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10 Nov 2005 : Column 649W—continued


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if any future use of biometrics for both passports and identity cards will be entirely managed and delivered within the public sector. [25657]

Andy Burnham: It is currently envisaged that the services required to support the delivery of biometrics for the use in both passports and identity cards, will be managed within the public sector and delivered using both public and private sector resources. This approach ensures that the best possible use can be made of external capability, while retaining critical decision making and strategically important functions within the public sector. Any developments in the future will support this principle and will ensure that the public sector retains control of all key decision making in regard to the use of biometrics and all decisions about enrolments using biometrics.

Community Policing

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on community policing in Romford; and what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of ward policing in London. [26442]

Hazel Blears: The Government are committed to every area in England and Wales benefiting from dedicated, visible, accessible and responsive neighbourhood policing teams by 2008. Within London, the roll-out of safer neighbourhoods teams are a decision for the commissioner of the Metropolitan police. There are currently eight teams in the London borough of Havering, and the commissioner plans that all areas of London will benefit by April 2007.

The Home Office has commissioned an evaluation of the impact of the National Reassurance Policing programme which includes four wards in the Metropolitan Police Service, in Bexley, Enfield, Kensington and Chelsea and Merton. This study will assess the impact of police activity on public feelings of safety and security, community engagement and confidence in the police, and will be published in the early part of 2006. The MPS are conducting their own internal assessment of the Safer Neighbourhoods programme for operational purposes, which includes a public attitudes survey.

Court Orders

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many breaches of anti-social behaviour orders have (a) resulted in and (b) not resulted in court action in (i) Romford and (ii) Havering since they were introduced. [26441]

10 Nov 2005 : Column 650W

Hazel Blears: The Home Office court proceedings database holds breach proceedings only where there has been a conviction. These data are available at Criminal Justice System area level only.

Criminal Assets

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his target is for the recovery of criminal assets in 2005. [26649]

Hazel Blears: As set out in the Home Office Strategic Plan 2004–08 (Cm 6287) the target for 2004–05 was £60 million, with more in future years. In 2005–06 we aim to exceed last year's performance where £84.4 million of criminal proceeds was recovered.

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of cases have been considered for more than two years before a decision has been reached under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2001. [21262]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority advises that in 2003–04 (the first year in which any case could satisfy this criterion) the percentage was 2.5 per cent. In 2004–05 it was 4.5 per cent.

Cross-border Co-operation

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what protocols the Government have in place to ensure that cross-border co-operation between police forces is effective; and if he will make a statement. [24516]

Hazel Blears: There are currently protocols for forces to collaborate to deal with cross border crime. The Closing the Gap report identified that some of these arrangements were not as effective as they could or should be. These issues are currently being progressed as part of the Review of the Structure of Police Forces.

Departmental Spending

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on items of art in 2004–05. [23468]

Mr. Charles Clarke: In 2004–05, as part of the interior art strategy for the new Home Office at 2 Marsham Street, £17,260 was spent on art. The exterior art strategy for 2 Marsham Street was paid for by the developer Annes Gate Property plc. Art provided to Ministers' offices are loaned by the Government Art Collection at no cost to my Department.

Firearms Certificates

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearms certificate applications were processed by each police force in England and Wales in each of the last three years for which records are available. [24732]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is given in the following table.
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Firearm certificate applications in England and Wales by police force area, 2001 to 2003–04

Police force area200120022002–032003–04
Avon and Somerset1,6921,6891,430633
Devon and Cornwall2,8452,8232,452954
Greater Manchester640542458315
London, City of5975
Metropolitan police1,6451,5381,354734
North Yorkshire1,6072,3572,127738
South Yorkshire531520461283
Thames Valley2,1631,9291,973569
West Mercia1,2591,0791,199893
West Midlands592646634435
West Yorkshire871923811432
North Wales795733634255
South Wales518608553257
England and Wales42,19442,29938,76117,071

1.Data collected by calendar year until 2002, financial year thereafter.
2.Includes granted and refused applications for new, renewal and variation certificates.

10 Nov 2005 : Column 652W

Knife Crime

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the rate of knife crime was in each police authority area in each year since 1997. [25041]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally. Crimes involving the use of a knife cannot be separately identified in the recorded crime statistics.

Military Police

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what criteria are used in assessing whether military police should participate in policing civilian areas and events; [23652]

(2) how long he expects Cheshire police to be collaborating with military personnel in Operation Yellow Card; [23653]

(3) what guidelines are in place for establishing chain of command when military police and civil police forces work together; [23654]

(4) what assessment he has made of how the civil police force might be supplemented by the military police force; and if he will make a statement. [23655]

Hazel Blears: I am advised by Cheshire police that operation yellow card does not involve military personnel. Operational policing is the responsibility of the chief police officer in the area concerned. Military assistance can be sought in exceptional circumstances in accordance with arrangements that include the need to seek approval of the relevant Ministers in the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence. In such circumstances, military personnel provide support to and work under the control of the chief police officer. This remains the case even in circumstances where military personnel are deployed in support of the police.

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