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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1774W—continued

Private Gregory Bruce

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the result was of the Thames Valley police investigation into the death of Private Gregory Bruce in Bicester barracks, Oxfordshire. [26748]

Hazel Blears: The Coroner's inquest, based on information in the Thames Valley police investigation report, determined on 13 October 2005 that Private Bruce's death was death by suicide.

Probation Service

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vacancies there are in each probation area where the service (a) is and (b) is not recruiting. [23830]

Fiona Mactaggart: The following figures represent active vacancies (in terms of full-time equivalent value) in each probation area as at 30 June 2005. This is the most recent information available at present.

An active vacancy is one which an area is actively trying to fill (ie is at some stage of the recruitment process). Where an area has no active vacancies recorded, this can be taken as indicating that they were not recruiting on the day that data was captured.
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Active vacancies
Avon and Somerset67.90
Devon and Cornwall11.30
Dyfed Powys4.60
Greater Manchester0.00
North Yorkshire0.00
North Wales7.50
South Wales40.50
South Yorkshire0.00
Thames Valley59.20
West Mercia13.60
West Midlands0.00
West Yorkshire50.50

Greater Manchester are not able to provide active vacancy figures at present, and the zero values recorded for this area indicate a nil return rather than an absence of vacancies.

Probation Staff (Pay Award)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the outcome of the Pay and Reward Review for Probation Staff in England and Wales. [24447]

Fiona Mactaggart: Talks between the employers and trade unions on the National Probation Service pay and reward review are progressing well and a joint statement will be issued shortly.

Public Enquiry Office Belfast

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what circumstances led to the closure of the public enquiry office in Belfast with effect from 15 November 2001; and if the Government will re-establish a public enquiry office in Belfast. [28364]

Mr. McNulty: The decision to close the Belfast Public Enquiry Office (PEO) was based on the fact that only 2,000 callers used the office annually and the operating hours and capacity were very limited. A better service
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1776W
could be provided from the larger PEO situated in Liverpool which offered a full range of services, unlike the restricted service offered at Belfast. There are no plans to reopen the Belfast PEO.

Race Relations (Amendment) Act

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on public bodies' compliance with the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. [26651]

Paul Goggins: The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 extended the provisions of the Race Relations Act to most public authorities by making racial discrimination unlawful in carrying out their functions. It also placed a positive duty on many public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups. The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is responsible for enforcing and monitoring the Act.

The CRE has issued more than 200 'minded letters', indicating its willingness to take enforcement action against specific public authorities. In all cases this has resulted in the authorities concerned taking the necessary remedial action required to ensure that they are meeting their responsibilities in relation to race equality. Building on this work, the CRE is drawing up proposals on what it, in partnership with others, could do further to monitor public bodies' progress on meeting their equality targets and obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act. For example, the CRE is currently targeting a range of public authorities to determine their progress in conducting Race Equality Impact Assessments. This will focus on both the number of new policies being assessed and the rigor of individual assessments. A specific focus for the CRE over the coming 12 months will be to ensure that all new policies, including legislation, are subject to Race Equality Impact Assessments. To support this work, the Home Office is working with the Interdepartmental Group on Race Equality to drive this work at a departmental level.

Reconviction Rate

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reconviction rate has been in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [16369]

Fiona Mactaggart: The table shows the available information. The data refers to samples of offenders for the each of the five years shown. Owing to the administrative costs of matching criminal histories, reconviction results are generally based on samples of offenders from the first three months of each year.

Reconviction rates are influenced by a number of different factors relating to the offence and the offender. They can be adjusted to take account of the changing characteristics of offenders and these adjusted rates are published annually on the Home Office's website (
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Reconviction rates—percentage of offenders reconvicted within two years for standard list offences

Offenders discharged from prison in Qtr 1 of each yearOffenders starting community sentences in Qtr 1 of each year

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Recorded Crime Rate

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the recorded rate of crime was in Suffolk for each year since 1997 for (a) burglary of dwellings, (b) violence against the person, (c) vehicle crime, (d) robbery, (e) sexual offences, (f) total violent crime, (g) theft and handling of stolen goods and (h) criminal damage. [24844]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is given in the table.
Table 1: Offences recorded by the police in Suffolk—1997 to 2001–02
Number of offences

Violence against the person2,4483,8205,3036,3957,354
Sexual offences400405389421486
Violent crime2,9894,3655,9156,9938,129
Burglary in a dwelling2,4222,4642,3322,1982,447
Theft and handling stolen goods16,95217,09717,42217,19619,419
Of which:
Vehicle crime6,6876,4466,5016,2916,915
Criminal damage7,8357,8989,54710,15012,095

1. The coverage was extended and counting rules revised from 1998–99. Figures from that date are not directly comparable with those for 1997.
2. The data in this table is prior to the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard. These figures are not directly comparable with those for later years.

Table 2: Offences recorded by the police in Suffolk 2002–03 to 2004–05
Number of offences

Violence against the person7,9499,52910,347
Sexual offences588641620
Violent crime8,78610,46011,227
Burglary in a dwelling2,2582,3651,763
Theft and handling stolen goods18,80618,20517,609
Of which:
Vehicle crime6,2825,7825,463
Criminal damage11,49712,81712,781

1. The data in this table takes account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.
2. The Sexual Offences Act 2003, introduced in May 2004, altered the definition and coverage of sexual offences.

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