Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, columns 1036-37W, on party conference security, what the costs to public funds were of policing and general security for the (a) Labour and (b) Conservative party conferences in each year since 1992, broken down by spending at (i) national spring conferences, (ii) national autumn conferences and (iii) regional conferences. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 21 June 2006]: The table shows the cost to public funds, in the form of special grant paid to police authorities, for policing national spring conferences and national autumn conferences in England and Wales. Funding is not provided for regional conferences. For security reasons, we do not disclose the other costs incurred.
|Year of party conference
|Amount of Government special grant (£ million)
Mr. McNulty: PC Mullaney was suspended from duty when the CPS decided to prosecute him for two counts of common assault. He was found guilty on both counts, but successfully appealed against the convictions. PC Mullaneys suspension was consequently lifted, and the decision taken to offer him advice on the standards of conduct expected of him.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officer applications from (a) women and (b) black and minority ethnic candidates there were in each of the last five years in the UK. 
Mr. McNulty: The available information for police officer applications in England and Wales is set out as follows. It is based on responses from forces as these are not data that are collected centrally. Responsibility for recruitment of officers in Scotland and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Recruitment fluctuates according to natural wastage as well as specific funding available. The crime fighting fund has driven significant recruitment over recent years, including record levels in 2002-03 when joiners totalled 13,100. Since then, recruitment has slowed down and this is reflected in numbers of female and minority ethnic applicants as shown in the table.
|Number of applications to be a police officer (2001 to 2005)
|Minority ethnic applicants
|(1) Total is based on 41 forces providing data. (2) Total is based on 42 forces providing data. (3) Total is based on 40 forces providing data. (4) Total is based on 38 forces providing data. (5) Total is based on 39 forces providing data.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 1046W, on the police, what the total expected cost is of the consultants employed by his Department to advise on police force amalgamations. 
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assurances (a) Cumbria and (b) Lancashire police authorities have sought regarding the terms of their amalgamation; what progress his Department has made in providing these assurances; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Ministers and officials in the Home Office have had regular discussions with representatives of Lancashire and Cumbria police authorities covering a wide range of issues. We are working closely with them to resolve all outstanding issues.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions his Department has had with other departments regarding the use of amalgamation orders to harmonise the police precept for council taxpayers where police authorities are amalgamated; and whether his Department plans to use primary legislation to harmonise the police precept for council taxpayers. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2006, Official Report, column 40W, on helicopter searches, at what time the police helicopter at RAF Benson was (a) placed on and (b) taken off standby. 
Mr. McNulty: The answer on 2 June 2006 referred to helicopter searches from RAF Benson on 18 July 2003. The police helicopter based at RAF Benson was available for tasking from 5.35 pm on 17 July 2003 until the end of its duty period at 2.30 am on 18 July 2003. It was available for tasking again from 8.00 am on 18 July 2003 until 2.30 am on 19 July 2003.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the change in the number of civilian posts which would result if a merger of Cheshire and Merseyside police forces was carried out. 
It has been estimated that a merger of Cheshire and Merseyside police forces would lead to savings of 5 per cent. of the civilian staff payroll. The precise posts involved, or their number, have not been identified.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures his Department will be taking to ensure that local decision-making is preserved under the planned merging of police forces in England and Wales. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 5 July 2006]: The police basic command unit (BCD) will shortly be put on a legal footing under the provision of the Police and Justice Bill. Local accountability will remain, as operational policing in local areas will continue to be conducted by the BCD under the supervision of the commander. The creation of strategic forces would improve policing by reducing the abstraction of police officers away from neighbourhood policing to deal with serious and organised crime.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of police retirements were ill health retirements in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Of the officers who retired with either an ordinary pension or an ill-health pension in 2004-05 10.5 per cent. retired with an ill-health pension, based on available data from 42 out of 43 forces. Since the number of retirements is liable to change from year to year, the rate of ill-health retirement is now measured against the number of officers in service, this being a more stable measure. For 2004-05 the rate of ill-health retirement was three per 1,000 serving officers. These figures are published in HM Chief Inspector of Constabularys annual report for 2004-05 (page 25) which can be found at: http://www.official-documents.co.uk/document/hc0506/hc08/0842/0842.pdf. This represents a significant improvement in performance, the rate having been 14 per 1000 in 1997-98.
All prisons must ensure that arrangements are in place to provide for the safety and well-being of newly arrived prisoners, particularly during their first night in custody, and to inform them of what to expect over the next 24 hours. The details of these arrangements are a matter for local prison management, and will vary according to the nature of
the establishment and its population, and the needs of individual prisoners. No central assessment has been made of the consistency of first night programmes.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the weighted scorecard of London prisons maintained by HM Prison Service; and what position is occupied by each prison establishment in it. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The weighted scorecard is an internal performance information management tool, provided to all establishments to help drive performance improvement. The current weighted scorecard has been produced for quarter four of financial year 2005-06, using provisional data. The following table provides the current position of the London establishments.
|Quarter four position in weighted scorecard
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the transfer of inmates from (a) a category A prison to a category B prison, (b) a category B prison to a category C prison and (c) a category C prison to a category D prison; what changes there have been in that policy since 1 May 1997; on what dates the policy was changed; and how the policy change was made public. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The purpose of the recategorisation of prisoners is to determine whether, and to what extent, the risks a prisoner presented at their last review have changed and to ensure that the prisoner continues to be held in the most appropriately secure conditions. There have been no significant policy changes since 1997.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average weekly cost of detaining an (a) male and (b) a female person in prison (i) on remand waiting trial and (ii) after sentence was (A) in the last period for which figures are available and (B) in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: HM Prison Service does not collect cost data in the format requested. Costs are collected at each individual establishment and across the prison estate and this does not distinguish between sentenced and remand prisoners.