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10 July 2006 : Column 1667W—continued

Mr. Coaker: Figures for the number of items handed in during the knife amnesty are being collected at police force level and will be released shortly. 17,715 items were handed in in England and Wales during the first week of the amnesty. We worked closely with ACPO to develop the arrangements for the amnesty, which was part of our wider strategy to tackle knife crime. We are also focusing on legislation, enforcement, education and prevention. We have brought forward provisions in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill that will raise the age at which someone can be sold a knife to 18; are introducing
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a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon; and giving head teachers powers to search pupils for knives. The Home Secretary announced on 19 June that he was giving very serious consideration to the suggestion that the maximum sentence for having a knife or blade in a public place should be increased from the current sentence of two years. Many police forces are undertaking tough enforcement operations, for example, the Metropolitan police’s Operation Blunt and the British Transport police’s Operation Shield, which uses search equipment to detect those carrying knives and other weapons on our transport network. We are also supporting educational initiatives that demonstrate to young people the dangers of carrying knives, and reinforce the message that carrying a knife can result in it being turned on you. Through our small grants programme, the connected fund, we are also supporting a wide range of local community projects which work with young people to provide mentoring, training, education and other support.

Labour Party Conference

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Greater Manchester police will be responsible for the interviewing of delegates, hotel staff and other associated workers in advance of the Labour party conference in Manchester. [84195]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 10 July 2006]: This is an operational matter for Greater Manchester police. I understand they are working with Labour party officials in the accreditation of delegates, hotel staff and other associated workers as part of their work to ensure the safety of those attending the event and the citizens of Manchester.

Legislation

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which private Members' Bills were drafted by his Department in each Session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. [77770]

Mr. McNulty: Members will consider a range of possible subjects before introducing their private Members' Bills.

Government draftsmen do draft some Bills in advance which are available as one of the options for Members to consider before they make their selection.

However, Members may make subsequent amendments or revisions to a Government drafted Bill, or use it as the basis for a private Members' Bill in the future.

The information requested is therefore not collected.

Miscarriages of Justice (Compensation)

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his written statement of 19 April 2006, Official Report, columns 14-17, on miscarriages of justice (compensation), how much will be saved by the reforms to (a) the statutory and (b) the discretionary compensation scheme for victims of miscarriages of justice. [82061]


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Mr. Sutcliffe: It is estimated that in a full year savings of approximately £3 million could result from the changes that had immediate effect on 19 April (the abolition of the discretionary scheme, the assessor taking greater account of applicants' other convictions or any contributory conduct, and the payment of legal costs at legal aid rates). Full-year savings will take some time to accrue because of the number of cases that were already in the system prior to 19 April. Legislation to cap the maximum amount payable to £500,000; to enable the assessor to make deductions from both the non-pecuniary and pecuniary awards; and to reduce awards to nil in exceptional cases could yield further savings of some £2 million per year. It should be noted that the changes to the compensation schemes were not driven by a desire to make savings, rather to ensure that compensation following a miscarriage of justice is more proportionate to the level of injustice, to achieve a better balance with the treatment of victims of crime, and to make the system simpler and fairer, ensuring that applications are settled much more quickly than in the past.

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many compensation claims for miscarriage of justice have been accepted under the discretionary scheme as a result of (a) serious default on the part of the police or another public authority, (b) complete exoneration, (c) judicial error and (d) other exceptional circumstances. [82334]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In the five-year period from 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2006, a total of 53 applications for compensation for miscarriages of justice were approved under the discretionary scheme. Of these, 40 were approved on the basis of serious default by a public authority, five on the basis of complete exoneration, four on the basis of judicial error, and four on the basis of other exceptional circumstances.

