Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the House of Commons Commission will consider the merits of providing a resident cat. 
Nick Harvey: The Commission has no plans to introduce a cat. The House Service includes a qualified pest controller, who monitors and controls pests on the parliamentary estate using humane and effective methods. In addition, an independent expert is employed to audit and advise on pest control, and inspections of catering areas are undertaken by the local council. The clear advice we have is that all effective measures possible are being taken, but that in a building such as the Palace, pests such as mice can only be controlled rather than eradicated.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission whether the House of Commons Commission has engaged any (a) private intelligence and (b) private security firms or consultants in the last 12 months. 
Nick Harvey: The House of Commons has engaged one private security firm in the last 12 months for one specific piece of work in connection with the internal inquiry into the unauthorised disclosure of information on Members' allowances.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what redesigns of websites operated by the Electoral Commission have taken place since 27 June 2007; and what the (a) cost to the public purse and (b) date of completion of each such redesign was. 
Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has completed two website redesign projects in this period.
The first was the redevelopment of its corporate website:
This project was completed in June 2008 at a cost of £283,744.
The second was the redevelopment of the Commission's voter information website:
This project was completed in August 2008 at a cost of £140,600.
Mrs. Laing: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the number of people registered to vote in (a) local, (b) European and (c) general elections. 
Mr. Streeter: The Commission informs me that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) collects annual electoral registration data showing the number of entries on the local government and parliamentary registers. The most recent figures are for the electoral registers on 1 December 2008 and show the following numbers of entries on the electoral registers for the United Kingdom.
|Type of election||Entries on the electoral registers|
For the European Parliament elections across the United Kingdom on 4 June 2009, the number of entries on the registers was 45,312,626.
The ONS is due to publish figures for the 1 December 2009 electoral registers in the spring of 2010.
Anne Main: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how much the Electoral Commission has spent on hotel accommodation for its staff in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has spent approximately the following amounts in each of the last five years on hotel accommodation for staff. It is not possible to provide more precise figures as these totals include some travel and subsistence expenses, and to disaggregate these would incur disproportionate cost:
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Prime Minister's Statement of 30 November 2009, Official Report, columns 831-6, on Afghanistan and Pakistan, on what date the Government agreed with the Afghan government that the capacity of the Helmand police training centre would be doubled; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.
The decision to increase the capacity of the recently opened interim Helmand police training centre from 150 to 250 police per course was taken by the Helmand provincial chief of police on 28 October 2009. The
decision is fully supported by the Civilian-Military Mission in Helmand. The UK has funded the interim police training centre as part of a programme of capacity building in Helmand, including the training and mentoring of Afghan national police recruits.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether operational commitments in Afghanistan have affected the military's capability to build temporary bridges in the UK. 
Bill Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 December 2008, Official Report, column 331W, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock). This includes our capability to build bridges in the UK.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average unit tour interval was for each (a) aircraft and (b) helicopter crew type in the Royal Air Force in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Bill Rammell: The average unit tour interval for each RAF aircraft and helicopter crew type, including those in Joint Helicopter Command, as at 3 December 2009 is shown in the following table.
The roles and deployment patterns vary between each type of aircraft and this is reflected in the tour intervals experienced by their aircrew. Aircrew when not deployed on operations continue to meet defence commitments and conduct training.
|Aircraft type||Average tour interval||Tours|
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel went absent without leave (a) from posts (i) in Scotland, (ii) in Northern Ireland, (iii) in Wales, (iv) in England and (v) overseas and (b) while on operations in each month of 2009. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The information is not held in the format requested. Centrally held information relates to the number of Absent Without Leave incidents and not to the number of personnel. Additionally, data are only available by month in respect of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. In respect of the Army, only the year to date total is held centrally and to obtain this information by month will require a manual search of records which could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The available figures are provided in the following table.
AWOL statistics are recorded by the number of incidences reported. Within this total there may be service personnel who have been AWOL on more than one occasion. Furthermore, following the reporting of an incidence of AWOL, information may later come to light of extenuating circumstances for that unauthorised absence, such as compassionate, hospitalisation or travel delays beyond the individual's control. In such cases they may not have been formally charged but the incidence is still recorded.
|Royal Navy||Eastern||Western||Northern||Army||Royal Air Force||Region|
|(1) This is the number of recorded incidences, not the number of people AWOL or the number of charges brought.|
1. Figures in respect of the Royal Navy and Army rounded to nearest 5.
2. The Royal Navy record their AWOL incidences by regions of the United Kingdom (Eastern, Western and Northern) from the ship or unit where they absconded from.
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