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26 Jan 2007 : Column 2092W—continued


26 Jan 2007 : Column 2093W

Foreign National Criminals

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to incorporate in Criminal Records Bureau checks data relating to foreign nationals now working in the UK in occupations in contact with vulnerable groups concerning past convictions committed abroad involving serious offences against the person. [115822]

Joan Ryan: Recent events have made clear the complexity of the issues faced across Government and beyond. This is not helped by the differences in systems, procedures and criteria for recording and using for public protection information about criminality in this country and outside the UK. The Home Secretary has therefore instigated a Government wide review of the way in which such information is shared and used.

Hizb ut-Tahir

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how many years the group Hizb ut-Tahir has been visibly active in the UK. [107293]

Mr. McNulty: It is normal Home Office policy not to comment on groups which may or may not be added to the list of proscribed organisations.

HMIC Budget

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual budget is of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary; and how many members of staff it employs. [116057]

Mr. McNulty: For the year 2006-07 Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has an annual budget of £10.881 million. As an organisation, HMIC has a total of 144 staff working in it; however, it is not an employer in its own right. Of the 144, 71 are employed by the Home Office, six are Crown appointments and 67 are seconded from the police service or other Government Departments.

Homeland Security Department

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered the creation of a new Department for Homeland Security; and if he will make a statement. [110772]

Mr. McNulty: I refer the hon. Member to the statement that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made in the House on 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 550WS. Our counter-terrorist campaign will need to be seamless, integrated, politically driven, forward-thinking and dynamic. The conclusions of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's counter-terrorism review which considered how best to achieve this are with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. We shall keep the House informed of the outcome of the review when appropriate.


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Internet Crime

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funds his Department allocated to deal with internet crime in each year since 2001. [111376]

Mr. Coaker: Specific funding of £25 million was provided for e-crime over the SR2000 period for 2001-02 to 2003-04. Part of these funds were used to establish the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHCTU) in the then National Crime Squad, as well as transitional funding for computer forensic officers in forces. Funding for e-crime work is now incorporated in the baseline of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the new SOCA e-crime Directorate is 20 per cent. bigger than the precursor NHTCU. In addition, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has been set up with£3.5 million core funding from the Home Office plus additional resources provided by industry and NGO's.

Funding for forensic officers in forces was extended beyond the SR2000 period to 2004-05, 2005-06 and funding of £1.1 million in 2006-07.

Mounted Police

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police forces in England and Wales have mounted sections; and how many horses each such force has. [110949]

Mr. McNulty: 14 forces currently have mounted sections as follows:

Number of horses

Avon and Somerset

11

City of London

9

Cleveland

9

Greater Manchester

37

Humberside

7

Lancashire

18

Merseyside

21

Metropolitan Police Service

120

Northumbria

10

Nottinghamshire

10

South Wales

9

South Yorkshire

16

Thames Valley police

10

West Yorkshire

21


Murder and Manslaughter

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murder and manslaughter victims have been killed by assailants previously convicted of murder or manslaughter in the last 10 years. [115960]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 16 January 2007]: Available data relate to offences recorded as homicide between 1994 and 2004-05. In that period a total of 24 persons in England and Wales are known to have been killed by persons who had been previously convicted of murder or manslaughter in England and Wales.


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Police

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were involved in the forced return of three coaches from Lechlade to London on 22 March; and what the costs of the operation were. [109875]

Mr. McNulty: This is a matter for the chief constable of Gloucestershire.

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many new police reporting forms have been introduced nationally since 1997. [116062]

Mr. McNulty: This information is not kept centrally.

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police reporting forms his Department has made obsolete since 1997. [116063]

Mr. McNulty: We have worked closely with police forces in eliminating nearly 9,000 forms nationally. Details of the forms made obsolete by individual forces are not held centrally. We remain committed to reducing the administrative burdens and eliminating the unnecessary paperwork and inefficient working practices that keep officers off the streets.

