. Woodward: Information on the total number of attendances at sexual health clinics is not collected centrally according to age and gender. Information is, however, available on the number of initial contacts with genito-urinary medicine clinics each year, broken down by age and gender, in respect of persons with various sexually transmitted infections. This
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information is shown for the financial years ending March 2001, March 2002, March 2003, March 2004 and March 2005 in the following tables.
Initial contactsUnder 151516–19Total
1 April 2000–31 March 2001
1 April 2001–31 March 2002
1 April 2002–31 March 2003
1 April 2003–31 March 2004
1 April 2004–31 March 2005

Data used to derive these figures comprise new episodes of primary and secondary infectious syphilis, uncomplicated gonorrhoea, uncomplicated chlamydia, anogenital herpes simplex (first attack) and anogenital warts (first attack). In addition, these figures include the numbers of HIV antibody tests conducted.
Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre NI

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Used Tyres (Disposal)

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to encourage the appropriate disposal of used tyres in the Province. [17537]

Angela E. Smith: The Department of the Environment, through the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) has responsibility for enforcing a number of waste management regulations. These regulations place a legal responsibility on waste tyre producers to ensure that they transport and dispose of their tyres legally. EHS has provided advice and guidance for tyre producers and the public with regard to the safe disposal of tyres. EHS has met with companies and tyre associations to promote awareness and encourage them and their members to apply appropriate disposal routes for waste tyres. EHS is in regular contact with the vehicle dismantling sector to explain the need to comply with the higher environmental standards and advise them of the requirement to remove and safely dispose of waste tyres.

Victims Commissioner

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what resources will be made available to assist the new victims commissioner in Northern Ireland. [17673]

Angela E. Smith: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has indicated that he intends to appoint a victims' and survivors' commissioner for Northern Ireland.

Sufficient resources will be made available to enable the commissioner to carry out the duties of the office.