|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the cost to public funds of the prosecution of Mr. Peter Bolton, former deputy clerk to the North Wales Police Authority. 
Hazel Blears: The Home Office is responsible for allocating funding to police authorities but it is for them to decide along with the chief constable how these funds are deployed. The activities of police authorities are subject to scrutiny by the Audit Commission.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints were received regarding the recruitment process for National Criminal Intelligence Service posts at the regional office in Belfast advertised in autumn 2003; and whether changes have been implemented as a result. 
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what disability recruitment guidelines were applied in the recruitment process for National Criminal Intelligence Service posts at the regional office in Belfast advertised in autumn 2003. 
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions use has been made of the powers available to him under section 58(3)(b) of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Since April 2002, 8583 volunteers have returned to their country of origin under the Immigration and Nationality Department's Assisted Voluntary Return schemes. All of these volunteers are received by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) officials in their country of origin. All of them are entitled to receive assistance with their onward domestic transportation. All of the volunteers have received assistance in regard to expenses incurred by or on behalf of a voluntary leaver, or a member of his family or household, on or shortly after arrival in his new place of residence.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what use has been made of the powers available to him under sections 58 and 59 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 in relation to persons returned to (a) Angola and (b) the Congo. 
Mr. McNulty: Under the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme, 78 asylum seekers or failed asylum seekers have returned to Angola, six to Congo (Brazzaville) and 20 to the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire).
The figures for 2002 and 2003 are based on applications for replacement passports, and may not accurately reflect all passports that were lost or stolen in those years. The figures for 2004 and 2005 have been collated from new arrangements, introduced from 8 December 2003, that more accurately record the numbers of passports reported to the UK Passport Service (UKPS) as lost or stolen. The figure for 2004 supersedes a figure released in a response to the hon. Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) on 18 October. Other" includes passports reported as damaged or destroyed.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 24 November 2005, Official Report, column 2319W, on passports, how many of those whose passport photographs were rejected were under five-years-old; and whether he plans to change the categories of rejection for the passport photographs of the under-fives. 
On 21 November 2005, the UK Passport Service (UKPS) simplified its photograph standards for children aged five and under. It remains important that the photograph shows a clear image that is a true likeness of the child, with all facial features clearly visible. However, photographs of children five years and under will be accepted if they show the child smiling or frowning, with their mouth open, their eyes looking away from the camera, and reflection or glare on their glasses. Babies under one year do not need to have their eyes open.
Work is in progress to communicate these simplified requirements to customers. On 22 November 2005 a notice was added to the UKPS website regarding passport photograph standards.
9 Jan 2006 : Column 379W
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the composition of newly established police authorities will be determined following the amalgamation of two or more police forces. 
Hazel Blears: In order to effectively discharge their functions, we envisage strategic police authorities having no more than some 23 members (as in the case of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA)).
To maintain democratic legitimacy, I would expect the majority of police authority members to be local councillors, as now. Councillor members will be selected by the constituent county and unitary councils in the police force area. As envisaged in the Policing White Paper'Building Communities, Beating Crime' we will seek to broaden the skills and experience of police authority members by removing the separate category of magistrate members.
We will work with the Association of Police Authorities (APA) to determine a more streamlined method of appointing independent members. We would expect all police authority members to bring appropriate skills and competencies to the role to enable them to effectively discharge their responsibilities.
We will also strengthen accountability at a local Basic Command Unit (BCU)/Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) level so that local communities can effectively hold newly developed forces into account. One promising way of achieving this is through the development of local policing boards. The policing boards would be responsible for setting local policing priorities in consultation with communities and holding the BCU commander to account for the delivery of the policing plan for that area.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is for his Department's view that there is a lack of co-operation between (a) Merseyside and Cheshire police forces and (b) the North Wales police force and the four police forces in Wales. 
The consultation process is well under way and once the process has been completed we will carefully assess all options submitted to us and a decision will be made on the preferred option in the new year. As we are in the consultation phase and forces and authorities have not yet worked up business cases outlining their preferred options, we cannot comment on how police forces and authorities are co-operating.
9 Jan 2006 : Column 380W
The Home Office in its guidance and subsequent correspondence on restructuring to forces/authorities has actively encouraged joint working, collaboration and data sharing on the restructuring programme.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has evaluated on the number of people who die as a consequence of police forces not attending an incident in time. 
Hazel Blears: Although the Home Office has not evaluated any research specifically on the number of people who die as a consequence of police forces not attending an incident in time, it has used findings from the Metropolitan police's research: Multi-agency domestic violence murder reviews to inform the development of multi-agency reviews for domestic violence homicide which are to be established as part of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many internal communication systems are used by the police forces in the South West; how he would unify them in the event of an amalgamation; and what the cost could be. 
Hazel Blears: As part of developing the options for change police forces and authorities are expected to submit worked up business cases including cost benefit analysis of IT systems. It is up to police forces and authorities to develop how systems will be unified and to calculate the associated costs. The unification will be further worked up in the implementation phase after final submissions from police authorities have been assessed.
