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28 Mar 2006 : Column 902W—continued

Nuclear Submarines

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the award of the contract to refit the nuclear submarine HMS Torbay to Babcock Naval Services in Scotland represents a change in policy in relation to the refit of nuclear submarines; and if he will make a statement. [61607]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 27 March 2006]: HMS Torbay is due to commence a routine pre-planned Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) in early 2007. Although such work is normally undertaken at a submarine's home port, which in Torbay's case is Devonport, the decision to move her RAMP to Faslane was made because of the heavy programme of work at Devonport and a relatively light loading at Faslane during the same time period. This is consistent with the Department's drive to improve submarine availability, reduce costs and improve co-operation between key suppliers.

Nuclear submarine refit and refuelling work will continue to be carried out at Devonport Dockyard, which has the only facilities in the UK capable of undertaking such work.
 
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Royal Medical Corps

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average time gap has been between operational deployments in each of the last three years for those in the (a) Regular and (b) Territorial Royal Medical Corps. [61032]

Mr. Touhig: The information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Seaford Drill Hall

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make progress in identifying a future use for the drill hall in Seaford. [61241]

Mr. Touhig [holding answer 27 March 2006]: Defence Estates, an agency within the Ministry of Defence, is working closely with the South Eastern Reserve Forces and Cadets Association in identifying a future use for the Drill Hall at Seaford.

Although some progress has been made, no decisions have yet been made.

Special Investigations Branch

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the staffing levels of the special investigations branch of the Royal Military Police. [61013]

Mr. Touhig: The three services all have a special investigation branch capability.
 
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In the Army, the Royal Military Police have 235 investigators in the special investigation branch, while the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have 35 and ten investigators respectively employed on special investigation branch duties.

Territorial Army

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the position of Project One Army Recruiting for the Territorial Army. [61034]

Mr. Touhig: Project One Army Recruiting is a major change programme to improve recruiting into the Regular and Territorial Army (TA), by integrating the recruiting operations of the two organisations. Implementation will begin on 1 April 2006 when Regional Brigade Commanders, who already have responsibility for the TA in their area, will become responsible for the combined recruiting operation. Full implementation is planned for 2011.

Unidentified Flying Objects

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department's unidentified flying objects project is extant; and if he will make a statement. [60875]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence has never operated an UFO Project. UFO sightings reported to the MOD are examined solely within the context of controlling the integrity of the UK's airspace. The MOD does not attempt to identify the precise nature of each sighting, unless there is evidence of a risk to this integrity. Examination of UFO sighting reports is a task performed by desk officers within the directorate of air staff.
 
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HOME DEPARTMENT

Antisocial Behaviour

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many incidents of antisocial behaviour have been reported to South Wales Police H Division since January; and if he will make a statement; [60807]

(2) what progress is being made in reducing incidents of antisocial behaviour in England and Wales. [60808]

Hazel Blears: The data is not available in the form requested. Antisocial behaviour is not measured by incidents but through a measure of perceptions using the British Crime Survey (BCS). The latest figures available at police force area level are for 2004–05. The design of the BCS means that data for individual months is not available. The measure of antisocial behaviour used is based on a scale constructed from seven questions on problems due to noisy neighbours or loud parties, teenagers and young people hanging around, rubbish and litter, vandalism, people using or dealing drugs, people being drunk or rowdy and abandoned cars. In the 2004–05 BCS 14 per cent. of people in South Wales perceived there to be high levels of antisocial behaviour in their local area, compared with 17 per cent. of people nationally. Between 2003–04 and 2004–05 there was no change in the proportion of people perceiving high levels of antisocial behaviour in South Wales.

Community Support Officers

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many community support officers have been introduced in Lancashire since the scheme began. [60795]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 22 March 2006]: As at 31 March 2003, Lancashire had 77 PCSOs. 110 PCSOs were introduced by 31 March 2004, this increased by 51 giving a total of 161 PCSOs as at 31 March 2005. This figure decreased by two, to 159 as at 30 September 2005.

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many community support officers have been introduced in the county of Durham since the scheme commenced. [61136]

Hazel Blears: As at 31 March 2003, Durham had 10 PCSOs. 28 PCSOs were introduced by 31 March 2004, this increased by 41 giving a total of 69 PCSOs as at 31 March 2005. This figure increased by three, to 72 as at 30 September 2005.

Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter dated 16 January from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Ms Shantall Richardson. [59970]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I wrote to my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton on 22 March 2006.
 
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Criminal Records Checks

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken by each police force was to respond to inquiries from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) as part of routine CRB checks in the last year for which figures are available. [60778]

Andy Burnham: The following table illustrates the average time taken by each of the police forces in England and Wales to conduct checks against their local intelligence systems between 1 March 2005 and 28 February 2006. The existing SLA target is 90 per cent. within 14 days.
ForceAverage
Metropolitan40.92
West Midlands31.75
Hampshire27.34
Merseyside22.03
Gwent21.03
Greater Manchester8.71
South Wales15.93
Staffordshire15.61
Cambridgeshire15.30
Derbyshire14.96
Norfolk14.71
Humberside14.50
Wiltshire12.79
Cumbria11.91
Leicestershire11.79
Kent11.30
Cleveland11.06
Hertfordshire10.97
Suffolk10.59
South Yorkshire10.50
Surrey10.08
Nottinghamshire9.77
North Wales8.95
Avon and Somerset8.89
Cheshire8.84
Devon and Cornwall8.13
Thames Valley7.78
West Yorkshire7.32
Northumbria7.06
Essex5.89
Durham5.68
Lancashire5.57
Gloucestershire4.70
Northamptonshire3.83
Sussex3.62
West Mercia3.61
Warwickshire2.78
Dyfed Powys2.45
City of London2.44
North Yorkshire1.97
Lincolnshire1.73
Dorset1.34
Bedfordshire1.17

The performance of the Metropolitan Police Service (MRS), West Midlands, Hampshire, Merseyside and Gwent has impacted on the CRB's overall service standard for Enhanced Disclosures. Although the performance of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), South Wales, Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire has been below the SLA target the impact of their failure has been lessened by faster handover of cases to forces by the CRB during this period.
 
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From April 2006 a revised service level agreement (SLA) will come into effect between the CRB and the 43 police forces of England and Wales. This new agreement, which has been agreed by the association of Chief of Police Officers (ACPO) will place additional focus on delivery and the responsibility of Chief Officers and ACPO to ensure that the obligations within the SLA are met.

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by how much the cost of a Criminal Records Bureau check is expected to change over the next five years. [60817]

Andy Burnham: CRB sought a £2 increase in Disclosure fees in 2006 to fund various initiatives while achieving self funding status. While the range of external dependencies associated with the initiatives makes it difficult to predict the scale and timing of their impact on fees over the next five years, the CRB expects any increases to be at or below inflation with, potentially, fee reductions in the later years.


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