|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Hazel Blears: Operational tactics when using firearms are a matter for the police. The Association of Chief Police Officers have produced a manual of guidance on the police use of firearms. The policy section of this guidance is available at www.acpo.police.uk.
Hazel Blears: The published data relates to the actual strength of the police force not establishment which are set by police authorities and chief constables. The data for Essex police is set out in the following table.
|As at 31 March||Police Officer||Police (Support) Staff||Community Support Officer(48)||Designated Officers (S38)(49)||Special Constables|
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2005, Official Report, column 457W, what is the evidential base for his statement that police restructuring should be implemented as quickly as possible. 
Hazel Blears: Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary clearly demonstrated in its report, Closing the Gap" that the vast majority of forces in England and Wales were not providing adequate levels of protective services. In light of such findings it would be irresponsible for the Government not to act and ensure such gaps in services were filled in an effective way and as soon as possible.
Furthermore, we do not want to subject the service to a prolonged period of uncertainty which could lead to loss of morale and distraction from their core task of protecting the public. We cannot allow that to happen to the police service so we need to press ahead as quickly as it is sensible to do so.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from (a) the Police Federation, (b) the Association of Chief Police Officers, (c) Taser International and (d) other interested parties regarding possible changes governing the deployment of tasers. 
Hazel Blears: The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Police Federation have suggested that the Taser should be available for use in a wider range of operational situations and by specialist officers. We will be discussing this issue with them shortly. No decisions have yet been taken. Representations have also been received from Amnesty International. No representations have been received from Taser International or other interested parties.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in England and Wales on the latest date for which figures are available, (a) in total and (b) broken down by (i) region, (ii) constabulary and (iii) basic command unit. 
|English Government Office Regions and Wales|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||12,790|
|London, City of||881|
|Avon and Somerset||3,398|
|Devon and Cornwall||3,399|
|Total of all 43 forces||141,060|
|National Crime Squad (NCS)||1,059|
|National Crime Intelligence Squad (NCIS)||121|
|Central Service Secondments||555|
|Total police officer strength||142,795|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms he plans to establish to deal with the personnel issues arising from his proposals to restructure police forces in England and Wales. 
Hazel Blears: The Home Office has established a stakeholder group which includes representatives of the staff associations and trade unions as a forum for discussing the development of personnel issues arising from the restructuring proposals, and officials have held a number of bilateral meetings with the staff associations and unions. I expect that any changes in police officer or staff terms and conditions of service necessitated by restructuring would be handled by the Police Negotiating Board, the Police Advisory Board of England and Wales and the Police Staff Council as appropriate.
Hazel Blears: Forces and authorities will submit their final reports which will include their preferred option for change to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary by 23 December. Detailed assessment of these options will be made before a decision is reached as to the options that are most viable for implementation. No further announcements will be made until next year.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial arrangements he will make to fund the new regional police force for the West Midlands; and what discussions he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister on the resultant changes in council tax bills for band D properties in the area affected. 
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Welsh Assembly Government, Her Majesty's Treasury and police representative bodies have been invited to participate in examining the financial aspects of reorganisation, including the impact of restructuring on budgets, grant and council tax.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police communication systems are interoperable with the (a) local fire service and (b) ambulance service; and what plans he has to ensure that interoperability continues after the proposed amalgamation of police forces. 
Airwave is the new radio communications system for the police service in England, Wales and Scotland. Officers across the country using the network are able to communicate directly with each other,
13 Dec 2005 : Column 1929W
regardless of location. The other emergency services are currently updating their radio communication networks on a national basis and have agreed to join the Airwave service. When their new systems are fully operational their communications systems will interoperate seamlessly withthe police network. Existing interoperability arrangements on the old radios used by the services will be maintained until the new systems are fully operational. The proposed amalgamation of police forces will have no effect on these arrangements.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers are allocated to each London borough; and how many crimes were committed in each of those boroughs in 2004. 
