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Historical Sex Abuse Cases

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how contamination of evidence is avoided by the police in historical sex abuse cases; and if he will make a statement. [20172]

Paul Goggins: All investigations into historic child abuse by the police are bound by a combination of common law, legislation and Codes of Practice. The key pieces of legislation regulating this area are the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 and the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003), which both have associated Codes of Practice. Failure to comply with the Codes could result in improperly gathered
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evidence being ruled inadmissible by the courts as well as disciplinary action being taken against the police officers involved.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he takes to ensure that the agencies involved in historical sex abuse investigations provide sufficient training to their staff. [20200]

Hazel Blears: The Association of Chief Police Officer's (ACPO) Rape Working Group is currently commissioning the National Centre for Policing Excellence (a business unit of Centrex), to develop a national police training and development programme.

ACPO has also commissioned Centrex and NCPE to produce a national Investigating Child Abuse and Safeguarding Children (Learning and Development) Programme. The specialist child abuse investigator element of this programme will be launched in December 2005.

The investigation of historic/institutional child abuse guidance—The Senior Investigating Officer's Handbook"—is guidance produced by ACPO, after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Department of Health. The Government have also produced guidance, Complex Child Abuse Investigations: Inter-Agency Issues", which can be found on the Home Office website.


David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken to reduce homicides committed by people other than those who suffer from mental ill health. [13598]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 18 October 2005]: The Government deplore all violent crime and are undertaking an extensive programme of action to tackle it; this has the effect of preventing homicides since in many cases homicide results from the escalation of other kinds of violent crime.

The Government recently introduced the Violent Crime Reduction Bill which will introduce measures to tackle guns, knives and alcohol-related crime, all of which, again, will contribute to the prevention of homicide. The Bill contains measures which will tackle gun crime (such as introducing tougher manufacturing standards to ensure that imitation firearms cannot be converted to fire live ammunition), knife crime and binge drinking which can lead to very serious violent crime which may culminate in homicide.

There are record numbers of police officers to enforce the law—around 140,000—and 6,300 community support officers (CSOs) on our streets. The Government's approach has helped drive up detection rates for these crimes. Detection rates are high (98 per cent. for homicide in 2004–05) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) are continuing work to improve investigative methods and to spread good practice to ensure that offenders are detected, brought to justice and prevented from re-offending.

Licensing Act

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many senior police officers
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expressed serious concerns to the Government about the Licensing Act 2003 when the consultation on the legislation was taking place. [20932]

James Purnell: I have been asked to reply.

Nine representations were received from police bodies in response to the White Paper on licensing reform; these were placed in the Library of the House. Through the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the police were closely involved in formulating the 2003 Act; for example, ACPO has been part of the Advisory Group that met to discuss the Act regularly before and during the parliamentary stages of the Bill and since Royal Assent.

London Events (Criminal Offences)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many criminal offences occurred during the 2005 (a) Notting Hill Carnival, (b) Lord Mayor's Show and (c) Romford Carnival. [22948]

Paul Goggins: The information requested is not available from the Home Office recorded crime statistics.

Metropolitan Police

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he had with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police prior to his statement that command of the British Transport Police would transfer to the Metropolitan Police in the run-up to the Olympics; and for what reasons this information has not previously been communicated to Parliament. [22615]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 28 October 2005]: My right hon. friend the Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police commissioner discussed the issue of police force structures at a recent bilateral meeting.

Responsibility for the British Transport Police falls to the Secretary of State for Transport rather than the Home Department. The Secretary of State for Transport announced to Parliament on 11 October that he would be reviewing the role of the British Transport Police. The review will:

The terms of reference of the review are available in the House Library. Any decisions on the future of the British Transport Police would need to await the outcome of the review.

Multi-agency Public Protection

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases covered by the multi agency public protection arrangements on 31 March of each year between 2001 and 2005 fell into the (a) very high and (b) high risk category. [22784]

Fiona Mactaggart: The data are not available in the form requested. The latest data (covering 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005) on cases managed under the multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in each of the 42 police and probation areas in England and Wales were published on 17 October and copies
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have been placed in the Library of the House. The data in the reports reflect the management level required to manage the offender rather than the risk of harm presented.

Offenders may be managed within MAPPA at one of three levels which do not directly correspond to the level of risk of harm presented. Although risk is a key criterion, the management level is also determined by the complexity of the management plan required. The highest level of management is level 3. This year, for the first time, data relating to each of the three levels of management has been published and the following table has been compiled from each of the 42 area reports:
Number of MAPPA offenders 2004–05 by level of management required

Level of managementNumber of offenders
Level 31,478
Level 211,288
Level 131,826

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the principal offences committed by those persons covered by the multi-agency public protection arrangements are. [22785]

Fiona Mactaggart: The type of offence committed by each offender is not recorded centrally. The multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) are aimed at relevant sexual or violent offenders and other persons, who, by reason of offences committed by them (wherever committed), are considered to be persons who may cause serious harm to the public. The term relevant sexual or violent offender" is defined in section 327 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and includes all serious sexual and violent offenders.

National Alcohol Strategy

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice his Department has given to key agencies on local delivery of the National Alcohol Strategy. [16730]

Hazel Blears: The Home Office has focused on the reduction of alcohol-related crime and disorder by working closely with other key Government Departments. Much of the strategy has been focused on implementation at a local level. We have worked with the police on the Tackling Violent Crime Programme (TVCP) and two national Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaigns (AMEC).

These programmes targeted enforcement activity and partnership working in particular regions. We are also working closely with ODPM and their How to" programme which is relevant to the development of the night-time economy, as part of the delivery of the cleaner, safer, greener communities initiative. We lead the Alcohol Harm Reduction Programme jointly with the Department of Health, which has completed a national audit of available alcohol services and is developing a programme of improvements that will be implemented at a local level through primary care trusts.
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