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|Police community support officer strength( 1) (FTE)( 2) by Government region as at 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2006( 3)|
|Government region||2003||2004||2005( 4)||2006( 4)|
|(1) This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between totals and the sums of the constituent items.|
(2) Full-time equivalent includes those on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave.
(3) Police community support officers were introduced in statute in 2002, therefore data are not available prior to 2002-03.
(4) Strength figures as at 31 March 2005 onwards include those staff on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave. Therefore these figures are not comparable with those provided for other years in the table.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The information requested is set out in the following table and covers the period from 1 June to 30 November 2006. There have been 299 absconds from all open prisons, in England and Wales, during this period. Figures for 2006-07 are provisional and subject to validation.
|Absconds from open prisons in England and Wales 1 June to 30 November 2006|
|Month||Number of absconds|
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners that take drugs; what percentage of the prison population this represents; what the corresponding estimated figures were for 1997 and 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
|Year( 1)||Positive rate (Percentage)|
|(1) Figures are reported on a financial year basis.|
Mr. Sutcliffe: The resource allocation for 2007-08 is not yet settled; the indicative allocation is £908 million an increase of £25 million over 2006-07. After allowing for a £7 million technical adjustment, the increase is £32 million.
This allocation is in respect of the local probation boards and the National Probation Directorate (NPD). Certain expenditure related to the Probation Service, but managed centrally by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), is not included. Arising from a review of NOMS HQ, the National Probation Directorate is being incorporated into the NOMS centre and in 2007-08 there will not be a separate NPD budget
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department has spent on commissioning public opinion research in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
The Home Office conducts a wide range of research activities that support the development of information-led policy, including surveys of public opinion that consider Home Office issues and its related areas of responsibility. The Department
commissions such work only when it is justified by the specific needs of a particular policy or programme and when this is the most economic, efficient and effective way to achieve the purpose. Consulting and involving the public helps inform both policy formulation and delivery of better quality public services.
Research programmes are often complex and combine a mixture of quantitative and qualitative elements. It is therefore not possible to break down the costs of opinion polling from the overall cost of a research project. The breakdown requested cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Coaker: In his letter of 9 June 2005 laid before both Houses of Parliament, the Home Secretary set SOCA his strategic priorities for its first three years of operation and how he will judge its success. This has been reflected in SOCAs 2006-07 annual plan.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Government response to the National Audit Office report Helping victims and witnesses: the work of Victim Support (HC1212 Oct. 02), whether his Department has provided tender specifications for (a) an information pack for people bereaved by road death and (b) victim care units. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 16 January 2007]: The Government funded BrakeCares advice pack for bereaved families and friends from 2001-02 to 2006-07 and will advise of the criteria and administrative procedures for future funding through the Victims Fund.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to comply with the recommendations of the National Audit Office report Helping victims and witnesses: the work of Victim Support (HC1212 Oct. 02) with respect to the provisions of the compact with the voluntary and community sector for fair access to funding and its applicability to bereaved victims charities. 
review the current arrangements for funding voluntary sector activity in this field [helping victims and witnesses], with the aim of [...] ensuring that the opportunity to bid to run new services is available to all potential providers.
The Compact and the Treasurys Guidance to Funders and Purchasers advise Departments to use appropriate funding and procurement procedures when asking the voluntary sector to deliver Government priorities.
We have not so far gone out to tender on new services from bereaved victims charities. Since 2004-05 the Victims Fund has invited the voluntary sector to bid for grants from the Fund and the arrangements for doing so were in line with the principles in the Compact. So far it has focused on supporting victims of sexual violence. We are currently considering whether to broaden the scope of the 2007-08 Victims Fund.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Home Office funds a wide range of projects and organisations to support victims of crime, such as sexual assault referral centres and independent sexual violence advisors for victims of sexual violence, the POPPY scheme for victims of trafficking, independent domestic violence advisors and 64 specialist court areas for domestic violence victims.
|Funding to Victim Support||Compensation paid by CICA||Funding to the Victims' fund|
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines his Department follows when considering visa applications from individuals implicated in human rights abuses. 
All UK visa applicants are considered on their individual merits and in line with the Immigration Rules. Details of a number of people suspected of, or known to have, committed human rights abuses are entered on the Immigration Watchlist. Visa applicants are routinely checked against the Watchlist. Where the person has been excluded from the UK by personal decision of the Home Secretary, entry clearance will not be granted. In other cases, where the individual is shown to have an adverse history this information will feature heavily in considering the application. Entry
clearance or immigration officers are empowered to refuse a person entry clearance or entry if they consider that their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to her counterparts in (a) China, (b) Russia and (c) South Africa on (i) human rights, (ii) refugees, (iii) political prisoners and (iv) conditions in prisons in Burma. 
Mr. McCartney: I discussed the human rights situation in Burma with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui when I visited Beijing in July 2006. Human rights, refugees, political prisoners and conditions in prisons have been discussed at official level with China and Russia.
During discussions on Burma at the UN we have made clear our concern about the human rights situation in Burma to all UN Security Council members, including China, Russia and South Africa. Our Permanent Representative's statement to the UN Security Council on 12 January reiterated these concerns. This statement was made in the presence of all UN Security Council Permanent Representatives.
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