Offenders

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research the Department has undertaken on rehabilitation rates of offenders. [82761]

Mr. Sutcliffe: A number of interventions are made in custody and the community to support the rehabilitation of offenders. These include offending behaviour programmes, drug treatment, unpaid work and education and employment. There is robust evidence, originating mainly from north America, to support the effectiveness of offending behaviour programmes in reducing re-offending; the UK research is more limited and mixed. The evaluations to date of drug treatment programmes also suggest that these programmes can reduce re-offending. There is some evidence of employment schemes helping to secure employment for ex-prisoners and of basic skills training improving prisoners' skills. However, evidence on the extent to which improvements in these skills can lead to reductions in re-offending is still limited (Harper & Chitty, 2005). The current Home Office research programme includes further research on the effectiveness of a wide range of interventions aimed at reducing re-offending.


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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of offenders serving custodial sentences who re-offend within (a) one, (b) two and (c) three years of serving their sentence. [82762]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The most recent information on the re-offending of adults in England and Wales was published in December as “Adult re-offending: results from the 2002 cohort”. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 25/05”. The report is available on line at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/hosb2505.pdf and covers offenders starting community sentences or being discharged from prison in the first quarter of 2002. Table A5 provides information which can be used to calculate the number of offenders who re-offended within two years. Re-offending rates have not been calculated on a one and three-year basis for offenders released from prison.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidance he has issued to the probation service in the last 12 months on whether offenders on licence should be granted permission to travel abroad; [79597]

(2) what changes have been made in the last 12 months to regulations governing whether offenders under the supervision of the probation service may travel abroad; and if he will make a statement. [79599]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Probation circular 4/2006 sets out the revised policy in respect of determinate sentence prisoners who request permission to temporary travel abroad. A copy of the circular is available in the Library of the House. The circular requires the probation service to consider all applications to travel on their individual merits, and stipulates that such requests should not be granted if there are any concerns on grounds of risk. Permission should be granted only in the most exceptional circumstances and where the prisoner has demonstrated that the need to travel is so pressing that it must be given priority over the statutory aims of supervision.

Official Residences

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government have to sell or rent the empty official residence at Belgravia House; and what the estimated (a) capital and (b) rental value is. [83031]

Mr. Byrne: The future use of the residence is under consideration. The property was routinely re-valued on 1 April 2006 at £2.4 million. A full rental valuation has not been prepared.

Operation Pentameter

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many under 18-year-olds have been identified in recent raids by Operation Pentameter; and how many of these have been subsequently referred to the Poppy Project. [79231]


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Mr. Coaker [holding answer 21 June 2006]: Operation Pentameter rescued 12 minors aged between 14 and 17. None of these minors was referred to the Poppy Project as victims have to be over 18 to meet the criteria for the project. Three of the minors have been repatriated and the remaining nine are in the care of social services.

Opiate Products

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2006, Official Report, column 815W, on opiate products, what assessment he has made of whether the Republic of Ireland's interpretation of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotics of 1961 would permit the importation of oxycodone hydrochloride raw material from (a) the United States and (b) the European Union. [80574]

Mr. Coaker: None.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2006, Official Report, column 815W, on opiate products, what assessment he has made of the restrictiveness of the interpretation of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotics of 1961 within (a) the Republic of Ireland and (b) the UK. [80576]

Mr. Coaker: None in relation to the Republic of Ireland. For the UK the only assessment of the restriction of importation has been made in respect of codeine where importation has been restricted to 10 per cent. of the estimate of domestic consumption.

Parliamentary Papers

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to make copies of deposited papers available in (a) the Vote Office and (b) Printed Paper Office at the same time as copies are deposited in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [82358]

Mr. Byrne: Departments regularly deposit papers in the Libraries of the House for the reference of Members and Peers. It is for Departments to assess the level of interest in a deposited paper and in cases where there is likely to be wider interest to provide sufficient copies of the document to the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office accordingly.

Departments are always happy to provide copies of deposited papers to Member and Peers on request.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer questions (a) 62603, (b) 62604, (c) 62605 and (d) 62606, on the occupants of registered aircraft landing at airports in the UK, tabled on 27 March by the hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk. [76890]


10 July 2006 : Column 1672W

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 15 June 2006]: I replied to the hon. member on 5 July 2006, Official Report, column 1061W.

