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Police Recruitment

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the total number of police officers that will have been recruited in England and Wales by the end of the financial year arising from money allocated for police recruitment from the Crime Fighting Fund; and if he will make a statement. [142599]

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Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 15 December 2000]: Under the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF), 3,000 additional police officers have been allocated to police forces in England and Wales, over and above their existing recruitment plans for 2000-01.

Returns from forces suggest that 2,750 recruits deemed to be CFF officers will have been recruited by 31 March 2000.

The number of recruits deemed to be CFF officers is calculated as a proportion of total recruitment. Total recruitment may vary depending on the success of forces in attracting applicants and processing applications. If total recruitment for the year varies from force projections, the number of deemed CFF officers may also change.

Crime Fighting Fund

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of the money for tackling crime announced on 27 March 2000 has been spent. [145557]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Of the additional £285 million which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 27 March 2000 for tackling crime and the causes of crime, nearly £243 million was specifically allocated to the Home Office.

Expenditure as at 31 December against that allocation was just under £51 million.

Expenditure on many of the projects for which money was allocated was not scheduled to begin until 2001-02.

Police (Costs)

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimates he has made of the national cost to the Police service of (a) pay, (b) pensions, (c) capital financing and (d) national crime fighting agency levies, in (i) 2000-01 and (ii) 2001-02; [145019]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Detailed estimates of police service costs are made annually by individual police authorities and forces. Each makes its own projections to pay and pensions' costs. In formulating projections of the total financial provision the Government are able to support, careful account is taken of advice from the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers of emerging trends. Account is also taken of estimated pay inflation and pension costs.

Total Standard Spending (TSS) for 2000-01 is £7,354.2 million. The provision TSS for 2001-02 is £7,731.8 million, an increase of 5.1 per cent. in cash terms of 2.6 per cent. in real terms. Allocation between police authorities of TSS is by formula, and is unhypothecated.

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I make no estimates of an average cost to local police forces of individual parts of the overall settlement.

The police services received £144.43 million in capital grants and supplementary credit approvals in 2000-01. Provision was made in the Spending Review for a further £13 million in supplementary credit approval in 2001-02, making £157.43 million in total. This is an increase of 9 per cent. in cash or 6.3 per cent. in real terms. In addition to their share of this direct central provision and support, police authorities may incur additional capital expenditure from their own resources.

Levies for the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service totalled £148.97 million in 2000-01. For 2001-02 they will be £163.54 million. This is an increase of 9.8 per cent. in cash or 7.1 per cent. in real terms.

Crime Statistics (Lancaster and Wyre)

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reductions have been achieved in each category of crime in Lancaster and Wyre constituency since 1 May 1997. [145615]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 22 January 2001]: The Lancashire constabulary have provided information on the numbers of recorded crimes for this area for the years ending March 1997 and March 2000, which is given in the table. It should be noted that there was a change in counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which means that direct comparisons cannot be made between data for before and after this date. Nationally, the change in counting rules impacted most on violence against the person (which, for example, now includes common assault and assault on a constable), fraud and forgery, and drug and other offences, the latter two of which are combined here as "other" offences. The numbers of recorded crimes in these three categories were inflated nationally by the change in counting rules by 118 per cent., 61 per cent. and 215 per cent. respectively. The change in counting rules resulted in an increase in overall recorded crime figures of 14 per cent. for England and Wales as a whole.

Lancaster and Wyre parliamentary constituency--recorded crime

Year ending
March 1997March 2000
(Number of offences)(Number of offences)Percentage change
Violence against the person5301,321149
Sexual offences10674-30
Theft and handling8,1996,605-19
Fraud and forgery4514837
Criminal damage1,9503,21865
Other offences219691216

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the asylum applications awaiting an initial decision have been outstanding for (a) between six months and one year, (b) between one and two years and (c) more than two years. [145434]

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Mrs. Roche: The information is not available in the form requested. As at the end of November (the latest date for which figures are available) the number of asylum applications made within the previous six months where a decision has not been made was approximately 25,500. The number of asylum applications made more than six months ago where a decision has not been made is estimated to be 44,400.

A very small number of cases involving applications made before 1996 continue to be identified although the vast majority have been dealt with. These cases are being decided as a high priority.

Any further information could be obtained only by examination of individual case records and is, therefore available only at disproportionate cost.


Children's Fund

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will announce the areas that have been selected to participate in the first wave of the Children's Fund. [146858]

Mr. Boateng: I am pleased to announce today the 40 areas that have been selected to benefit from the first allocations of the Children's Fund, amounting to £194 million over three years.

The Children's Fund is an important element of the Government's wider strategy to tackle child poverty and social exclusion. It is run by the interdepartmental Children and Young People's Unit, based in DfEE. £380 million is available over three years to fund services to prevent children and their families suffering the consequences of poverty. It will form part of a range of measures to ensure that vulnerable children get the best start in life, remain on track in their early years, flourish in secondary school and choose to stay on in education and training at 16.

The 40 areas across England, which have been invited to participate in the first wave of the fund, include those with the highest levels of need and disadvantage among children and young people along with some areas of particular disadvantage associated with rural and coastal areas. By April 2004 all areas across England will have access to the fund.

The amount of funding each area will be able to apply for will reflect the numbers of children in poverty in each area, but will vary according to the content and quality of the proposals. A typical amount an average area could receive might be between £1.5 to £2 million each year over three years.

Guidance outlining the first steps necessary to establish a Children's Fund has today been sent to each area invited to participate in the first wave. Each area will develop preventive services for children between 5-13 and their families. By intervening early we can help children before they are caught by the cycle of poverty and disadvantage. The types of services areas will be asked to develop include mentoring support, counselling and advice services, parent education, out of school activities and

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work with individual children through multidisciplinary teams in schools or health centres. The following areas have been invited to participate:

Where a Children's Fund area is also developing a project under the On Track programme aimed at children at risk of getting involved in crime, it will be incorporated into the Children's Fund. On Track projects which currently fall outside the first wave of Children's Fund areas will continue to receive funding as planned.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have written to the right hon. and hon. Members in whose constituencies these areas fall.

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