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5 Mar 2009 : Column WA185



Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): An independent review of the national police diversity staff support associations (DSSAs) is taking place. The national DSSAs help the Home Office and key policing partners to deliver equality and diversity outcomes for the service. The main aims of the review are to identify the benefits of the national DSSAs to key policing partners; how the national DSSAs may be used to best effect; and the most appropriate level of support each of the policing partners can provide.

The focus of the review is on national DSSAs rather than the local equivalents.

Police: Discrimination


Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The policing Green Paper reinforces the need to increase local responsibility for police performance. It will now be for each police authority to set race and gender targets, in conjunction with its force, and involve police officers, police staff and local communities. National oversight will be maintained in particular through the inspection of workforce issues in 2010 by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Police: Northern Ireland


Asked by Lord Laird

5 Mar 2009 : Column WA186

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The figure of 220 refers to all additional PPS staff, both legally qualified and non-legally qualified, recruited over the period.

I am informed by the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) that the establishment figure for prosecuting inspectors was 22 inspectors and two chief inspectors. These were supported in the central process offices by a range of staff whose complement as set out during the criminal justice review was seven sergeants and 80 to 90 support staff.

Out of a current total of 572 staff in the PPS (and excluding the director and the deputy director), there are currently 171 legally qualified members of staff in the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) of whom 102 hold the grade of public prosecutor. It is this grade, currently B1 grade, of public prosecutor which is responsible, broadly stated, for carrying out the work previously carried out by the prosecuting police inspectors from the PSNI.

It is not, however, possible to make a direct comparison between the figures. The aim of the criminal justice review's recommendations on bringing all prosecutions under the aegis of an independent body, brought into effect in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002, was to ensure that decisions on cases at all levels of seriousness were made against consistently-applied criteria by legally-qualified staff. In addition to the responsibility for deciding on and progressing prosecutions, the Public Prosecution Service took on responsibility for tracking the progress of cases after charge or receipt of a report from the investigator, including requesting further information and investigations; and for providing advice to investigators at pre-charge stages of the process, for example on evidence needed and appropriate offences to be charged.

The criminal justice review also noted the increasing complexity of even less serious cases and the increasing significance of human rights issues, both of which have impacted on the resourcing of the PPS.

Prisons: Offender Managers


Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Offender managers are Probation Service staff who are probation officers, senior practitioners, senior probation officers and professional development assessors. Latest available figures are that there are 508, full-time-equivalent, offender managers working within Prison Service establishments. Information on the maximum and average case-loads is not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost by means of a manual survey.

5 Mar 2009 : Column WA187

Railways: Disused Lines


Asked by Lord Greaves

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): A consultation was undertaken in 2008 by BRB (Residuary) Ltd under the guidance issued to the company by Ministers on the disposal of its surplus property. The results of that consultation identified a number of local aspirations for the site, including the possible restoration of rail services or for use as a footpath or cycleway. These are local proposals and for that reason BRBR’s Property Review Group concluded that the land should be offered to Lancashire County Council for it to decide the best use of the land.

Terms were quoted for the sale of the land to the county council on 31 July 2008 and it needs to respond quickly by engaging with BRB (Residuary) Ltd to discuss the nature of the structures on the route and terms for its acquisition, if its future use for community activities is to be secured.

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984


Asked by Lord Lucas

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): It is not the policy of the Department for Transport to retain records on such matters dating back as far as 1984. A search carried out by officials at the department confirmed that no records on this subject are held.

5 Mar 2009 : Column WA188

Royal Bank of Scotland: Entertainment Budget


Asked by Lord Northbrook

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): That is a matter for the board of RBS.

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005


Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We are not aware of any penalty notices having been issued in such circumstances and would be unable to identify any separately from the statistics which are kept on penalty notices.

Sri Lanka


Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): All asylum claims received in the UK including those from Tamils are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with UK international obligations against the background of the latest available country information. If an applicant demonstrates a need for international protection, asylum is granted. If their application is refused, they have a right of appeal to the Asylum Immigration Tribunal. In this way we ensure that we provide protection to those asylum seekers who need it. We will continue to take Sri Lankan asylum decisions on a case-by-case basis in light of the most current situation.

5 Mar 2009 : Column WA189

Terrorism: Finance


Asked by Baroness Warsi

5 Mar 2009 : Column WA190

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Home Office's Office for Security and Counter Terrorism allocated £2.7 million to the National Offender Management Service in 2008-9 to support the delivery of a programme of work to address the risks associated with violent extremism and radicalisation. This programme includes improved intelligence gathering; training and awareness-raising for staff; support for chaplaincy teams; and work to research and develop appropriate interventions. The programme is reviewed by senior officials and by Ministers on a regular basis.

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