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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) advice and (b) guidance the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner provided to (i) the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), (ii) the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and (iii) the Treasury in
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1741W
relation to the conduct of the council tax revaluation by VOA inspectors; and if he will place copies in the Library. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Office of Surveillance Commissioners has not given any advice or guidance, nor been asked to give any advice or guidance, in relation to conduct undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for the purpose of valuing properties for council tax. The Agency does not carry out surveillance of individuals and does not operate covertly, and its officers' always identify themselves as VOA officers when carrying out their duties.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people convicted of crimes in Hertfordshire received a non-custodial
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sentence in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) ethnicity and (b) offence for which they were convicted. 
Hazel Blears: Information taken from the Home Office Court Proceedings database on the number of people convicted for crimes who received a non-custodial sentence, by offence type, in Hertfordshire, 1997 to 2003 is in the table. Court statistics for 2004 will be available in late November.
Information on sentencing and ethnicity is also taken from the Home Office Court Proceedings database. The information for Hertfordshire has not been published centrally in the past due to the high number of persons whose ethnic appearance is classified as 'unknown'. However, some breakdown on ethnicity for Hertfordshire is scheduled to be published in 2004 statistics, which will be available from February 2006.
|Offence type||Found guilty||Non-custodial sentence||Found guilty||Non-custodial sentence||Found guilty||Non-custodial sentence||Found guilty||Non-custodial sentence|
|Violence against the person||367||240||368||237||393||256||467||305|
|Theft and handling stolen goods||1,179||995||1,165||975||1,315||1,121||1,482||1,236|
|Fraud and Forgery||181||133||272||208||263||190||348||270|
|Other indictable offences||376||296||354||290||426||342||420||343|
|Indictable motoring offences||90||73||85||70||67||53||81||61|
|Summary offences (exc. motoring)||7,047||6,952||7,781||7,692||7,290||7,180||8,113||7,994|
|Summary motoring offences||8,727||8,557||9,913||9,771||10,016||9,858||9,097||8,896|
|Violence against the person||456||278||539||328||507||355|
|Theft and handling stolen goods||1,482||1,184||1,558||1,248||1,671||1,361|
|Fraud and Forgery||250||203||280||215||297||249|
|Other indictable offences||477||387||450||370||610||481|
|Indictable motoring offences||80||63||94||68||128||93|
|Summary offences (exc. motoring)||7,661||7,562||6,668||6,563||8,419||8,310|
|Summary motoring offences||8,808||8,603||10,198||10,021||11,773||11,601|
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many criminal investigators there were in the Hertfordshire Police Force in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Hazel Blears: Information on the functions to which police officers are deployed is collected annually and is only available from March 2000. The deployment of officers to CID and other police functions is an operational matter for the Chief Constable of the Hertfordshire Constabulary (Mr. Frank Whiteley).
The number of CID officers in the Hertfordshire Constabulary are those staff mainly employed in plain clothes for the investigation of crime and who are not part of a specialist unit. More police officers are available to investigate crime with CID, but it is not
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their primary policing role within force. Details of the number of CID officers in Hertfordshire Constabulary are set out in the table.
|As at 31 March:||Number of CID officers|
Hazel Blears: Hertfordshire received a good settlement this year. General grants increased by 3.77 per cent. to £108.8 million. This is in line with the minimum increase of 3.75 per cent. increase guaranteed to all police authorities. Hertfordshire gained £4.7 million from our decision to provide funding floor of 3.75 per cent.
The authority has also received around £9.9 million for specific grants for initiatives such as the Neighbourhood Policing Fund, to support the recruitment of 24,000 community support officers across England and Wales by 2008, and for capital. Details of the provisional police funding settlement for 200607, and for 200708 as part of the move towards three-year settlements, will be announced in late November/early December.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government is taking to improve (a) community engagement and (b) neighbourhood policing in Hertfordshire; and if he will make a statement. 
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. A key aim of these teams will be to build more effective engagement with the public. To support this, the Home Office and the Association of Police Authorities convened the National Practitioner Panel for Community Engagement in Policing.
The panel has created a Guide to Community Engagement which is a resource for all policing practitioners, and which contains both practical and strategic advice for practitioners who want to develop or improve their approach to engagement. The guide is supported by a database of case studies which showcases recent and ongoing work around the country, and encourages policing practitioners to network with, and learn from, their peers.
The Government are working closely with the Police Service to develop neighbourhood policing, initially within pathfinder areas. In Hertfordshire, this is the Eastern Area Basic Command Unit.
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In Hertfordshire, street crime, alcohol-related violence and disorder and domestic violence have been identified as priorities, with alcohol as a particular target. The 10 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships have action plans in place at a local level, and additionally there are multi-agency Town Centre Crime Reduction Groups (for example in Watford and Hemel) which focus on violent crime in town-centres where the majority of it occurs. Strategies include enforcement of town-centre no-drinking zones, education within schools, licensed premises inspections, expansion of CCTV coverage and training for CCTV operators, enforcement of underage drinking laws and regular police public order patrols in town centres.
Nationally, there is a huge programme of work. We are, for example, introducing new measures which will give police and local communities the powers they need to tackle guns, knives and alcohol-related violence in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill which is currently before Parliament.
Domestic violence is a key priority. Our National Delivery Plan to tackle domestic violence provides support for victims, strengthens the Criminal Justice System to be more responsive to domestic violence cases, holds perpetrators to account and provides resettlement for victims and rehabilitation packages for perpetrators through end-to-end offender management and the concept of a whole sentence plan.
Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes in Oxfordshire were committed by people who had left the intensive supervision and surveillance programme in 200405. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) levels of and (b) detection rates were for (i) violent crime, (ii) car crime, (iii) sexual crime, (iv) burglary and (v) robbery in West Lancashire constituency in the last year for which figures are available. 
The introduction of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in May 2004 resulted in substantial changes to the sexual offences. In particular, the redefining of the offences of exposure into the sexual offences group resulted in substantial increases in this category nationally.
|Offence type||Number of offences||Detection rate (percentage)|
|Violence against the person||6,661||58|
|Theft of a motor vehicle||787||26|
|Theft from a vehicle||1,527||14|
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