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11 Jan 2006 : Column 683W—continued

Departmental Property

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual expenditure on (a) fixtures and fittings, (b) general office expenses and (c) office equipment was of (i) his Department and (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body, (B) Executive agency and (C) other public body for which his Department is responsible in each English region in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005–06 in each case. [40075]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not held centrally and could be prepared only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Staff

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to relocate staff in his Department and related agencies into London and the South East. [31743]

Mr. Charles Clarke: There are no plans to relocate staff into London and the South East.
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Economic Crime Units

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the economic crime unit of the Metropolitan police and the city of London police are to merge; and what their relationship is with the Serious Organised Crime Agency. [37429]

Paul Goggins: The Attorney General commissioned a national review of fraud, reporting in spring 2006. Until the findings of the review are known, it would not be appropriate to comment on potential options for change. The Serious Organised Crime Agency will commence operations in April 2006 and until then work is in hand to develop effective relationships between the agency and all police forces nationwide.

Emergency Vehicles (Speeding)

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice is given to police forces regarding prosecution of drivers of emergency vehicles breaking the speed limit. [40278]

Paul Goggins: This is an operational matter for the police. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) wrote to all forces in summer 2004 with a protocol for dealing with emergency service vehicles detected by camera when being driven in excess of the speed limit. This provided that as a rule no further action would be taken where vehicles were clearly displaying their emergency blue lights. General guidance is also given in the revised version of their Code of Practice for Operational Use of Road Policing Enforcement Technology, issued in November 2004. The code is available on the ACPO website at

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer questions (a) 26311, (b) 26309 and (c) 26310 tabled by the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon on 3 November. [33014]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The answers to parliamentary questions number 26309, Official Report, column 39W and 26310, Official Report, columns 39–40W, were published on 28 November 2005. The answer to parliamentary question number 26311, Official Report, column 2225W, was published on 15 December 2005.

People Trafficking

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to provide funding for the POPPY project beyond March; and whether his Department is planning to expand support and rehabilitation provision for the victims of trafficking. [40655]

Paul Goggins: Home Office funding for the POPPY scheme since March 2003 stands at around £1.5 million. The grant funding agreement with Eaves Housing for Women, the current service provider, was due to end in September 2005 but was extended to the end of March this year to enable completion of work on the formal evaluation of the scheme and consideration of the
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evaluation findings, we propose to increase the geographical coverage of support services for victims and introduce support at varying levels of intensity according to individual need. We are currently running a competitive exercise to test the extent to which the current Home Office grant to Eaves Housing represents value for money, and to select a provider for support services to this group of victims from April 2006 until March 2008. Eaves Housing is amongst the organisations invited to submit a bid for Home Office funding for services for this group. The selection exercise commenced on 20 December and will conclude in mid-late February 2006 with the award of a two year grant funding agreement. Further information about the UK strategy on human trafficking, including plans for support for victims of trafficking are contained in the document Tackling Human Trafficking—Consultation on Proposals for the UK Action Plan". The consultation document can be found on the Home Office website at:

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made of the effect of the closure of the safe house for trafficked 16 and 17 year-olds which was trialled in Sussex in April 2004; and what plans he has to provide support services to child victims of trafficking. [40656]

Paul Goggins: The provision of safe houses" for victims of trafficking is a long-standing concern of voluntary organisations and practitioners working in this field. A safe house for minors was set up by West Sussex social services in 1995 following a number of disappearances of West African girls in local authority care. Voluntary organisations welcomed the provision but unfortunately 50 percent. of the girls went missing, with fears that the safe house had been infiltrated by traffickers. West Sussex social services department took the decision to close the house and provide foster placements instead. A further safe house was set up by Integrated Care in West Sussex, but was closed shortly after it opened in early June 2005 following a lack of referrals by local authorities. It is recognised that child victims of trafficking will be in need of welfare services and protection under the provisions of Child Care Legislation.

Local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need or at risk of harm by providing a range and level of service appropriate to each child's needs. Government funding is allocated to local authorities with Children's Services responsibilities on the basis of the needs of their populations. A supplement is paid to children's services authorities which accommodate unaccompanied asylum seeking children, some of whom may have been victims of trafficking. Home Office officials are giving further consideration to ways in which the options available to safeguard and support child victims of trafficking might be extended. This includes re-examining the potential value of providing dedicated and secure accommodation and specialist professional foster care placements.
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Proceeds of Crime Act

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money seized as a result of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was invested in (a) Hillingdon and (b) Greater London in each year of its operation; and if he will make a statement. [39456]

Paul Goggins: Information is not available in the form requested. Receipts from recovered criminal assets are allocated to a range of initiatives. The Recovered Assets Incentive Fund was set up in 2003–04 to incentivise asset recovery by asset recovery agencies. £15.5 million a year for three years was allocated to the Fund. From the Fund, four new multi-agency Regional Asset Recovery Teas (RARTs) were set up to disrupt criminal groups, confiscate more criminal assets and to tackle money laundering. The London Regional Asset Recovery Team was allocated £4.3 million over three years

£7 million a year for three years have been made available separately for investment in community based projects in England and Wales.

In addition a new police incentivisation scheme introduced in 2004–05 has enabled police forces in England and Wales, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to receive a share of the criminal assets they recover locally. Under the scheme the Metropolitan Police Service received over £4 million this financial year based on its performance in 2004–05.

From 2006–07 a new incentive scheme will operate under which all agencies involved in asset recovery will get back 50 per cent. of the assets they recover.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to increase the share of income from the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 that is allocated to the police force that recovered it; and if he will make a statement. [40827]

Paul Goggins: As agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), under the police incentivisation scheme the police service receive one-third of the total assets recovered over and above £40 million in 2004–05, increasing to one half in 2005–06. The Government are spending more than the first £40 million to support existing spending commitments in the asset recovery field. It was also agreed with ACPO that incentive payments would be based on each force's annual performance in the recovery of criminal assets. There are no plans to change this agreement. However, the Home Secretary announced last November that Home Office funding of £2.6 million per year for financial investigators in police forces, which was due to end in March, would be extended for a further year. From 2006–07 a new incentive scheme will operate under which all agencies involved in asset recovery, including the police service, will get back 50 per cent. of what they recover. There are at present no plans to increase this share.

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