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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are to be put in place to ensure that there is a lead organisation in every locality to deal with the most challenging families; and if he will make a statement. 
Hazel Blears: The Respect Action Plan sets out the Government's plans for tackling the most challenging families. Initially the lead will be achieved by a dedicated Family Support Project which will be created in areas where they are needed. These projects assign a key worker to each family who coordinates the range of services and agencies that are involved with the household. Over time the effective approaches from these projects need to be mainstreamed and a local body (such as the crime and disorder reduction partnership) made clearly accountable for leading the local response to the most challenging households.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the likely cost of the proposed police force restructuring (a) in England and Wales and (b) in Gloucestershire. 
The business cases submitted by forces and authorities include information on financing and costs. The Home Office has provided considerable advice and guidance, including involving the independent
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Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to ensure that this financial information is provided on a consistent and equal basis.
Hazel Blears: I have decided to set aside £50 million of police capital funding for 200607 and up to a maximum of £75 million of police capital funding for 200708 to support authorities and forces committing to early i.e. voluntary mergers and will consider applying this to authorities and forces which I decide can deliver acceptable levels of protective services if they remain stand-alone, since they too will need to reconfigure their organisations to achieve this.
Hazel Blears: The business cases submitted by forces and authorities include information on financing and costs. The Home Office has provided considerable advice and guidance, including involving the independent Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to ensure that this financial information is provided on a consistent and equal basis.
There are a variety of estimates of the financial payback period identified in business cases, which are being progressively refined, and this quality assurance will form a central part of the analysis produced by the Home Office.
It is an operational matter for the chief constable of each area to decide how he or she wishes to deploy the available resources to best serve their communities. However, in doing so, chief constables must take account of nationally set targets on reduction of crime and service delivery.
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We are introducing national standards setting out the quality of service which members of the public can expect whenever they have contact with the police. Public satisfaction with the police has now become a part of how police performance is measured.
We will give individuals and communities a voice in determining local policing priorities, engage communities in finding solutions to problems, and, where people are dissatisfied with the response to persistent problems, they will be able to secure a response from councils and the police. We want people to know who their local police officers are, and how to contact them. I have also pointed to the fact that every area will have a dedicated neighbourhood policing team by 2008.
It is also the case that some resources are allocated directly to the local level, for example the BCU Fund, worth £50 million in 200506. This is aimed at BCU Commanders and is intended to help the police play a full and active role in the delivery of crime and disorder reduction partnership strategies. BCU Commanders may spend the money on a wide range of crime and disorder interventions, including target hardening activity focusing on repeat victims, tackling antisocial behaviour through interventions such as pub watch schemes, youth inclusion work including support programmes for young people and CCTV. The interventions might also include anti-drugs work.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the conclusions of the Walsh Group evaluation in November 2003 in relation to the drug testing equipment supplied to the police by Cozart Bioscience Ltd. 
Paul Goggins: The Department received the research report An Evaluation of Oral Fluid Point of Collection Testing Devices" by the Walsh Group (November 2003) which assessed the accuracy of drug testing equipment supplied by a range of manufacturers, including that supplied by Cozart Bioscience Ltd. to the police under contract from the Department. This report initially indicated that the Cozart equipment was not accurate.
However, the authors of this report published an erratum in the July/August 2004 edition of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology where they stated errors in the reporting of opiates and cocaine results arising from the Cozart technology. Separate studies undertaken by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in the USA indicate that the Cozart technology is accurate.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were (a) accused of, (b) arrested for and (c) charged with corruption-related offences in each year since 2000. 
The level of detail in the information you require is not held centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. However, more generalised information on police complaints and discipline can be found in Home Office Statistical Bulletins on the Home Office website (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/hosb1704.pdf)
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Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate his Department has made of the costs of the initial study into police force mergers undertaken by the Police Information Technology Organisation; 
(2) what estimate his Department has made of the costs of implementing new IT systems arising from the options under consideration for the merger of police forces (a) within the East of England region and (b) in each of the other regions. 
Hazel Blears: A study initiated and sponsored by the Police Information Technology Organisation commenced in November 2005 to examine the impact on IT of potential mergers within the eastern region. The original estimate for the cost of the study was £110,000 and funding has been capped at £120,000. The study is due to be completed at the end of January with the findings expected to be reviewed, approved and published in February 2006.
As part of the work flowing from the recent report on police structures Closing the Gap" which was published by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Home Office is examining the matter of cost of implementation of force restructuring on police IT and the eastern region study will assist in that evaluation.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will amend the guidance given to police officers in relation to the shooting of animals being kept in captivity under licence which have escaped, so that such an animal is only shot when it is an immediate danger to the public. 
Hazel Blears: This is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police. If police officers encounter any animal which could be considered dangerous to the public, they will deal with it in an appropriate manner and in accordance with the Association of Chief Police Officers Manual of Guidance on the Police Use of Firearms.
The manual states that the humane destruction of an animal is a duty which may fall to the police service if the animal represents a danger to lives or property, or if it is in such a condition that it must be killed to avoid unnecessary suffering and no veterinary surgeon or licensed slaughterer is available to perform the task or they are otherwise unable to do so.
Information on the number of police officers in each of the Operational Command Units for each London borough in the Metropolitan Police district was not collected before March 2002. Data on police numbers in the Metropolitan Police Service's Operational Command Units for 2002 to 2005 was set out in my reply of 2 November 2005, Official Report, column 111720W, to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green .
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