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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will set up a review of single-issue organisations within the Metropolitan Police and other police forces to consider whether they affect the provision of unified police services where all staff are treated equally regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation. [HL1677]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the discontinuation of national equality targets for the police service will affect efforts to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity; and how future progress will be monitored and measured. [HL1658]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 24 November 2008 (WA 24950), how many prosecuting Police Service of Northern Ireland inspectors were replaced by the 220 extra Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service legally qualified staff recruited between 2005 and 2008; and what the estimated extra annual costs are. [HL919]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made by the British Rail Residual Property Board in disposing of the disused railway line between Colne and the former West Riding County Council boundary; and whether they will protect the line for reinstatement in the future. [HL1817]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice and assistance they have given or will offer to Lancashire County Council about purchasing the railway line between Colne and the former West Riding County Council boundary (a) to protect it for reinstatement, (b) to maintain it in the meantime, or (c) to create a multi-user recreational route. [HL1818]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with (a) Lancashire County Council and (b) the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, on the future of the disused railway line between Colne and Skipton. [HL1819]
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 BRBRs 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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 24 February (WA 73), whether the Secretary of State exercised the power in Section 69(3) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 in Pontefract in 1984. [HL1755]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual entertainment budget for the Royal Bank of Scotland; what that budget is spent on; and how much of the budget is spent on sports personalities. [HL1827]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many penalty notices have been issued to people taking photographs or filming within areas restricted under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 in each year since that Act came into force. [HL1730]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of situation in Sri Lanka, they anticipate new applications for asylum from the Tamil community; and what new instructions they have given to consulates. [HL1542]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 12 February (WA 23738), how the £2.7 million allocated by the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism for 200809 will be spent; and how its effectiveness will be monitored. [HL1655]
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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