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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what specific role mobile police stations will play in reducing crime; if they will replace (a) officers on the beat and (b) high-speed police cars; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: A number of forces are using mobile police stations for increased visibility and accessibility, to reduce fear of crime, to enhance policing in rural areas, and as mobile custody units.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement reconciling the figures for numbers of North Yorkshire police in (a) the answer of the Minister of State, Home Office, the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), of 18 January 2001, Official Report, column 352W, and (b) the recent press statement made by North Yorkshire Police Authority. 
The Chief Constable of North Yorkshire police has advised me that for March 2002 the force projects that it will have increased its numbers to 1,420 police officers. This figure was announced by the force in its press statement of 9 January.
This increase includes 43 officers to be recruited through the Crime Fighting Fund, 60 officers to be recruited through the Rural Policing Fund, the remainder being part of normal planned force recruitment.
Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the levels of spending on police services in (a) Staffordshire and (b) each other county of England (i) in the current year and (ii) in each of the last three years. 
|Avon and Somerset||152,673||162,726||174,336||181,210|
|City of London||57,893||60,350||57,852||58,947|
|Devon and Cornwall||155,435||166,330||175,055||182,873|
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Police Statistics Actuals for 1997-98 to 1999-2000 and Estimates for 2000-01
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Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those prison establishments in which there have been changes at governor level, including changes involving those acting as governor for one month or more, over the last five years, the date upon which each such change took place, the name of the governor leaving and the name of his or her replacement in each case. 
Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 12 February 2001]: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that before the boundary changes with the Hertfordshire constabulary on 1 April 2000 Hertsmere was part of the Barnet division. It is not possible to identify separately the number of police officers who policed Hertsmere.
I am told by the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire that for the financial year 2000-01 the Hertsmere division has an establishment of 139 police officers. On 31 January 2001 the actual number of officers available to police Hertsmere was 131 officers.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if it is his policy for a record note to be kept of representations made by Ministers about an individual application for naturalisation; 
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Mrs. Roche [holding answer 8 February 2001]: The level at which naturalisation applications are determined varies according to the nature and complexity of the case. The majority, however, are decided by administrative officer caseworkers.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria govern whether an application for naturalisation is referred for personal determination by (a) the Secretary of State and (b) a Minister. 
Mrs. Roche [holding answer 8 February 2001]: Applications are referred to Ministers if they are likely to be controversial or sensitive or if they raise complex issues or questions of security. Whether the Secretary of State will decide an application will depend on the circumstances of the individual case, although he will see referrals where the key issue is one concerning security.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the systematic detention of asylum seekers coming directly from their country of origin or an unsafe third country with the 1951 UN convention on refugees and the 1999 UNHCR guidelines on applicable criteria and standards relating to the detention of asylum seekers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche [holding answer 12 February 2001]: Detention of asylum seekers is used as a last resort and no one is detained simply because he or she has claimed asylum. However, detention may be appropriate in the following circumstances; in order to establish identity or basis of claim; where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the subject will fail to comply with the terms of temporary admission or release; or where removal is imminent.
Unaccompanied children are detained only in the most exceptional circumstances. We are therefore satisfied that our detention policy is consistent with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees criteria.
Mrs. Roche: All asylum applications, regardless of the applicant's nationality, are considered in accordance with the criteria set out in the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees. To qualify for asylum a person must be outside his/her country of nationality and have a well founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social
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group or political opinion. Those who meet these criteria are granted asylum; those who do not meet the requirements of the 1951 convention may nevertheless be granted exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom if there are exceptional compelling humanitarian reasons why they should not be required to leave.
Those who do not qualify for asylum or exceptional leave to remain and have no other basis on which to remain are required to leave the United Kingdom. The process for considering an asylum claim does not involve us taking a view on whether an applicant is an "economic migrant".
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what means the United Kingdom Government ensures the welfare of asylum seekers who are not permanently admitted into the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 introduced new support arrangements for asylum seekers. Under these new arrangements all new eligible destitute asylum seekers may be supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). This support is mainly in kind and includes accommodation where requested. Asylum seekers whose claims have been finally determined as unfounded are not eligible for NASS support. However, families with children under the age of 18 will be supported by NASS until they leave the country.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the process by which decisions are made on the applications of asylum-seekers in the United Kingdom, including the reference to the officials who are responsible for the decisions. 
The officers consider applications against the criteria set out in the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees; each claim is examined individually on its merits. The caseworking officers have access to detailed country assessments to support them when considering asylum claims.
Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to send the result of the decisions on asylum for (a) Mr. M. (HO Ref: RV181199167) and (b) Mr. A. (HO Ref: A522615). 
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of asylum applicants who have been refused refugee status or exceptional leave to remain sought to appeal against that decision in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mrs. Roche [holding answer 12 February 2001]: The information is not available in the form requested. In the year 2000, there were 78,180 initial decisions to refuse asylum and exceptional leave to remain. Also in the year 2000, there were 46,190 appeals lodged with the Home Office. However, these appeals will not all necessarily relate to decisions made in the same year. These figures are subject to revision.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken for asylum applicants to receive an initial decision on their asylum application is; and if he will make a statement. 
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