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Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length of time taken to process passport applications and renewals was at each Identity and Passport Service location in each of the last 12 months. 
|Regional Office||Jul||Aug||Sept||Oct||Nov||Dec||Jan||Feb||Ma r||Apr||May||Jun||Overall average days|
Mr. Woolas: The Identity and Passport Service's published target for the processing of passport application is: to deliver 99.5 per cent. of straightforward online, partner and postal adult renewal and first-time child applications within 10 working days.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence his Department used to evaluate the effectiveness of e-passports on (a) security and (b) efficiency of border immigration arrangements; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 16 September 2009]: The introduction by the UK of the e-passport containing the holder's personal details and facial image on a contactless chip was part of a major international drive to make travel documents more secure. The UK e-passport's physical and electronic security features are a significant impediment to forgers and counterfeiters. The UK e-passport is recognised as a high integrity document, and there is no evidence that anyone has modified or changed the data within the chip on the e-passport in a way that would pass through the checks made at UK border control.
In terms of security, if the UK had not introduced the e-passport then there was a risk that the UK passport would have received greater attention from fraudsters and counterfeiters. Also, UK nationals would have been treated less favourably than those of other nations at border controls and not have been able to travel visa free to the United States.
The greater assurance and integrity offered by the e-passport enables border control authorities worldwide to spend more time dealing with higher risk passengers. Accessing the data held on the e-passport automatically, enables UK Border Force officers to use their time more efficiently on improved security and fraud checks, making our border even more secure. Additionally, the UK Border Agency is encouraging e-passport holders to use the facial recognition gates currently being trialled in the UK, providing the travelling public with an easier passage through the controls.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in respect of how many incidents of (a) violence against the person, (b) sexual offences, (c) robbery, (d) burglary, (e) theft, (f) fraud and forgery, (g) criminal damages and (h) drugs offences
police cautions were given in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09; and what proportion of such incidents was first offences in each such year. 
Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 9 September 2009]: The numbers of cautions issued by the police for the specified offence groups are given in the table. Information on whether such incidents were first offences cannot be derived from the police recorded crime statistics collected centrally by the Home Office.
|Number of cautions issued by police for each main offence group, England and Wales|
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of their working time on average (a) all police officers and (b) patrol officers spent on (i) incident-related paperwork, (ii) non-incident-related paperwork and (c) patrol in England and Wales in 2008-09; and what the frontline policing measure for each police force in England and Wales was in that year. 
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the merits of providing stab-proof vests for (a) police officers and (b) police community support officers. 
The Government are clear that police officers should have the best possible protection when facing the physical violence that is sometimes directed against them. The Home Office Scientific Development
Branch (HOSDB) provides scientific and technical advice to the police that covers the development of police specific standards for personal protective equipment, including body armour.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to increase (a) racial equality within and (b) recruitment of people from ethnic minorities to the West Midlands police service. 
Mr. Hanson: Recruitment to and equality and diversity issues within West Midlands police are a matter for the chief constable. However, all 43 Home Office forces currently use the Police SEARCH assessment centre for purposes of officer recruitment, which objectively and fairly assesses applicants against the skills and abilities required to perform effectively as a police constable.
In addition, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) encourages police forces to use positive action initiatives to target recruits from ethnic minority and underrepresented groups, and a Positive Action Events Toolkit, produced by the Home Office in conjunction with police authorities, is currently available for use by all police forces. The NPIA is also actively engaging with groups such as the National Black Police Association and the National Association of Muslim Police to attract candidates for future roles.
To assist police forces further, the NPIA is launching an Equality Standard for the police service later this year, which will be available to every police force in England and Wales. The Equality Standard has been designed to contribute to attracting, retaining and developing a skilled and diverse workforce to reflect the communities served.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the police authority precept was for each authority in England and Wales in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09; and what percentage of each authority's total income precept funding was requested in each year. 
|Police authorities||Council tax requirement (£ million)||Budget met by council tax (percentage)||Council tax requirement (£ million)||Budget met by council tax (percentage)|
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