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Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of offenders were convicted of further offences during the two year period after they have been released from prison in each of the last five years. [143912]

Mr. Boateng: Two-year reconviction rates for standard list offences following release from prison are shown in the table. The rates are based on a sample of all discharges from prison each year. The 1997 rate is based on a sample of discharges during the first quarter of the year.

About one percentage point of the increase in the rate between 1993 and 1994 can be accounted for by the addition of a number of offences to the standard list. The effect of this change in offence coverage was a little more pronounced on the rate for the 1995 and 1996 data (around 1.4 and 1.9 percentage points respectively).

Prisoners reconvicted for standard list offences by year of discharge within two years of discharge from prison

Year of dischargePercentage reconvicted

(38) 1st quarter

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Police and Prison Services (Budgets)

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of the budget for the (a) Police Service and (b) Prison Service was spent in (i) England and (ii) Wales in the last 12 months for which figures are available in (A) cash terms, (B) as a percentage of total expenditure on these services and (C) per head of the population. [144069]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave him about Police Service and Prison Service expenditure in Wales on 30 November 2000, Official Report, column 927W.

In 1999-2000, revenue expenditure by police authorities on the police service in England, supported by Government grant was £7,074.920 million, in cash terms. This is 94.96 per cent. of total police net revenue expenditure in England and Wales and £142.20 per head of population in England. Spend on the Prison Service in 1999-2000, on other than the prisons in Wales referred to in the earlier reply and including all headquarters expenditure was £1,791.685 million in cash terms. This represents 97.03 per cent. of the total Prison Service expenditure or £36.01 per head of population in England.

Source for police expenditure data:
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Police Statistics (Actuals) 1999-2000.

Crime Statistics

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many recorded (a) murders, (b) violent crimes, (c) thefts, (d) robberies, (e) sexual crimes and (f) arrests there were in the last 12 months for which figures are available (i) in total and (ii) per 1,000 of the population in (A) England and (B) Wales. [144065]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information for the relevant recorded crime offence groups, and arrests for all recorded crimes for the year ending March 2000 is given in the table. Recorded homicide figures, which are comprised of murder, manslaughter and infanticide, are given, and rates per 100,000 population are used.

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 425W

Number of offencesOffences per 100,000 populationNumber of arrestsArrests per 100,000 population
Violence against the person (excluding homicide)542,3841,096----
Theft and handling2,124,8934,293----
Sexual Offences36,04373----
Violence against the person (excluding homicide)37,8871,292----
Theft and handling98,7273,366----
Sexual Offences1,74960----

(39) Missing data from Durham, Humberside and Staffordshire

(40) Missing data from South Wales

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 427W

Firearms Certificates (Wales)

Mr. Corbett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times in each of the past six months the North Wales police has inspected its firearms dealer register certificate No. 116 for the purposes of (a) the transfers of firearms and ammunition and (b) the number of grants of Section 8 authorities under the Firearms Act 1968. [144446]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I understand that the North Wales police have made no such inspections during the period concerned.

Racial Harassment (Coventry)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many recorded incidents of racial harassment there were in Coventry during 1999-2000; and what steps he is taking to combat this crime. [144189]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information on the number of racist incidents recorded by the West Midlands police will be published later this month as part of the annual publication "Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System". Separate information is not collected centrally for Coventry.

The Government have made tackling racist crime a priority. Action which is already under way includes the creation of racially aggravated offences; implementation of the Lawrence inquiry recommendations; a Home Office code of practice issued to all relevant agencies on the reporting and recording of racist incidents and crimes; and a new guide for tackling hate crime from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Hilda Murrell

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the West Mercia police on the case of Hilda Murrell; and what is the outcome of the most recent DNA tests. [142806]

Mr. Charles Clarke: No representations have been received from West Mercia Constabulary on this matter. I understand that the forensic investigation to which I have referred in previous answers is still continuing. I will be writing to my hon. Friend on this matter, as I undertook in my written answer of 30 November 2000, Official Report, column 928W.

Radar Detectors

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the radar detectors offered for sale by Roadnet; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the equipment; and what plans he has for preventing evasion of radar detectors. [144146]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office and the police are aware of the sale of these types of device, many of which make greatly exaggerated claims for their effectiveness. We have no knowledge of the particular characteristics of any such devices produced by the company Roadnet.

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 428W

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is due to commence a public consultation shortly on two draft statutory instruments which will create tough penalties for both the installation and use of such devices in a motor vehicle. The aim is to make these regulations during this session of Parliament.

Sunday Dancing

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review regulations which (a) prevent and (b) restrict community groups and parish councils organising dances on a Sunday. [144159]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Deregulation (Sunday Dancing) Order 2000, which I made on 21 December, removed the ban on organising dances on Sundays for which the public are charged for admission.


Mr. Hogg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham will receive a reply to his letters to the Minister of State, Home Office of 26 October, 9 November and 20 November, regarding Narcissa Abad and Mrs. Reid. [144121]

Mrs. Roche: The right hon. and learned Member was sent a reply on 22 December. I am sorry for the delay in providing a substantive reply.

Fire Service (Worcestershire)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of (a) the level of cover provided by the fire service in Worcestershire and (b) the central Government funding available for this service; and if he will make a statement. [144512]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The provision of fire cover is a matter for the local fire authority, in this case Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority, which was established on 1 April 1998 to cover the areas of Herefordshire district council and Worcestershire county council. Fire brigades are inspected periodically by Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate. The most recent inspection of Hereford and Worcester was made in June 1999. A copy of the inspection report is held in the Library.

The Government have responded to fire service concerns about future funding pressures by increasing the fire service element of standard spending assessments (SSAs) in England by £189.2 million over the next three years, including more than £69 million for 2001-02. Planned credit approvals for the fire service in England and Wales have been substantially increased from their present level of £35.7 million to £59.7 million in 2001-02.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority received a 3.5 per cent. increase in its fire SSA for the current financial year. Its provisional fire SSA for 2001-02 is £15.266 million, an increase of 2.4 per cent. I understand that the authority has made representations to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions about the level of its provisional SSA figure.

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 429W

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