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19 Dec 2005 : Column 2358W—continued

HM Prison Brixton

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the cost was over the last 12 months of additional (a) overtime and (b) staff needed to replace officers suspended at HM Prison Brixton; [29253]
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(2) how many prison officers are suspended on full pay (a) in the prison service and (b) at HM Prison Brixton; [29254]

(3) what the cost was over the past 12 months of salaries paid to officers at HM Prison Brixton who had been suspended; [29255]

(4) what the cost of salaries paid to prison officers suspended on full pay in the prison service was in the last 12 months. [29256]

Fiona Mactaggart: Staff are required to work additional hours to ensure that a deliverable regime is maintained and major services to prisoners are not affected by any staff shortages. Staff are repaid for working these additional hours by time off in lieu. No overtime has been paid for the specific reason of replacing suspended staff.

Information on the number of prison officers suspended across the service is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. It is therefore not possible to provide the total cost to the service of salaries paid to prison officers, suspended on full pay, over the past 12 months. Currently five officers are suspended on full pay from Brixton prison. In the period 1 November 2004 to date, nine officers have been suspended on full pay from duty at Brixton. The total cost of the salaries paid to these officers in that period is £168,000.

Leave to Remain

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 24 November 2005, Official Report, column 2317W, on leave to remain, what percentage of postal applications was processed in (a) 20 and (b) 70 working days in the last year for which figures are available. [35821]

Mr. McNulty: Applications under the provisions of the European Community Association Agreements (ECAA) fall into the category of non-charged casework. The published service standards for this category are 25 per cent. of postal applications to be processed in 20 working days and 30 per cent. in 70 working days.

The average time taken from the date of receipt until the date of decision for European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) applications during the period 1 August to 31 October 2005 was 331 days. This information is provisional management information.

National Lottery

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many businesses were prosecuted for selling lottery tickets and scratch cards to under 16s in Tamworth constituency in the last five years. [35672]

Fiona Mactaggart: Information taken from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform shows that between 2000 and 2004, there were no prosecutions of businesses at the magistrates courts in the Staffordshire police force area under S13a National Lottery etc. Act 1993. It is not possible to identify those prosecutions in the Tamworth constituency, as the data is not collected at this level of detail.
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Court statistics for 2005 will be available autumn 2006.

The lottery operator is required to ensure sufficient controls are in place to prevent sales to under 16s. Examples include test purchasing programmes and retailer training and education. It will also remove the lottery terminal if a retailer is found to have made repeat sales to people under 16.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's target is for the time taken to answer written parliamentary questions. [36397]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Department's target for responses to ordinary written questions is five sitting days.

Ministers give serious attention and make every effort to answer questions substantively and in accordance with the performance guidelines set.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The Report for 2004 was published on 6 April 2005, Official Report, columns 137–140WS. Reports for earlier years are available in the Library of the House.

Passport Applications

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) new and (b) renewed UK passport applications were processed at the Belfast passport office in (i) 2003 and (ii) 2004. [36484]

Andy Burnham: The number of new passport applications and passport renewal applications processed by the United Kingdom Passport Service at the Belfast office are as follows:

Police Numbers

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the ratio of police officers to inhabitants in (a) each London borough and (b) each county has been in each year since 1997. [27128]

Hazel Blears: The deployment of officers to the London Borough Operational Command Units is an operational matter for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Sir Ian Blair). Information on the number of officers to population for each London borough is only available from March 2003 and is set out in the table.

Information on the number of police officers to 100,000 population for each police force area in England and Wales can be found in Home Office
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statistical bulletins on police service strength for each year from March 1998. Copies of these are in the House of Commons Library.
Metropolitan Police—London Borough police officer numbers to population

London Borough OperationalNumber of officers to 100,000 population
Command UnitMarch 2003March 2004March 2005
Barking and Dagenham219229253
City of Westminster862859728
Hammersmith and Fulham310298302
Kensington and Chelsea332348322
Tower Hamlets349368368
Waltham Forest222239246

Prison Population

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the future prison population; and what plans he has to meet these projections. [34164]

Fiona Mactaggart: The most recent prison population projections are in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/05 Updated and Revised Prison Population Projections, 2005–2011, England and Wales"—July 2005. Figures for 10 scenarios can be found in this document. The scenarios range from 'High' to 'Low'. Projected total prison population figures (end of June) for 'High' and 'Low' scenarios for the relevant financial years are presented in the following table.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) keeps under review the demand on prison places and the capacity of prisons to accommodate those prisoners sent to them by the courts. The operational capacity of the prison estate is being increased by bringing accommodation back into use and through additional places being built at existing prisons.
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Projected prison population(11)


(11)End of June figures.

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