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9 Jan 2006 : Column 387W—continued

Sexual Assault Referral Centres

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) will be increased; and if he will establish a SARC in Devon. [38551]

Hazel Blears: There are currently 13 Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) in England and Wales. Additionally, three new SARCs, in Calderdale, Kirklees and Cleveland will be opening in the new year with the support of funding from the Home Office Victims'
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Fund. We have also made offers of a further three grants, which if accepted, will result in another three SARCs in the next year.

The decision to establish a SARC in a particular area must be made locally as they are funded primarily by partnerships between the local police, health services and the voluntary sector. National Service Guidelines on Developing SARCs, published jointly by the Home Office and Department of Health in 2005 strongly recommend the development of SARCs across England and Wales.

Steven Shingler

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will examine the case of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury's constituent, Mr. Steven Shingler, with a view to allowing Mr. Shingler's Russian wife to join him in the UK. [34582]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

I regret that I cannot provide this information as it is not our practice to disclose details of individual entry clearance cases in a public forum. However, my noble Friend, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, will write to the hon. Member in his capacity of Minister with responsibility for UK Visas about the case shortly.

Stun Guns

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of violence involving the use of stun guns there were in (a) England and Wales and (b) the South West in each year since 1997. [36668]

Hazel Blears: Statistics for crimes involving stun guns have only been collected separately since April 2004. Full data for 2004–05 is not yet available but will be published in 'Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004–05', in January 2006.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in (a) Southend, (b) Essex, (c) Hertfordshire, (d) Greater London and (e) England and Wales he has authorised to have stun guns. [37539]

Hazel Blears: Stun guns are prohibited weapons and can only be possessed with the authority of the Secretary of State under section five of the Firearms Act 1968. Only one authority to possess a stun gun has been issued in England and Wales.

In addition, two authorities have been issued for lasers in England and Wales for supply to the police only. The Taser is deployed in 34 police forces in England and Wales, including the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, Essex Police and the Hertfordshire Constabulary. The Taser is limited to use by Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs), and in situations where a firearms authority has been given.

It is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police to determine the number of authorised firearms officers in their force. During 2004–05, the
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Metropolitan Police Service had 2,134 Authorised Firearms Officers, City of London 89, Essex 202, and Hertfordshire 53.

Tackling Drugs, Changing Lives

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of the tackling drugs, changing lives conference held between 30 November and 1 December. [38221]

Paul Goggins: The tackling drugs changing lives national conference, which was held over two days, was free to delegates, over a 1,000 of whom attended. The event represented a major milestone in the tackling drugs changing lives campaign, which is a ministerial-led programme supporting direct engagement with key stakeholders and partners responsible for delivering the drug strategy across the country.

The cost to the Home Office of this key event was £311,850.89, a cost per delegate of £304.54.

Terrorism Bill

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the occasions (a) before and (b) after 26 October on which (i) he and (ii) his representatives contacted Kent Police about the Terrorism Bill; and what form that contact took. [37594]

Hazel Blears: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to a question from the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Wallace) on 17 November 2005, Official Report, column 1436W. Beyond the contact with Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) referred to in that answer, there has been no contact with Kent police about the Terrorism Bill.

UK Jurisdiction

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether passengers on aircraft which land for a period, but who do not disembark at UK airports, fall within UK jurisdiction for the period they are on UK soil. [35099]

Mr. McNulty: Passengers who remain on board a plane that lands on UK soil, for example to refuel, are regarded as airside transit passengers. Other than the requirement for certain nationalities to hold a direct airside transit visa, passengers are not normally subject to any immigration control until they seek leave to enter the UK.

An immigration officer may examine anyone who has arrived in the UK, including transit passengers not seeking leave to enter the UK.

In England and Wales, a constable may arrest a person without a warrant under section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. Section 17 provides a constable with the power to enter and search any premises for the purpose of arresting a person for an arrestable offence. An aircraft falls within the definition of premises.

Similar provisions exist in Northern Ireland under Article 26 and Article 18 of the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.
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In Scotland, a constable may detain a person without a warrant under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 where he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person has committed or is committing an offence punishable by imprisonment. Section 14 does not contain any power to enter and search premises prior to detention without a warrant. If the police are satisfied that there is evidence that a person or persons have committed a crime, they can arrest them without warrant at common law where that is necessary in the interests of justice.

Unsolved Murders

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2005, Official Report, column 1784W, on unsolved murders, if he will make a statement on the increase in unsolved murders since 2000–01. [37817]

Hazel Blears: The data previously provided referred to the position as at 22 October 2004, when the data collection had been closed in preparation for the annual publication 'Crime in England and Wales 2003–04: Supplementary Volume: Homicide and Gun Crime'. Subsequent court hearings or other information received will change both the number of deaths recorded as homicides, and the number of these that are unsolved, at a particular time. The number of unsolved homicides each year since 2000–01 should not, therefore, be considered definitive as they are likely to decrease as time elapses.

US Bases (Police Authority)

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what authority UK police forces have in United States military bases situated in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [36910]

Hazel Blears: Police in England and Wales have the authority to exercise their constabulary powers anywhere within the borders of England and Wales. This applies to police in Scotland and Northern Ireland and their respective borders.

Under Article VII of the Agreement regarding the Status of Forces of the parties to the North Atlantic Treaty (SOFA), United States Forces stationed in the United Kingdom have the right to police the premises which they occupy and may take all appropriate measures to ensure the maintenance of order and security on such premises. Where there are no United States policing and security forces present or a significant threat exists from demonstrator activity, the United States Forces have agreed that the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) can undertake the policing task on their behalf.

The MDP is a statutory British Police Force with constabulary powers as defined in the MDP Act 1987, as amended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. Although the MDP can exercise these constabulary powers, incidents solely involving United States Forces personnel and associated civilians will normally be handled by the United States authorities in accordance with SOFA.
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