Police: Processed Paperwork

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of paperwork processed by police forces is sent abroad for secondary processing by organisations or companies prior to return. [110872]

Mr. McNulty: This is an operational matter for individual police forces and this information is not kept centrally.

Strategic Risk Registers: Police

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library copies of the Strategic Risk Register for each police force for which such a register has been produced; and if he will make a statement on the preparation of such registers. [117360]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 22 January 2007]: The assessment and management of risk is an operational matter for chief constables and the information requested is not held by the Home Office. The way in which individual forces identify and manage risk may form one element in their assessment by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Communities and Local Government

Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Minister for Local Government will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 21 November 2006 on job losses and budget cuts at Worcestershire county council. [111563]


26 Jan 2007 : Column 2096W

Mr. Woolas: I have now replied to the hon. Member's letter. I apologise for the delay in responding.

Former Airfields

Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what planning guidelines exist in relation to land formerly used as airfields. [110891]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 23 January 2007]: Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: “Transport” (PPG13), published in 2001, sets out the national planning policy framework for transport, including advice on how local planning authorities need to take account of aviation interests in preparing local plan policies and determining planning applications. In particular, PPG13 states that local authorities should

GLA Precept

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with the Mayor of London regarding the Greater London Authority precept for 2007-08. [110652]

Mr. Woolas: The Government have made clear that they expect the council tax increase in England to be less than 5 per cent. in 2007-08. We have had no discussions with the Mayor of London about the Greater London Authority precept increase for 2007-08.

Holocaust

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with colleagues in other Departments on how awareness of holocaust issues can promote community cohesion. [117281]

Mr. Woolas: My Department is determined to ensure that the genocide committed during the Holocaust is not forgotten, is commemorated with dignity and status, and is communicated to future generations. We provide £500,000 annual funding to the Holocaust Memorial Day charitable trust. We recognise that education has a key role to play in tackling contemporary issues of prejudice, racism and religious intolerance. Both my Department and the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) support the annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration, including through the production of free educational resources. The Secretary of State will be attending the UK Holocaust memorial event on 28 January.


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Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has for the extension of the home information pack area trials; and what criteria will be used to identify locations for such extension. [114724]

Yvette Cooper: We are intending to expand the HIP area trials to North West Wales (Gwynedd, Conwy and Anglesey ) and London (Southwark) to ensure the widest range of types of housing market are involved in the area trials to gain the broadest possible experience in advance of 1 June 2007. We will be announcing further details regarding these trials shortly.

Housing

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have submitted discretionary schemes to license houses in multiple occupancy which do not fall within the mandatory definition. [110569]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 24 January 2007]: The Department has received no applications from local authorities wishing to establish discretionary licensing schemes to license those houses in multiple occupation which do not fall within the mandatory definition. As of 6 April 2006 if a local authority operated an HMO registration scheme under the Housing Act 1985 that scheme has automatically been deemed a transitional additional licensing scheme.

Housing: Elderly

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to ensure that house building programmes take into account the long-term needs of older people. [110646]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 25 January 2007]: Ensuring appropriate housing provision for older people is part of the wider work of the Department, particularly through the national framework set by planning policy and building regulation. The long-term needs of older people within house building programmes are being addressed through the following means:

Local Government

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was allocated to each local authority in Gloucestershire in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 for concessionary fees; and how much of the allocation has been spent in each case. [111423]

Mr. Woolas: Concessionary fares is one of the services supported through formula grant, which consists of Revenue Support Grant, redistributed business rates and, where appropriate, principal formula Police Grant.

Formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant i.e. authorities are free to spend it on any service. For this reason, and because of the method of calculating formula grant, particularly floor damping, it is not possible to say how much grant was provided for any particular service.

Data on local authorities’ expenditure can only be collected once the reference period has finished. Data on expenditure on concessionary fares in 2006-07 are expected to be published in November 2007.


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