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1 Mar 2006 : Column 840W—continued

Suicide Bombers

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice he has given (a) police officers and (b) the general public on identifying potential suicide bombers; and if he will make a statement. [54272]

Hazel Blears: Operational policing guidance is a matter for the relevant chief constable. As for the general public, the message in awareness campaigns is to be alert to and report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the police or other relevant authority.

Supervision Orders

Mrs. Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals were the subject of supervision orders under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and previous legislation in each of the four designated tiers on the latest date for which figures are available. [52875]

Fiona Mactaggart: At the end of September 2005, there were some 134,200 people being supervised by the Probation Service under court orders. This includes those sentenced to orders under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and previous legislation.

Guidance about taking decisions was only issued in July 2005 and information on the numbers of orders falling within each supervision tier is not currently reliable.

Mrs. Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have been the subject of supervision orders under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and previous legislation in each of the four designated tiers; and what estimate he has made of how many additional trained probation officers will be needed to ensure that standards set are met over the next five years. [53443]

Fiona Mactaggart: At the end of September 2005 there were some 134,200 offenders being supervised by the Probation Service under court orders. This included those sentenced under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and those sentenced under the previous legislation. We do not as yet have reliable national figures for the number of offenders supervised at each of the four offender management tiers.

The number of probation staff expressed as full time equivalents increased from 13,968 in 1997 to 20,138 at the end of September 2005. This is a very significant increase. To meet the resource needs of the Probation Service under the new sentencing framework of the 2003 Act, most of the provisions of which were implemented in April 2005, Probation Officer numbers rose from
 
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6,376 in September 2004 to 6,529 by September 2005 and are projected to rise again to 7,244 by September 2007. By this time the new custodial sentence of Custody Plus will be in operation, completing implementation of the new sentences. Current Probation Officer projections go as far as September 2009 and a figure of 7,344 by that date. Numbers of the more junior practitioner grade of Probation Service Officer are also increasing significantly.

Tail Docking

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for illegal tail docking of dogs in each of the last five years. [52231]

Fiona Mactaggart: It is not possible to identify offences involving the docking of dogs' tails on the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Terrorists (Detention)

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the police forces which made individual recommendations to his Department on the extension of the maximum pre-charge detention period for suspected terrorists. [30337]

Hazel Blears: The content of the Terrorism Bill was discussed with the Metropolitan police, which has lead responsibility for terrorism matters, and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which speaks on behalf of all police forces in England and Wales.

Under-age Drinking

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will increase the penalty for shopkeepers who sell alcohol to young people who are underage. [48358]

Hazel Blears: The Licensing Act 2003 increased the maximum penalty for selling alcohol to persons aged under18 from a level three fine (maximum £1,000) to a level five fine (maximum £5,000) with effect from 24 November 2005.

This offence is also included in the penalty notice for disorder scheme which enables the police to issue fixed penalty notices for specified offences subject to a penalty of either £50 or £80. Sale of alcohol to underage persons was added to the scheme with effect from 1 November 2004 and made liable to the higher tier penalty of £80. The Respect Action Plan, launched on 10 January this year, announced that this level of penalty is to be raised to £100 later this year.

Violent Crime

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) murders, (b) manslaughters, (c) attempted murders, (d) rapes, (e) burglaries and (f) other acts of violence against the person there have been in each constituency in England and Wales since 2001 that have been solved using records of DNA samples taken from suspects who had previously been arrested but not convicted of an offence. [48440]


 
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Hazel Blears: Information on the number of serous crimes such as murder, manslaughter and rape that have been detected using DNA profiles taken from suspects who had previously been arrested, charged but not convicted of an offence is not collected by the Home Office as detections are achieved through integrated criminal investigation and not by forensic science alone. Information is available on the number of DNA profiles taken from suspects that have provided the police with an intelligence link that has been used to identify the possible offender and assist in criminal investigations.

Since the amendment to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in May 2001, which enabled the police to retain DNA samples taken from persons who have not been convicted of an offence, about 200,000 DNA samples have been retained that would previously have had to be destroyed. From these, approximately 8,493 profiles of individuals have been linked with crime scene stains, involving 13,964 offences. These offences include 114 murders, 55 attempted murders, 116 rapes, 68 sexual offences, 119 aggravated burglaries and 127 of the supply of controlled drugs.

This information is not available by parliamentary constituency; nor for other crime types such as burglaries and other acts of violence against the person.

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on violent crime in Greater Manchester; and what steps he has taken to address the problem. [52389]

Hazel Blears: The Government are currently taking forward a very full range of work which will continue to reduce violent crime.

Within Greater Manchester, Manchester, Bolton and Salford are involved in the Tackling Violent Crime Programme (TVCP) which works intensively with practitioners in a number of local areas, particularly tackling alcohol-related crime and domestic violence, with a view to identifying, developing, disseminating and embedding good practice.

As part of the TVCP and the associated Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign (AMEC) Manchester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at reducing alcohol related violent crime. High profile police patrols were conducted in hotspot areas such as the city centre to coincide with the changes in the licensing laws. Greater Manchester police are currently placing emphasis on early intervention of low level disorder, in particular through issuing fixed penalty notices, with a view to preventing disorder escalating. Multi-agency visits to licensed premises, test purchases and the nationally recognised Best Bar None scheme have also successfully been undertaken to reduce underage sales of alcohol, breaches of licence conditions and alcohol related violent crime.

The action plan developed to tackle problems with alcohol in Heywood in Rochdale over 100 days began on 2 February 2006 and is an example of the multi-agency partnership approach to tackling crime and disorder.
 
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Voluntary Sector Regulation

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Kettering from the Minister for the Cabinet Office, of 7 November 2005, Official Report, column 535W, when he will respond to the Better Regulation Task Force report on regulating the voluntary sector. [54229]

Paul Goggins: The Government welcomes the Better Regulation Task Force report Better Regulation for Civil Society", recognises its potential for bringing genuine benefits to voluntary and community organisations, and will respond shortly.


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