Parole

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for parole have been heard in each of the last five years; and how many of these applications were successful in each year. [79918]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The following table gives the total number of releases of determinate sentence prisoners on parole, broken down by fiscal year, for each of the last five years, as set out in the annual report and accounts of the Parole Board for England and Wales 2004-05.

Cases considered Number granted( 1) As percentage of cases considered( 1)

2000-01

5,576

2,584

46.3

2001-02

5,514

2,791

50.6

2002-03

6,012

3,175

52.8

2003-04

6,038

3,206

53.1

2004-05

7,297

3,794

52

(1) Excludes cases where the Parole Board’s recommendation of parole was not accepted by the Home Secretary (as the Home Secretary is the arbiter of parole applications in respect of determinate sentence prisoners serving a sentence of 15 years or more) and those where the decision to allow parole was suspended before release

Police

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average response time is of police to emergency call-outs in (a) England and Wales and (b) Taunton constituency. [64064]

Mr. McNulty: Data on the time taken to respond to emergency call-outs is not collected centrally.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost of creating a West Midlands regional police force. [69977]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 10 May 2006]: The gross costs of merger are currently calculated at £57 million. There would be net set-up costs, after projected savings, in the first two years of restructuring. During the first five years of operation of the new force a net saving of £72 million is projected. The Government are committed to paying 100 per cent. of reasonable set-up revenue and capital costs of restructuring, net of reasonable savings.

Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding will be made available to support the merger of police forces in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [70884]

Mr. McNulty: The estimated set-up cost of a strategic police force for Wales is £35 million. We are committed to paying 100 per cent. of reasonable set-up revenue and capital costs, net of reasonable savings. The precise projected level of these costs and savings is a matter for negotiations currently taking place.

Long-term savings made possible by the merger are currently estimated at around £16 million a year.


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Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why (a) levels and (b) the impact of tourism was taken out of the police funding formula; and if he will make a statement. [71703]

Mr. McNulty: Following the review, a new funding formula for allocating police general grant was introduced in 2006-07.

During the review, we concluded that the tourism indicator used in the previous formula was out of date. Alternative and more up-to-date indicators of tourism were considered, but we were not satisfied that these were reliable and therefore did not include them in the new formula.

Representatives from ACPO and the APA and the wider policing community were involved in the review.
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A full consultation on options for change took place last summer. All representations were fully taken into account.

Dorset benefited overall from the revised formula changes and their position was further protected by application of a virtually flat rate grant increase for all police authorities for 2006-07.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the net expenditure was on police per head of the population in (a) Devon, (b) Cornwall and (c) England in each year since 1999. [72794]

Mr. McNulty: The information is set out in the following table. Devon and Cornwall is a combined police authority and data on policing costs for the two counties separately are not available

Devon and Cornwall England
Net expenditure( 1) (£) Resident population Expenditure per head of population (£) Net expenditure( 1) (£) Resident population Expenditure per head of population (£)

1999-2000

175,055,000

1,551,480

112.83

7,074,920,000

49,279,007

143.57

2000-01

182,367,000

1,558,758

117.00

7,372,617,000

49,489,372

148.97

2001-02

191,117,000

1,569,666

121.76

7,852,807,000

49,746,857

157.86

2002-03

198,375,000

1,586,655

125.03

8,153,101,000

49,990,718

163.09

2003-04

220,160,000

1,578,595

139.47

8,910,451,000

49,174,123

181.20

2004-05

233,170,000

1,590,699

146.58

9,408,454,000

49,553,944

189.86

2005-06

243,711,000

1,601,215

152.20

9,631,146,000

49,847,697

193.21

( 1 ) Source for net expenditure:
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Police Statistics (Estimates for 2005-06)

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