Hazel Blears: The data requested is available from the 'Police Service Strength publication as at 31 March 2005'. This report was published on 25 July 2005 and is available in the Library of the House and on:
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many resignations there were from each police force in England and Wales for (a) medical and (b) other reasons in (i) 200203 and (ii) 200304. 
|31 March 2003||31 March 2004|
|Police force||Medical retirements||Voluntary resignations||Medical retirements||Voluntary resignations|
|Avon and Somerset||34||55||10||54|
|Devon and Cornwall||10||31||6||23|
|London, City of||7||19||8||7|
|Total 43 forces||840||1,969||418||2,187|
Hazel Blears: The Home Office has not issued specific guidance on the promotion of minority groups. However, the Breaking Through" Action Plan: Promoting Minority Ethnic Employment in the Police Service was launched by the Home Office in January 2004. In addition, we expect forces to monitor promotions in accordance with their equality employment monitoring duties.
In terms of specific guidance to forces on the recruitment of ethnic minorities, we have published a 'Toolkit' for running positive action familiarisation events in July 2005. I will place a copy of this in the Library.
The Home Affairs Select Committee recently looked at whether the law should be changed to allow for positive discrimination. They concluded that the best way forward would be for the police service to work harder within the limits of current legislation through promotion and outreach activities and for the Home Office to explore whether, without changing the law, we
9 Jan 2006 : Column 382W
could prioritise certain skills and knowledge relevant to policing needs which would have the effect of winning the confidence of communities and would also help to reduce crime and disorder.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average response time to an emergency call to the police was in (a) Ruislip-Northwood constituency and (b) the London borough of Hillingdon in each year since 1997. 
Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC) collects target times for answering 999 calls and the percentage answered within that time at force level only. This data is published in HMICs annual report at http://inspectorates. homeoffice.gov.uk/hmic/about-us/annual-reports.html
9 Jan 2006 : Column 383W
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether additional funding would be available from his Department to the Norfolk constabulary in the event of its merger with other forces. 
I announced details of the provisional police funding settlement for 200607 and 200708 on 5 December. As part of overall support for policing, I am proposing to take account of prospective force amalgamations when allocating capital grant over the coming two years.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants to the police force in each of the last five years had (a) an upper second or better degree, (b) a lower second or lower degree and (c) no A-level qualifications. 
|Educated to A-level Standard||2,039||35|
|Educated to GCSE Standard||1,697||29|
|No formal qualification||93||1.6|
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the Staffordshire police force concerning the proposed merger of police forces in the area. 
Hazel Blears: The Home Office has not received any such representations from forces or authorities for force amalgamations. The review announced by the Home Secretary in September is still under way. Final proposals from forces and authorities will be submitted by 23 December 2005. The Home Secretary's written ministerial statement on the 11 November 2005 sets out some emerging options across England and Wales. However, ultimately it will be a matter for the police authorities to determine which options are included in their final submissions.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is for his Department's view that police forces of fewer than 4,000 officers are (a) less qualified to deal with organised crime and (b) less efficient than large forces; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) Forces with fewer than 4,000 officers generally do not have the capacity and capability to deal with level two crime including organised crime. Smaller forces can not usually create dedicated major incident teams to deal with organised crime. This is evidenced in work done by both Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC) and independent experts.
(b) Creating strategic forces should ensure brigading of resources takes place, leading to savings and greater efficiency and effectiveness. Duplication of services such as fire arms team and dedicated murder investigation teams should be avoided. Larger forces should also be able to maintain their
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is for his Department's view that police forces of fewer than 6,000 employees are less efficient than those with higher manning levels. 
Hazel Blears: As part of Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC) report work was done by independent experts who demonstrated that size is a major factor in determining whether a force can not only perform satisfactorily in protective services but also insulate against underperformance.
HMIC's analysis concluded there is clear and evident statistical data to demonstrate this. A minimum figure of between 4,000 and 5,000 could reasonably be expected to meet demand across the range of activities. The 4,000 figure was chosen as a starting point for restructuring. In light of the above forces with fewer than 6,000 staff simply do not have the critical mass to provide the necessary level of protective services.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost of policing in Southend was in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how much of the cost was met from (a) council tax and (b) central Government. 
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time was for a disclosure application to be processed by the Metropolitan Police in the last year for which figures are available; and how many disclosure applications are waiting to be processed by the Metropolitan Police. 
Hazel Blears: The average time taken by the Metropolitan Police Service to process a Disclosure application for the year November 2004 to October 2005 was 33.57 days. By 28 November 2005 the number of applications waiting to be processed had dropped to 79,575 applications. The Metropolitan Police have made a number of changes to their IT systems recently which has led to significant and ongoing improvements in the time they are taking to deal with Disclosures referred to them by the Criminal Records Bureau.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|