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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent on holding prisoners in police cells under Operation Safeguard in each police force area since the operation began. 
Mr. McNulty: The National Offender Management Service has agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers that police forces can submit invoices up to 12 weeks in arrears during the period that Operation Safeguard is activated and three months from the end of the operation. We have not yet received any invoices and are therefore unable to calculate the exact total cost per police force.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department has a traffic light system in place for processing parliamentary questions, where questions are categorised using a colour code. 
Mr. McNulty: As part of the Home Secretarys public commitment to improve the way the Home Office fulfils its obligations to Parliament, a weekly traffic light system has been developed that identifies those questions which are overdue back to Parliament. This categorisation is based on the date the question was tabled and will allow the Permanent Secretary and Ministers to review performance on a weekly basis.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the time that his Department holds people's passports in (a) cases of citizenship applications and (b) applications for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. 
(a) Nationality casework consideration processes have been extensively reviewed to minimise delays and significant progress has been made. The length of time passports are held before being returned to the applicant has significantly reduced from more than 14 months in 200-01 to less than four months in 2005-06
(b) The time taken to process applications for indefinite leave to remain, which includes the time in which people's passports are held, is measured against published service standards which are
presently being broadly met. These service standards and performance are shown on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate website at:
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the arrangements are for the payment of pensions to people who retire early through ill-health for each pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; what the incidence of ill-health retirement was as a percentage of all retirement for such schemes in each year since 1988-89; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. McNulty: A police authority may medically retire an officer if he or she is assessed by a medical practitioner selected by the authority to be permanently disabled for the ordinary duties of a member of the force. An officer who is a contributing member of either the Police Pension Scheme 1987 or the Police Pension Scheme 2006 and who has two years qualifying service at the time of retirement will receive an ill-health pension which is index-linked and payable immediately.
The ill-health pension under the Police Pension Scheme 1987, to which most officers belong, is based on the pension rights the officer has accrued up to retirement, but where the officer has at least five years pensionable service the pension will be enhanced to compensate at least in part for the additional service he or she was unable to go on to complete.
The Police Pension Scheme 2006, which applies to those who have joined the police service on or after 6 April this year, provides two levels of ill-health pension: a standard ill-health pension which is not enhanced and is payable to those who are permanently disabled for the ordinary duties of a member of the force but who can undertake other regular employment, and an enhanced top-up pension, which is payable in addition to the standard pension where the officer is also assessed as permanently disabled for all regular employment.
Information about the rate of ill-health retirement for police officers is not available in the form requested for all the years that the hon. Member has asked for. A table follows with information from 1990-91 to 2004-05. From 2001-02 the rate of ill-health retirement has not been recorded as a percentage of the number of retirements but as a proportion of the number of officers in service, expressed in terms of ill-health retirements per 1,000 officers. This is a more stable measure since the number of ordinary retirements is liable to change from year to year. The figures show a very clear downward trend which started in the mid 1990sfrom 2,587 ill-health retirements in 1994-95 to 405 in 2004-05. The rate of reduction has been given added impetus following the Police Negotiating Board Agreement of 2002 which resulted in the issue of joint guidance to forces in 2003 on the better management of ill-health. The effective management of ill-health
continues to be a priority for the police service. Improvements in sickness management and rehabilitation and better incentives for making appropriate use of ill health retirement (e.g. by introducing more than one tier of ill-health benefits) have been a key part of public service reform.
|Police officer medical retirements (FTE)|
|Percentage of medical retirements of all retirements||Number of medical retirements per 1,000 officers in service|
1. This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number.
2. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.
We are unable to give exact numbers of cold cases that are currently under examination by the police. However since February 2004, the Police Standards Unit in the Home Office has been working closely with police forces assisting with the forensic review of undetected serious sexual assaults and rapes from the late eighties through to the late nineties, by applying the latest scientific technology to historic forensic samples and submitting the results to the police forces concerned. To date, this national programme of workOperation Advancehas involved the review of 9615 forensic case files, of which 1387 were suitable for forensic review and 395 were identified as suitable for reinvestigation by the police
forces concerned. Operation Advance is an ongoing programme of work; the work has already resulted in the conviction of 22 offenders and with more awaiting trial. This work and the good practice and practical advice generated as a result have been seen by many police forces as a catalyst to create their own cold case review teams and we are confident that as many as 17 police forces have already done so and as a result are reviewing their own historic as yet unsolved cases of rape and serious sexual assault and in most cases homicide. The Home Office are committed to promoting the value of cold case reviews not least because this work is all about victimsit is about bringing justice, relief, closure and freedom from fear to victims of the most horrendous crimes, often after many years. The vast majority of the offenders identified and convicted in this work have proved to be persistent, prolific and dangerous criminals with criminal convictions stretching back many years. Bringing these individuals to justice has undoubtedly prevented them from committing many more crimes in the future.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many pages of documentation on average a police officer is required to fill in to process a burglary at each stage from first report to conviction; and if he will place in the Library specimens of such documentation. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) civilian police staff there were in each police authority area in each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change was (i) in each year and (ii) over the 10 year period in each category. 
|Police officer strength( 1 ) (FTE)( 2 ) by police force as at 31 March 1996 to 31 March 2006|
|Police force||1996||% change over previous year||1997( 3)||% change over previous year||1998||% change over previous year||1999||% change over previous year|
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