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12 Jan 2009 : Column 307Wcontinued
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what information each police force must provide to meet they are meeting the levels of service to the community set out in the police pledge; 
(2) how her Department plans to assess each police force in order to determine whether it is meeting the police pledge. 
Jacqui Smith: The Home Office will not directly assess forces on whether they are meeting the policing pledge. The pledge is a commitment from the police to the public and sets out clear minimum standards and public entitlement to services. All 43 chief constables have committed to deliver the pledge by the end of the year.
If the public do not feel these standards are being met they can raise it locally with the police themselves or through their police authority.
The Policing Green Paper explained the new relationship between the Government, police and public. The Home Office has now adopted a more strategic role allowing for grassroots accountability and an enhanced role for HMIC in providing public assurance about the quality and standard of policing in all forces. HMIC will therefore validate the delivery of the pledge by forces through their inspection process. Police authorities will also wish to be satisfied that the pledge is being delivered for local people.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 39WS, on strategic policing priorities, what indicators will be used to assess the strategic policing priorities for 2009-10. 
Jacqui Smith: My strategic policing priorities (SPPs) provide a national strategic context within which police authorities set their local policing plans. The SPPs for 2009-10 emphasise the strategic context for local planning and accountability, as set out in the Policing Green Paper, so that forces tackle the issues that matter most locally in that national context and get best value for money for the public from the resources devoted to policing.
The aim is to move to a system in which the police service is held to account much more at a local level. Police authorities are already required to issue a strategic plan which identifies the force's priorities and objectives over a three year rolling cycle and which must take into account my strategic policing priorities. Local accountability will be enhanced through the introduction of the policing pledge, to be underpinned by a set of local priorities, the publication of local information on crime and police activity and through raising the capacity and influence
of police authorities to hold forces to account. A strengthened HMIC will act as guarantor of the public interest in inspecting forces and authorities.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 39WS, on strategic policing priorities, what mechanisms are in place to measure police performance. 
Jacqui Smith: Policing performance is measured through the Assessments of Policing And Community Safety (APACS) framework, which contains key performance indicators for the police working alone or in partnership. However, as set out in the Policing Green Paper: From the Neighbourhood to the National: Policing our Communities Together, the Home Office will in future no longer produce graded assessments against those indicators, which have been interpreted by some as de facto targets. Instead, HMIC will take the lead in making and publishing assessments of forces' overall performance, drawing on APACS performance indicators and other information.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of police officers who committed suicide in each year since 2000. 
Jacqui Smith: The information is not centrally collected.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to limit the use of 0800 non-emergency telephone numbers operated by police forces. 
Mr. Coaker: It is a matter for individual police forces what number they use for non-emergency telephone contact. The Home Office has no plans to limit the use of 0800 numbers operated by police forces.
Mr. Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines have been issued to police forces regarding the use by officers of batons, with particular reference to whether there is any part of the body that should not be struck. 
Mr. Coaker: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Personal Safety Manual of Guidance, which is administered by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) on behalf of ACPO, to support and inform operational decision making and training to improve safety during the policing of violent and potentially violent situations.
This guidance is a restricted document, as the majority of the information contained within it relates to operational policing in terms of techniques utilised by staff in the defence of themselves, their colleagues and others. The release of such information would be likely to prejudice the health and safety of officers and others in danger.
There are no prescriptive guidelines that are issued to officers in relation to the use of batons, and there are no areas of the body that officers are instructed should not be struck. However, the guidance makes it clear that the implications arising from the use of force are a matter for considered judgment. The use of force should be in accordance with the Criminal Law Act 1967 Section 3 (1), which states that:
A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff work in her Department's Research Information and Communication Unit; what forecast she has made of the unit's operation costs in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Coaker: The Research, Information and Communications Unit is comprised of 29 permanent members of staff: 15 members of staff from the Home Office, eight members of staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and six members of staff from the Department for Communities and Local Government. When fully recruited the Unit will have 33 permanent staff.
(a) Unit operational costs for 2008-09 amount £4,219,305 (made up of admin allocation £959,305 and programme allocation £3,260,000)
(b) Unit operational costs for 2009-10 amount to £6,651,646 (made up of admin allocation £951,646 and programme allocation £5,700,000)
(c) Unit operational costs for 2010-11 amount to £8,144,371 (made up of admin allocation £944,371 and programme allocation £7,200,000).
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment her Department has made of the likely effect on levels of illegal immigration into the European Union as a result of Switzerland joining the Schengen area. 
Mr. Woolas: Switzerland has been evaluated during the course of 2008 and was found to fulfil the conditions for the practical application of the relevant parts of the Schengen Acquis.
This is a demanding process involving the completion of an extensive questionnaire, written and oral reports and visits by expert committees. The process is designed to ensure that countries joining the Schengen system comply fully with its requirements, including the effective management of external border operations in order to prevent illegal immigration.
The process is overseen by the EU's Schengen Evaluation Working Group, attended Home Office Officials, which reports to the JHA Council. The reports are classified; therefore they are not made available to the European Parliament or to national parliaments.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people employed by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency deal with human trafficking investigations. 
