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Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times the cross-government working group examining the transitional and ongoing financial arrangements for restructured police forces has met since January. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in determining the changes required to the police precept following the creation of a single strategic force for Wales. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who represents the Welsh Assembly on the cross-government working group which is examining the transitional and ongoing financial arrangements for restructured police forces. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 4 July 2006]: The head of local government finance at the Welsh Assembly Government represents the Welsh Assembly Government on the police restructuring finance working group.
Mr. McNulty: Grant is provided to the West Mercia police authority as a whole. Shropshire is one of five administrative policing divisions within the West Mercia police area. It is for the police authority and chief officer to deploy resources in line with local policing plans. I am informed by the chief constable that a significant proportion of the force budget is deployed on a force-wide basis and is not identifiable to individual areas.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the requirement to form specialist anti-terror units within Devon and Cornwall constabulary continues to apply following recent restructuring decisions. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 17 July 2006]: The chief constable is responsible for operational policing matters in Devon and Cornwall constabulary. No requirement to form specialist anti-terrorist units within Devon and Cornwall constabulary was identified prior to or following the recent police restructuring decisions.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will meet the chief constable and acting chief constable of Cumbria and Lancashire and the chairs of their respective police authorities to discuss his proposals for merger of the forces. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 20 July 2006]: I have met the chief constable and acting chief constable of Cumbria and Lancashire constabularies and representatives of their police authorities to discuss the proposed merger of the two forces on a number of occasions, most recently on 10 July.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who the Minister for Policing,
Security and Community Safety in his Department plans to meet in connection with the police mergers in Wales over the next three months; and what the dates are of those meetings which have been arranged. 
Mr. McNulty: Over the last two months I have held meetings and discussions with the four chief constables of Welsh forces, the four chairs of Welsh police authorities, the Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration, Edwina Hart AM, members of the Welsh Assembly's Social, Justice and Regeneration Committee, my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for Wales and his Minister my hon. Friend the member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire the Welsh Group of Labour MPs, North Wales Labour MPs and the Welsh Local Government Association. I will hold further meetings as appropriate but no dates have yet been fixed.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has (a) to reduce the requirement on police officers to fill in forms and carry out other administrative tasks and (b) to establish increased clerical support for such tasks. 
Mr. McNulty: We have already made good progress on reducing the bureaucratic burdens on police officers by cutting nearly 9,000 unnecessary forms; civilianising posts; rolling out the penalty notice for disorder scheme; and ensuring that forces have the best scientific and technological support like video identity parades and electronic fingerprinting.
The Government introduced a measure in 2003 to record the amount of time that police officers spend on frontline duties in order to help to maximise the time spent on their core roles of preventing and reducing crime. More police officer time was spent on front line duties in 2004-05 (64.1 per cent.) than in 2003-04 (63.6 per cent.) and we are determined to see this improvement continue, with police authorities setting robust targets for improvement.
The Home Office expects that the police service can increase this to a national average of around 72 per cent. in 2008. This will be a gain in time on frontline duties equivalent to an extra 12,000 police officers. To support this, police staff numbers have grown substantially over the last few years. In September 2005 there were 71,967 police staff, an increase of 18,956 (nearly 36 per cent.) since 1997.
|Percentage of population in prison establishments( 1) in England and Wales from a minority ethnic group( 2) by establishment|
|Prison Establishment||30 June 2005||31 May 2006|
|(1) Percentages are calculated as proportion of prisoners recorded as BME against total prisoners. (2) Ethnicity is recorded on the basis of voluntary self-declaration|
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