Hazel Blears: The data for the number of police officers by basic command unit within the Metropolitan police area as at 31 March 2005 are provided in the following table. Data are also provided for the number of offences recorded within these basic command units for 200405.
|Basic command unit||Number of police officers(52)||Number of offences(53)|
|Barking and Dagenham||419.1||21,442|
|City of Westminster||1,617.1||79,338|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||526.1||27,139|
|Kensington and Chelsea||561.6||26,812|
|Kingston upon Thames||298.2||15,690|
|Richmond upon Thames||286.8||15,320|
|Police force area||Time recorded crime||Total police officer strength||Number of crimes per police officer|
|Avon and Somerset||161,210||3,398||47|
|Devon and Cornwall||133,282||3,399||39|
|London, City of||8,685||881||10|
|England and Wales||5,562,691||141,060||39|
Hazel Blears [holding answer 5 December 2005]: The Frontline Policing Measure for 200405 was published on 27 October and indicated that officers in England and Wales spent 64.1 per cent. of their time on frontline duties. Police authorities have set local improvement targets which should deliver the equivalent gain in time of more than 12,000 officers to front line tasks by 2008.
We have made good progress in reducing the bureaucratic burdens on police officers by cutting nearly 9,000 unnecessary forms; civilianising posts; rolling out the penalty notice for disorder scheme; and ensuring that forces have the best scientific and technological support like video identity parades and electronic fingerprinting so that officers spend more time in communities tackling crime and antisocial behaviour and reassuring the public.
13 Dec 2005 : Column 1931W
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of (a) Level 2 Capability and (b) forensic management in (i) Gloucestershire constabulary and (ii) other police forces in the South West region. 
Hazel Blears [holding answer 6 December 2005]: During the summer of this year Gloucestershire constabulary, like every other Home Office police force in England and Wales, were assessed in relation to their capability and capacity to provide seven 'protective' services. These services are:
The assessment was conducted by officers working for HMIC Denis O'Connor, who reported his findings to the Home Secretary in the report 'Closing the Gap'. While the report identified general issues arising from the assessment, more specific local feedback was given to each chief constable. The 'Closing the Gap' report is available on the Home Office website.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who would bear financial responsibility for the (a) private finance initiative (PFI) payments and (b) compensation payable to PFI contractors for the new headquarters of Gloucestershire constabulary at Quedgeley if it becomes redundant. 
Hazel Blears [holding answer 12 December 2005]: Financial responsibility for the payment to the contractor falls to the police authority. They receive PFI grant support from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), who makes the payment through the Revenue Support Grant. In the event that the new headquarters of Gloucestershire constabulary became redundant the financial responsibility for compensation would pass to the successor authority.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the amount of compensation which would have to be paid to private companies if the new headquarters of Gloucestershire constabulary at Quedgeley is no longer needed as a result of the police restructuring proposals. 
[holding answer 12 December 2005]: The amount of compensation which would have to be paid to private companies if the new headquarters of Gloucestershire constabulary is no longer needed would be agreed through negotiation at the time of the event. Procedures for this are set out in the Standardisation of PFI Contracts version three (SoPC3), which is published by the Treasury on their website.
13 Dec 2005 : Column 1932W
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the annual cost of maintaining and leasing the new headquarters of Gloucestershire Constabulary at Quedgeley will be under the private finance initiative; 
Hazel Blears [holding answers 12 December 2005]: The chief constable of Gloucestershire constabulary is responsible for the operational management of the force. I will ensure that he receives a copy of the questions and replies to you directly.
|As at 31 March:||Essex police||Southend BCU|
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the proposals for the amalgamation of police forces entail changes to the (a) number and (b) boundaries of basic command units. 
Hazel Blears: We anticipate that there will be minimal impact upon basic command units (BCD) as a result of restructuring. We will be in a better position to know what these are once final options for change have been agreed.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the proposed reorganisation of police forces in Wales is expected to cost; and who will pay for the costs of reorganisation. 
The consultation process for police force restructuring is currently under way and forces and authorities are working up their business cases proposing their options for change. I have requested authorities to submit their final preferred option including detailed cost/benefit analysis by 23 December 2005. Any proposals for change including from Welsh police forces and authorities, will be carefully assessed
13 Dec 2005 : Column 1933W
after 23 December 2005. I am determined that costs of restructuring will be minimised and benefits arising from mergers should be realised in future years.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the savings accrued from the restructuring of police forces in England and Wales will be retained by the new forces created by the restructuring; 
Hazel Blears: We will expect savings made as a result of police force reorganisation to be reinvested by the police service in order to strengthen protective services and support neighbourhood policing.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|