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25 Oct 2005 : Column 350W—continued

Illegal Alcohol Sales

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many retailers have been prosecuted in (a) South Tyneside, (b) Northumbria and (c) England and Wales for the illegal sale of alcohol to people under the age of 16 in each of the last 10 years. [17197]

Hazel Blears: Data on prosecutions for sales of alcohol to under-16s is unavailable because the offences concerned relate to under-18s. The available information, relating to sales of alcohol to under-18s in England and Wales, South Tyneside and Northumbria police force area, 1993 to 2003, is shown in the following table. Data for 2004 will be available in late November.
 
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Defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts for offences relating to the sale of alcohol to underage persons(43) South Tyneside, Northumbria and England and Wales, 1993 to 2003

Offence descriptionStatuteYearSouth Tyneside PSA(44)Northumbria PFA(45)England and Wales
Selling etc., intoxicating liquor to persons under 18 for consumption on the premisesLicensing Act, 1964, Section 169(1); Licensing (Occasional Permissions) Act 1983, Schedule (Sec. 3) para. 4(1 ).19937156
199419137
19954198
1996119251
1997234214
1998492310
1999141204
200017130
200117155
20028168
200338604
Wholesaler selling intoxicating liquor to a person under 18Licensing Act 1964, Sec.181A(1) as added by Licensing Act 1988, Sec17.1993
19941
1995
1996
19971
19981
19991
20002
20013
20022
200312


(43) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(44) Petty Sessional area.
(45) Police force area.
Source:
RDS—Qffice for Criminal Justice Reform




Micro-bikes

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward legislation to enable the police to destroy micro-bikes seized under the Police Reform Act 2002 for use in an antisocial manner. [19335]

Hazel Blears: Once a vehicle has been seized, under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002, the police must serve a notice on the vehicle's owner as soon as possible.

This requires the owner to pay a charge for removal and storage in order to reclaim the vehicle, unless he can prove that its antisocial usage had been without his knowledge and consent and that he could not reasonably have prevented it. The police can dispose in any appropriate manner of a vehicle that is unclaimed.

National Identity Register

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications of having 13 items of biometric data for each person on the National Identity Register on the (a) estimated size of the database and (b) management of the data. [19892]

Andy Burnham: The algorithms which will be used to generate biometric templates have not been decided upon, nor have the standards to which the biometric images will be stored. However, based on currently available technology, the templates which will be used might be expected to take up a few 10's of Kilobytes per person and will therefore form the bulk of the data in the
 
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main part of the National Identity Register (NIR) but will not make the database so large as to be unmanageable.

The biometric images—that is the raw image data from which the templates are generated—will be substantially larger but will not be required for routine matching and may only be used for generating the template on enrolment and subsequent biometric renewal. They could therefore be stored in a separate database which may be managed as an archive.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer the question from the hon. Member for Portsmouth South, dated 19 May, reference 330. [15865]

Paul Goggins: I replied to the hon. Member on 24 October 2005, Official Report, column 40W.

Passports

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment the Government have made of the impact on the Government's current best estimate of the total average annual running costs for issuing passports and identity cards to UK nationals, including allowances for contingency, optimism bias, and non-recoverable VAT, of (a) extending the sensitivity analysis, (b) revisiting the process for estimating contingency and (c) revisiting cost assumptions in line with the recommendations of the KPMG review of the costing methodology and key cost assumptions of the identity card scheme. [19871]


 
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Mr. McNulty: The current best estimate for the total average running costs for issuing passports and ID cards to UK nationals is £584 million, at 2005–06 prices and including allowances for contingency, optimism bias and non-recoverable VAT. My officials are reviewing the recommendations of the KPMG review and will be acting on them in future iterations of the costings.

Police

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the timetable is for the amalgamation of police forces in England and Wales. [19060]

Hazel Blears: The Home Secretary has asked police forces and authorities to develop options for force restructuring over the next three months and to submit their final reports including their preferred options to the Home Office by 23 December. The timetable for implementation remains to be decided but the intention is to have the new structures in place by 2008.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police cells are in use in Bournemouth; and if he will make a statement. [17079]

Hazel Blears: This is an operational matter for the chief constable of Dorset Police but I understand that there are 14 cells and four detention rooms at Bournemouth police station; and that there are plans to build a new 30 cell custody block at Bournemouth Divisional HQ.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements for parliamentary scrutiny he plans for the proposals for restructuring of police forces; and to what timetable. [18667]

Hazel Blears: Sections 32 to 34 of the Police Act 1996 make provision for the alteration of police force areas in England and Wales (other than the City of London police area) by secondary legislation. Under these provisions the Secretary of State may make an order either if he has received a request to make alterations from the police authorities for each of the areas affected by them (in which case the negative resolution procedure applies), or if it appears to him that it is expedient to make the alterations in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness (in which case the affirmative procedure applies). Police authorities and forces have been asked to submit their proposals for restructuring by 23 December 2005. My right hon. friend Home Secretary will make a further announcement on the way forward once these submissions have been considered.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that no police force will (a) suffer a reduced budget and (b) be required to reduce the number of police, community support officers or non-uniformed staff it employs under the new funding formula for the police service. [18766]

Hazel Blears: It is the responsibility of each police authority to set a budget each year, taking into account local circumstances and resources at its disposal. Our commitment is that by 2008 every area in England and Wales will benefit from neighbourhood policing, supported by the neighbourhood policing fund. We will provide continued investment, including provision for 24,000 community support officers by 2008.
 
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The provisional police grant settlement announcements for 2006–07 and 2007–08 will be made in late November/early December. For the first time, authorities will be able to plan realistically for service provision, knowing their grant for the coming two years rather than one.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with chief constables on the restructuring of police forces; what terms of reference he has given to (a) chief constables and (b) police authorities in relation to the consultation on restructuring; and if he will make a statement. [19091]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 17 October 2005]: The Home Secretary outlined the need for force restructuring as recommended in HMIC's report Closing the Gap" to all chief officers and chairs of police authorities on 19 September.

My right hon. Friend then wrote to all chief officers and chairs of police authorities in England and Wales on 22 September to set out his views on the development of options for force restructuring. To support the development of proposals for change, a toolkit and guidance to help forces with evaluating options has been sent to all forces and authorities.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance his Department issues to police forces on regular health and fitness tests for police motorcycle riders; and if he will make a statement. [13364]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 18 October 2005]: The Home Office has not issued guidance on health and fitness tests for police motorcycle riders. It is the responsibility of forces under health and safety legislation to ensure that risk assessments for the physical and medical requirements of specialist police roles and posts are undertaken.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was paid out by the Metropolitan Police in rewards for information relating to crimes in each year since 1997. [15281]

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.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the letter of 3 August from the Minister of State to the hon. Member for Warrington, North, on what information she based her statement that Centrex had not timed its announcement of the closure of police training centres to avoid parliamentary scrutiny. [19661]

Hazel Blears: Centrex were not in a position to announce that decision before Parliament rose. The decision was not timed to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.
 
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Home Office officials attended the Centrex board meeting scheduled for 21 July and agreed the timing of the decision and its announcement at this meeting.

It would not have been possible to make an announcement before the board had made a decision. Given that this affects people's jobs it would have been unacceptable to delay the announcement until after parliamentary recess.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the letter from the Minister of State to the hon. Member for Warrington, North of 3 August, if he will make it his policy to ensure that announcements about closures of police training centres are made when the House is sitting. [19662]

Hazel Blears: I agree that while every effort should be made for announcements of this sort to take place at a time when Parliament can raise questions about them, closure of these sites is the responsibility of Centrex and parliamentary timing should not be the only consideration.


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