|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list police forces which are carrying out pilots on (a) wireless technology to combat crime and (b) hand-held computing devices. 
Hazel Blears: Information is not held centrally on all the initiatives conducted by individual forces on either wireless technology or hand-held computing devices. The Police Information Technology Organisation is currently working with four forces, and one as a reserve, on trialling the use of wireless technology and hand-held devices.
Based on the 200405 BCS, 58 per cent. of comparable crimes had not been reported to the police. This figure is the same as that for BCS interviews in 200304. Comparable crimes are vandalism, domestic burglary, vehicle related theft, bicycle theft, theft from the person, robbery, common assault and wounding.
Whether crimes are reported to the police varies considerably by type of offence. Thefts of vehicles are most likely to be reported (95 per cent.). Domestic burglaries in which something was stolen had the second highest reporting rate (77 per cent.). Reporting rates are relatively low for crimes such as common assault, theft from the person and vandalism (34 per cent., 32 per cent. and 32 per cent. in 200405).
The majority of crimes that go unreported are relatively minor offences. The more serious offences in the comparable subsetwounding, robbery, theft of vehicles and burglary with lossonly accounted for 16 per cent. of incidents that were not reported in 200405).
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the definition is of proactive capability as used in the O'Connor Report published by HM Inspector of Constabulary in the context of policing protective services. 
Hazel Blears: The Protective Services Review examined to what extent forces have the necessary capability (i.e. access to the specialist skills and assets) and capacity to deal with serious and organised crime, terrorism, major crimes and other significant events without impacting on other policing services.
One of the key components was an assessment of the degree to which each force is practised and prepared for these types of incidents, its investment in seeking proactive intelligence, and the extent to which it is engaged in enforcement and preventative activity, such as murder suppression. As such, proactive capability
1 Dec 2005 : Column 753W
cannot be defined in numerical terms, instead the litmus test is
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) concluded that many forces, but particularly the smaller ones, had low levels of readiness and were only able to react to these incidents as they occurred as opposed to predicting and preventing them. Additional work is now being carried out to determine what proportions of a force's strength might need to be dedicated to this sort of activity to provide an effective service, however this work is still in the early stages.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make inquiries into the reasons why the widow of Mr. Philip Lawrence was asked questions by the Probation Service regarding the possible release of the person convicted of his killing; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: It is not appropriate to discuss the details of an individual's contact with the National Probation Service, particularly where it would involve the disclosure of personal information. However, set out are details of the National Probation Service Victim Contact Scheme in operation across England and Wales.
The National Probation Service has a statutory duty to operate a Victim Contact Scheme. The scheme operates for all victims where the offender has been sentenced to 12 months or more for a sexual or violent offence.
The purpose of the scheme is to provide a point of contact with the probation service through which victims are able to express any concerns or anxieties about the offender and, if they wish, be kept informed about key stages in an offender's sentence.
Victims are also offered the opportunity to express their views on the offender's conditions of release. The victim's views on licence conditions will usually be set out in a written report from the victim contact officer to those responsible for making decisions about an offender's release.
Participation in the scheme is entirely voluntary and victims may choose to take up the offer of contact at any point during an offender's sentence. The probation service's work with victims is an important contribution to community safety and helps to address issues of risk to the public, as well as providing support to victims.
I wrote to all members on 9 November with an update on the progress of the police force structures review. This letter included a regional summary of options. The Home Secretary made a written ministerial statement with an overview of the national picture on 11 November. The review process is ongoing and the onus is on police forces and authorities
1 Dec 2005 : Column 754W
to develop their proposals for submission to the Home Secretary on 23 December. Consultation is a vital part of the process and police forces and authorities are consulting with their local communities and stakeholders on their proposals.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis was for the minimum force size of 4,000 officers or 6,000 personnel in the Closing the Gap efficiency criteria for strategic police forces. 
Hazel Blears: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's (HMIC) report, Closing the Gap, found that forces with over 4,000 officers or 6,000 staff tended to meet the standard for protective services in that they demonstrated good reactive capability with a clear measure of proactive capacity. Protective services were assessed against national standards identified and agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on intelligence (what is known about an issue), prevention (what is being done to stop this) and enforcement/resolution (what ability is there to intervene effectively).
Hazel Blears: The Government believe that police officers should not generally be armed. The fact that officers are not routinely armed gives a character to our policing that we should not readily give up. Where an operational need arises specialist armed officers should be available to be deployed. The use of firearms by the police should always be as a last resort.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police forces have diving units; how many divers each force has; when (a) diving suits and (b) equipment was last replaced in each unit; and if he will make a statement. 
Hazel Blears: Data are provided in the following tables and has only been provided for forces with figures. Figures are provided for officers and staff whose main function is recorded as 'Underwater-Operational'. This includes members predominantly employed in anUnderwater Search Unit, but not including those employed in Marine Units.
Figures for members predominantly employed in Marine or boat patrol are given separately. It should be noted while this function may include diving, it is not possible to specify how many of these officers are employed specifically in diving.
|Avon and Somerset||8|
Hazel Blears: Both the Government and the police recognise that effective police pursuit of offenders, response to emergencies and conduct of other business, must take full account of the risk to the public. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) launched in 2004 new Guidance for the Management of Police Pursuits to help achieve this. There is continuing work to ensure that the correct training is provided, that there are adequate management controls, and that robust risk assessments are in place to ensure that safety is maintained at all times. Operational measures also exist to avoid pursuits or curtail them.
We are co-operating fully with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which announced on 17 July a review of road traffic incidents involving police vehicles that result in a fatality or serious injury. The review, which is due to report its findings by November 2006, will aim to identify any lessons that can be learned for police policy and operational practice.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list police authorities in England and Wales which the North Wales police paid for using their officers in the last three years for which figures are available; and how much North Wales police paid to each authority in each year. 
Hazel Blears: The National Bureaucracy Adviser provides practical assistance to forces in the timely and effective implementation of their work on reducing bureaucratic burdens on police officers in order to increase the capacity of officers to undertake frontline duties. This includes visiting forces to spread good practice; challenge, where necessary, existing practices; and drive force-led reductions in bureaucracy.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the extent to which the level of formula grant will need to be adjusted as a result of the proposed police officer pension funding changes from April 2006; and what representations he has received from police authorities on this issue. 
Hazel Blears: From 200607 a specific pension grant will be created and used to 'top up' any deficits on the pension accounts of police authorities in England and Wales. In the first two years of the new system of financing, this central pension budget will be funded by a reduction in police grant based on the sum of each authority's estimate of its net pension requirement after accounting for income from employees and employers contributions.
The transfers in 200607 and 200708 from general grant will be £313 million and £328 million respectively. The change in financing of police pensions will have no net impact on the level of funding made available to the police in England and Wales.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|