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9 Jan 2006 : Column 355W—continued

Police Training Centres

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department was consulted on the timing of the announcement by Centrex that they were to close the police training centres at Bruche, Ashford and Cwmbran; and whether any person in his Department expressed an opinion to Centrex on that timing (a) verbally and (b) in writing. [16894]


 
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Hazel Blears: The timing of the announcement of the closure of Bruche, Ashford and Cwmbran relates only to the timing of the scheduled Centrex board meeting on 21 July.

As these are Centrex sites, the decision to sell them after they cease to provide foundation training at the end of May 2006 is a decision for the Centrex board. It would not have been possible to make an announcement before the board had made a decision and, given that the closure has implications for individuals' jobs from May 2006, it would not have been right to delay the announcement until after parliamentary recess.

The Home Office has a representative on the Centrex board and a Home Office official was therefore present at the board meeting on 21 July. The timing of the announcement, and the manner in which it would be conveyed to Centrex employees first, and then publicly, was agreed at the board meeting. The Home Office representative at the board meeting was party to this decision and Ministers were made aware of the decision immediately after the meeting and before the announcement was made.

Burglary Prosecutions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many successful prosecutions there have been for burglary in each of the last seven years. [30477]

Hazel Blears: The available information from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database showing the number of Convictions for Burglary at all courts, England and Wales, 1998 to 2004, is provided in the following table. Recorded crime figures show that the number of burglaries has fallen by 32 per cent. from 1998–99 to 2004–05.
Number of found guilty of burglary, England and Wales 1998–2004(69)

Found guilty
199830,769
199929,261
200026,222
200124,802
200226,691
200325,726
200424,252


(69) These data are on the principal offence basis.
Source:
RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform




Car Number Plates

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) convictions and (b) prosecutions for theft of car number plates there were in England and Wales in each of the last five years. [37450]

Hazel Blears: Theft from a motor vehicle is an offence under Section one of the Theft Act 1968.

It is not possible from the data collected on the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform to identify those offences which relate solely to the theft of car number plates from other thefts from a vehicle, as the data is not collected at this level of detail.
 
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Citizenship Tests

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many centres carry out the British Citizenship Test; where they are located; what arrangements are made for the administration of the test; if he will list the contracts his Department has awarded to carry them out; and what system is used to monitor the quality of staff carrying out the test. [38126]

Mr. McNulty: 89 centres across the UK are currently offering the test, which is taken electronically, and 11 more will be added in January. Applicants can find their five nearest test centres by entering their postcode in the appropriate section of the Life in the UK Test website (www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk) or by telephoning the test helpline on 0800 0154 245. The helpline is available from 8 am until 10 pm every day, including bank holidays.

The contractor for the development and administration of the test is Ufi Ltd., which itself has entered into contracts with test centres. Test centre supervisors have received full training in the use of the test system and tests are carried out in accordance with the British Standards Institution code of practice for the use of IT in the delivery of assessments. Test centre and test supervisor performance is monitored and annual quality inspection visits will be undertaken to ensure that the required standard is maintained.

Combating Crime

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from small police forces on their ability to cope with terrorism, drugs and organised crime. [35188]

Hazel Blears: Following the publication of the Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary report Closing the Gap" the Home Secretary met with Chief Constables and Chairs of Police Authorities on 19 September and started a process for Forces and Authorities to identify how they would address the issues raised in the report including issues surrounding drugs, terrorism and organised crime. This proposal is on-going and only draft responses have been received to date. The Home Secretary will report to the house at an appropriate time.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what inquiries have been undertaken by the Home Office to determine the
 
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effectiveness of (a) small and (b) large police forces in (i) England and (ii) Wales in combating (A) drug crime, (B) terrorism and (C) organised crime. [35189]

Hazel Blears: During the course of 2005, in response to a request by the Home Secretary, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Denis O'Connor undertook an assessment of every police force in England and Wales in relation to their capability and capacity to deliver seven 'protective services'. These protective services are:

The results of this assessment are contained within the Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary's report 'Closing the Gap'. Essentially the assessment identified that while leadership and organisational experience were also influencing factors, generally the larger forces were more prepared and able to provide a more proactive 'predict and prevent' approach to these types of crimes and incidents, whereas smaller forces tended to react to incidents as they occur. In particular, those forces with more than 4,000 police officers or 6,000 total staff had greater opportunity to adopt a more proactive stance.

Community Support Officers

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many community support officers there are in each (a) county and (b) constituency in Wales; and what the proposed change in each number is for each of the next three years. [39298]

Hazel Blears: The table sets out the number of community support officers (CSO) for each police force in Wales and the number of CSOs in each basic command unit for each force on 30 June 2005. Information on CSO numbers is not available at parliamentary constituency level. Also included in the table are the proposed CSO allocations for each of the Welsh forces in 2006–07 and 2007–08 under the Neighbourhood Policing Fund. The allocation of CSOs to individual basic command units is a matter for the chief officer of police.
Community support officers (CSO) in Wales as at 30 June 2005

ForceNumber of CSOs at 30 June 2005Basic Command
Units (BCU)
Number of CSOs in BCU at 30 June 20052006–07 proposed CSO allocation2007–08 proposed CSO allocation
Dyfed-Powys26Carmarthenshire173695
Pembrokeshire9
Gwent83A Division2918146
B Division23
C Division31
North Wales63Western Area1847143
Eastern Area21
Central Area24
South Wales116Merthyr Tydfil8102292
Rhondda Cynon Taff26
Cardiff Central17
Vale of Glamorgan12
Bridgend16
Neath and Port Talbot15
Swansea22

 
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