Previous Section Index Home Page

Damilola Taylor

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the level of compensation to the parents of Damilola Taylor; and if he will review the guidance relating to levels of compensation. [157440]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Under the terms of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, the determination of individual applications is entirely a matter for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the complementary Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel. Ministers do not comment on, or intervene in, decisions in individual cases.

Under the terms of the Scheme, each qualifying relative of a murder victim receives a fixed fatal award (at level 10 of the tariff, or at level 13 if there is only one eligible claimant). Reasonable funeral expenses are also met, and additional (and sometimes very substantial) compensation is paid where there is financial dependency on the victim, or to replace the services of a murdered parent.

Contrary to the impression conveyed by some recent press coverage of this tragic case, the fixed fatal award does not put a 'value' on the life of a victim. No sum of money could reasonably do that. The fatal award is in the nature of a gesture of condolence on behalf of society. And the award is in fact more generous than the amount payable under the fatal accidents legislation.

We have just completed a thorough review of the Scheme based on the findings from a public consultation exercise that was launched in 1999. On 1 April 2001, having secured the necessary parliamentary approval in March, we brought in a wide-ranging package of improvements, worth £20 million in a full year, to what is already probably by far the most generous scheme in the world.

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 470W

Responses to the consultation exercise were evenly split on whether there should be any increase to the fixed fatal award. On balance, we decided not to recommend changes to the tariff level at which the fatal award is fixed, although the actual amount payable went up by 10 per cent. from 1 April as a result of a general up-rating of most of the tariff bands.

Wrongful Convictions

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases are awaiting a decision by the (a) Criminal Cases Review Commission and (b) Appeal Court in respect of wrongful conviction. [157444]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I understand that at the end of February 2001, the latest date for which figures are available, 1,100 cases were awaiting a decision by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Forced Marriages

Ms Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken as a result of the recent report on forced marriages. [157548]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: 'A Choice by Right', the report of the working group on forced marriage, was published in June last year. It made a number of recommendations for tackling the problem of forced marriage.

Since then we have made progress on a number of fronts. Together with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office we have developed and published a Joint Action Plan to address the overseas dimension of forced marriage. This includes gaining a better understanding of the problem, forging links with agencies overseas and looking at our own procedures for handling these cases.

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 471W

We are working with colleagues from other Government Departments and non-governmental organisations to develop a package of care for the victims of forced marriage--to give them a real choice and enable them to take appropriate action to address, or escape, the problem.

The work is being overseen by the Inter-departmental Group on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence have also agreed to take this issue within its remit. Many of the protocols and procedures aimed at tackling domestic violence are also appropriate for dealing with forced marriage.

I hope to be able to make a fuller announcement this month.

Freemasons (Police Service)

Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to make a decision on the compulsory registration of freemasonry in the police service. [157152]

Mr. Charles Clarke: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a decision as soon as possible following his consideration of the outcome of consultation with the police service about ways of achieving an acceptable rate of registration.

Criminal Records Bureau

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of (a) the number of requests for checks, (b) the income from fees and (c) the expenditure associated with running the Criminal Records Bureau in the first two years of operation; and if he will make a statement. [157172]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 April 2001]: The Criminal Records Bureau will begin to issue Standard and Enhanced Disclosures later in the current financial year. It is anticipated that demand will be at a low level initially, and will build up. Basic disclosures will not begin to be issued before the 2002-03 financial year. Cost and business projections have been based on the following levels of demand during this and the next financial year:

Enhanced disclosures1,216,7513,182,690
Standard disclosures109,526296,590
Basic disclosures02,786,350

Estimated total revenues, and the estimated total cost of operating the Bureau, during the same two years are as follows:


Estimated total revenues12,655,72763,430,902
Estimated total cost48,277,78680,425,047

On the best information available, we anticipate that, despite the low level of income initially, progressively higher income will enable recovery of the full cost of establishing and operating this new service to be achieved within a period of five years.

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 472W


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deputy lords-lieutenant are members of political parties, broken down by party. [157716]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We do not hold this information. The deputy lieutenants of a county or area are appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant. Appointments are not based on political affiliation, but on place of residence and service to the community.

Former New Towns (Police Stations)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance is provided for former new towns with a requirement for new police stations. [157702]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Police resources are allocated between all 43 forces in England and Wales according to a formula that allocates central Government supported funding to provide a standard level of service. The formula is weighted according to population, so that forces with larger populations receive more money. The socio-demographic nature of the population is also taken into account. Decisions relating to the location of police stations are operational matters for the chief constable of the force concerned.

Lay Magistrates

Mr. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the role of lay magistrates in reducing average time delays for dealing with persistent young offenders. [157565]

Mr. Charles Clarke: We welcome the valuable contribution that lay magistrates are making to reducing the time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders. The overall average has been cut from 142 days in 1996 to 89 days by January this year; and cases sentenced in the magistrates courts averaged 82 days. This represents significant progress thanks to the commitment, hard work and co-operation of all the agencies involved in youth justice.

Police Recruits

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many new police recruits there were in (a) the Thames Valley Police Force, (b) the Hertfordshire Constabulary, (c) the Essex Police Force, (d) the Kent County Constabulary, (e) the Surrey Police Force, (f) the Hampshire Constabulary, (g) the Sussex Police Force and (h) England and Wales in the period (i) 1 May 1994 to 30 April 1995, (ii) 1 May 1995 to 30 April 1996, (iii) 1 May 1996 to 30 April 1997, (iv) 1 May 1997 to 30 April 1998, (v) 1 May 1998 to 30 April 1999, (vi) 1 May 1999 to 30 April 2000 and (vii) since 1 May 2000. [151120]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Recruitment figures for constable recruits are available from January 1994 to January 2001, and are given in the table.

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 473W

EssexHampshireHertfordshireKentSurreySussexThames ValleyEngland and Wales
January 1994 to March 1995(85)11512991110981161616,386
April 1995 to March 19961062638315247326315,963
April 1996 to March 1997194357133291601672016,429
April 1997 to March 1997119201711191161352736,437
April 1998 to March 1999 9511773120138991525,292
April 1999 to March 200091148154173183981904,476
April 2000 to January 20011941911042582161652086,528

(85) Before April 1995 information was collated on a calendar year basis. The data cover the transitional 15 month period.

(86) The figures are as now provided in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin on Police Service Strength. Numbers are mainly new recruits, but also include those who have previously been police constables in non-Home Office forces and any who may have previously left and subsequently rejoined the service.

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 473W

Next Section Index Home Page