Jacqui Smith: SOCA deploys its resources flexibly against a range of threats, rather than allocating staff to specific subjects in line with set priorities.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of staff of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency are dedicated to human trafficking investigations. 
Jacqui Smith: As indicated in the SOCA Annual Plan 2008-09 the agency intended to apportion 15 per cent. of its operational effort directly to organised immigration crime and additionally 12 per cent. to work on criminals and their business some of which will encompass organised immigration crime.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) licensed and (b) unlicensed taxi drivers have been charged with committing a sexual offence since 2001. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 December 2008]: The information requested is not available.
Statistics on the number of persons charged with offences are not collected centrally.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make an assessment of whether Tablighi Jamaat plays a role in the radicalisation of young Muslims in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Coaker: All sources and aspects of radicalisation are studied but by long established convention we do not comment on intelligence assessments.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make an assessment of whether Tablighi Jamaat poses a security risk to the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Coaker: Security risks of all kinds are regularly assessed but by long-established convention we do not comment on intelligence assessments.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests have been made under terrorism legislation in each of the last five years; and how many of such arrests have resulted in (a) charges and (b) convictions. 
Mr. Coaker: From 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2007 1,228 arrests were made:
1,165 arrests under the Terrorism Act 2000;
63 arrests under legislation other than the Terrorism Act, where the investigation was conducted as a terrorist investigation.
132 charged with terrorism legislation offences only;
109 charged with terrorism legislation offences and other criminal offences;
195 charged under other legislation including murder, grievous bodily harm, firearms, explosives offences, fraud, false documents;
76 handed over to immigration authorities;
15 on police bail awaiting charging decisions;
1 warrant issued for arrest;
1 dealt with under youth offending procedures;
11 dealt with under mental health legislation;
4 transferred to Police Service of Northern Ireland custody;
2 remanded in custody awaiting extradition proceedings;
669 released without charge;
1 awaiting further investigation.
41 were convicted under Terrorism legislation;
183 convicted under other legislation: murder and explosives offences (including conspiracies), grievous bodily harm, firearms offences, fraud, false documents offences, etc (this includes the 12 cautions detailed above);
114 at or awaiting trial.
The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's Office are currently working with the National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data relating to those arrested, charged, convicted and imprisoned under terrorist legislation and under other legislation but considered terrorist related. As soon as this is complete a Statistical Bulletin covering this information will be published by the Home Office. The bulletin will provide a breakdown of charges and convictions of terrorism related offences.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 9 December 2008, Official Report, column 37W, on terrorism: detainees, with what offences the individuals held for over 14 days and then charged were charged; and how many (a) have been convicted, (b) offences have been acquitted and (c) remain subject to trial. 
Jacqui Smith: To date 11 individuals have been held over 14 days. Eight of these individuals were charged.
One individual charged with having information about an act of terrorism (section 38B, Terrorism Act 2000). This case was subsequently dismissed by a judge due to insufficient evidence.
One individual charged with conspiracy to cause explosions (section 3 (1a), the Explosives Substances Act 1883).
Three individuals charged with conspiracy to murder (section 1 (1), Criminal Law Act 1977) and Preparation of Terrorist Acts (section 5, Terrorism Act 2006). The latter charge has subsequently been amended by the Crown Prosecution Service for two of the individuals to a charge of conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft (section 1(1), Criminal Law Act 1977).
One individual charged with preparation of terrorist Acts (section 5, Terrorism Act 2006).
One individual charged with preparation of terrorist Acts (section 5, Terrorism Act 2006), possession of a prohibited weapon (section 5(1), Firearms Act 1968), possession of ammunition (section 1 (1b), Firearms Act 1968), possession of a silencer without a firearms licence (section 1 (1b), Firearms Act 1968). The charge of preparation of terrorist acts for the second individual was subsequently amended by the Crown Prosecution Service to a charge of conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft (section 1(1), Criminal Law Act 1977).
One individual charged with attending a place for instruction or training in terrorism (section 8, Terrorism Act 2006) and collection of information (section 58 (1) (a), Terrorism Act 2000).
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people (a) have been charged with criminal offences, (b) have been convicted, (c) have been acquitted and (d) remain subject to trial as a result of Operation Overt in August 2006. 
Jacqui Smith: 17 individuals were charged as a result of Operation Overt.
In November 2006, two individuals who were charged with failure to disclose information had their cases dismissed by a judge who decided there was no case to answer.
One individual was convicted in September 2007.
During the trial which concluded in September 2008, three individuals were found guilty of Conspiracy to Murder Persons Unknown. These three previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Cause Explosions and Conspiracy to Commit a Public Nuisance. A further four people pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit a Public Nuisance. A decision is due shortly on a retrial of these seven individuals. One individual was found not guilty at this trial.
Additionally, a further six people await trial.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 9 December 2008, Official Report, column 37W, on terrorism: detainees, with what offences the individuals held for between 27 to 28 days and not released without charge were charged. 
Jacqui Smith: To date 11 individuals have been held for over 14 days, three were charged on the 27-28 day.
One individual charged with preparation of terrorist acts (section 5, Terrorism Act 2006).
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