Previous Section Index Home Page


Violent Crime (Wales)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations he has held on measures to reduce violent crimes against the person and street crimes in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [148648]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have held no specific consultations on measures to reduce violent crimes against the person and street crimes in Wales alone. The measures which the Government are taking to tackle violent crime across England and Wales are set out in "Fighting violent crime together: an action plan", published in January, based on a wide range of consultation and partnership working across the country. Our strategy is based on improving support for victims, better policing, more effective punishment and tackling the causes of crime.

7 Feb 2001 : Column: 614W

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he intends to take to reduce violent crimes against the person and street crimes in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [148647]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government are committed to reducing violent crime and the fear of violent crime and to ensuring that individuals and communities are protected and feel safe. We are working in partnership with the police and other agencies, both in England and Wales, on a wide range of ways of tackling violent crime, underpinned by our overall strategy, "Fighting violent crime together: an action plan", published in January.

The Government are putting in place the investment to make sure that the police have the resources they need. Under the crime fighting fund, the Welsh police forces have been allocated 422 additional recruits over and above previous plans, over a three-year period from 2000 to 2003.

Under the Government's Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, the Welsh police forces are working with other agencies to put in place a number of initiatives to tackle violent crime, notably alcohol-related violence.

Last year, the Home Office awarded the South Wales Constabulary a grant of £498,000 to the Cardiff street violence reduction project, with the aim of reducing alcohol-related violence. This will involve collecting more comprehensive and better quality information as to the essence of street violence in Cardiff gathered from a variety of agencies including the accident and emergency department at the hospital; acting on information either co-operatively or punitively so as to control environments; establishing a licensees' forum; establishing an awareness campaign; and providing victims with referral to community health care services and victim support.

Sussex Police

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the actual strength was of the Sussex Police for each quarter since 1995. [148355]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 2 February 2001]: Information on police numbers for England and Wales are collected on a six-monthly basis (March and September). Six-monthly strength figures for the Sussex Police are set out in the table.

Sussex Police--numbers since March 1995

Year31 March30 September
19952,9313,020
19963,0743,097
19973,0853,040
19982,9962,924
19992,8472,909
20002,8222,812

Part of the reduction in police numbers since 1997 was a consequence of the Chief Constable's decision to civilianise a significant number of police posts. Between 31 March 1997 and 30 September 2000 the number of civilian support staff in the Sussex Police increased by 256 to 1,405.

7 Feb 2001 : Column: 615W

Crime Statistics, (South Gloucester)

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what statistics he collates on levels and types of crime and over what period for the area covered by the South Gloucestershire Unitary Authority since 1979. [148741]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office has been collecting and publishing data relating to Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Police Basic Command Units, which include South Gloucestershire, for the period since 1 April 1999. The data include the number of offences and the rates per 1,000 population for the six subject areas of violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary of a dwelling, theft of vehicles and theft from vehicles. Also included is the number of burglaries of a dwelling per 1,000 households, and the number and proportion of the above offences which are cleared up in each Basic Command Unit. The most recently available information was published on 16 January 2001 in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin number 1-01, "Recorded Crime, England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000", which is available in the Library.

Cemeteries

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cemeteries there are in England; how many are full; if he intends more land to be made over to this use; and if he will make a statement. [148399]

Mr. Boateng: Details of the number and remaining capacity of cemeteries in England are not held centrally by the Home Office. I propose to hold a consultation exercise later this year to consider ways of meeting future demands for burial facilities, and will take account of the findings of the current inquiry into cemeteries by the Environment Sub-Committee of the Select Committee on the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs.

Deportation (Prisoners)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent involvement his Department has had with high commissioners and ambassadors based in the UK concerning nationals from their country being held in prison in the UK awaiting deportation; and if he will make a statement. [148894]

Mr. Boateng: A Prison Service seminar for consular and embassy staff, in co-operation with the Foreign Nationals Unit of Middlesex Probation Service, to consider training and other issues of general interest or concern is normally held annually. The last seminar was on 20 June 2000 and the next event will be held on 22 February 2001.

The United Kingdom is a signatory to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. This requires the disclosure of information on foreign national prisoners to those countries with which bilateral consular conventions or agreements requiring notification of the arrest and detention of their nationals are in force. However, these arrangements do not apply when it is known that a foreign national is seeking asylum in this country or is detained under the Immigration Act 1971 and is representing on political, religious or ethnic grounds that they should not be deported or removed. In such circumstances no

7 Feb 2001 : Column: 616W

notification should be sent to the consular officer, nor should the foreign national be allowed to communicate with a consular officer until directions have been obtained from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. It would not be appropriate to disclose details of individual cases of foreign nationals being held in prison awaiting deportation.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period a person currently being held in prison in England and Wales awaiting deportation has been held. [148895]

Mr. Boateng: On 31 December 2000, there were 101 people held in prison in England and Wales who were recorded as awaiting deportation. The longest period any of these persons had been held awaiting deportation was 282 days, having been held since 24 March 2000.

Life Prisoners

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) men and (b) women were serving a life prison sentence in prisons in England and Wales on 1 January. [148919]

Mr. Boateng: Provisional information for the 31 December 2000 shows that 4,521 men and 160 women were serving a life prison sentence in prisons in England and Wales at that time.

Prison Education

Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what level of expenditure in each prison budget was used for educational purposes (a) as a percentage of a prison's overall budget and (b) per prisoner; in each year since 1992. [149051]

Mr. Boateng: Information is not available in the form requested. The tables, copies of which have been placed in the Library, set out operational spend for each prison (i.e. excluding any capital expenditure), spend on certain separately identifiable areas of education spend, covering payments to education providers and purchase of education materials, and the figure produced when that spend is divided by the average population for each prison in that year. These cover the financial years 1995-96 to 1999-2000; information for earlier years is not readily available; neither is information on education costs at private sector prisons. It should be noted that the figures for 1999-2000 are on a slightly different basis to those for earlier years due to differences in accounting procedure, in that they do not include VAT refunds.

Misuse of Drugs Act

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will respond to the report on the Police Foundation inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. [149425]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I wrote to Viscountess Runciman, Chairman of this Inquiry, today enclosing a memorandum setting out the Government's response. I have written in similar terms to the Home Affairs Committee which had also sought the Government's views on the report. A copy of the response has been placed in the Library. I understand that the Home Affairs

7 Feb 2001 : Column: 617W

Committee has decided to publish this response today as its second special report HC 226 and this is available on www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/hmafhome.htm.


Next Section Index Home Page