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Departmental Policies (Eccles)

Mr. Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Eccles constituency, the effects on Eccles of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [157286]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of responsibilities is set out in Home Office Annual Reports. A copy of the most recent report, Home Office Annual Report 2000-01, is available in the Library. Information on recorded crime and policing is also published. "Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000" and "Police Service Strength England and Wales, 30 September 2000" can be found in the Library. The recorded crime statistics include information on recorded crime by Basic Command Unit and Crime and Disorder partnerships.

The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects, such as recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested although set out are examples relating to the Eccles constituency or the immediate locality:

Reducing Burglary Initiative

Greater Manchester police in partnership with Salford city council were awarded approximately £253,000 for two schemes under round 2 of the Reducing Burglary Initiative.

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One scheme for Pendlebury, Swinton Town Center, Valley Estate and Swinton Park was awarded nearly £80,000. The main interventions proposed are target hardening; community mobilisation; targeted policing and property marking.

One scheme covering Peel Green, Patricroft, Salford was awarded £173,000. The main interventions proposed are target hardening; a landlord accreditation service; community mobilisation and environmental resistance.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Salford city council has one scheme, potentially worth over £411,000, shortlisted for further consideration under round 2 of the CCTV Initiative. The scheme would cover parts of the Salford and Eccles constituencies.

Youth Offending

Eccles is covered by the Salford Youth Offending Team (YOT). While crime and fear of crime remain the most significant issue for communities, considerable progress has been made in the City during the past year, with the largest reduction of recorded crime within all of Greater Manchester. Total recorded crime reduced by 5.4 per cent, including a reduction in domestic burglary of 19 per cent., other burglary of 13 per cent. and a reduction in vehicle crime of 7 per cent. These figures indicate the success of a range of initiatives, such as the burglary reduction programmes. They reflect the determination of the partnership to continue in its multi-agency approach to the reduction of crime.

The Salford Youth Inclusion Project (YIP) is located in Seedley/Langworthy. The project started in July 2000 and receives up to £75,000 a year under the Youth Inclusion Programme. The objectives of YIP, administered by the Youth Justice Board are to: reduce arrest rates in the target group by 60 per cent.; reduce recorded crime in the area by 30 per cent. and achieve at least 1-3 reduction in truancy and exclusions among the target young people. YIPs provide targeted assistance to a core group of 13 to 16-year-olds most at risk of offending and school exclusion.

The Salford YIP is already working with 15-20 young people in this high-risk target group and over 60 young people more generally. The Salford YIP offers young people a robust assessment of their personal and training needs and an individually tailored package of assistance. This may include: mentoring; sports activity; arts and craft sessions themed around consequences of offending behaviour; education and training and pre- employment support and social skills development and health sessions.

The Salford YIP has successfully supported three of the 10 young people identified at most risk, into employment. A further two have taken up part-time employment. Five of the eight most persistent truants in the area have returned to school and a further group of at risk young people have taken up volunteering opportunities, continued into further education or joined the Army Cadets.

More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Eccles to a greater or lesser extent. For example:

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Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website

Stuart Howarth

Mr. Woolas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Prison Service authorities to move Stuart Howarth (Et 7916) to an open prison; and what representations he has received concerning the appropriateness of the prison location where he is serving his sentence. [157229]

Mr. Boateng: No. The categorisation and allocation of prisoners is a matter for the Director General of the Prison Service. The Prison Service carries out the categorisation of prisoners according to a rigorous and objective assessment of the risk they present, and in accordance with established guidelines. These assessments are best carried out by those on the ground, but I can say that under the Prison Service Order on categorisation and allocation, a prisoner sentenced to more than 12 months for an offence of violence would not normally be regarded as suitable for category D (open conditions) on initial categorisation.

Mr. Howarth was sentenced on 27 March 2001, and following receipt of the necessary reports from the police and probation services and others, he will be categorised according to the likelihood that he will seek to escape and the risk that he would pose should he do so. Mr. Howarth's custodial behaviour and the risk he poses to control will also be taken into consideration.

Mr. Howarth's allocation to a prison establishment will depend on his security category, the need to make the best possible use of available spaces in training prisons, and his particular needs. I have not received any representations concerning the appropriateness of his current prison location. Furthermore, I understand from the governor of Manchester prison that Mr. Howarth has not made any representations locally about his location.

Immigration Rules

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on changes to the immigration rules to facilitate the entry into the UK of information technology and e-commerce specialists. [157695]

Mrs. Roche: The Government have made a number of changes in the immigration system in order to facilitate the entry into the United Kingdom of highly skilled people.

The results of a fundamental review of the work permit system, operated by the Department for Education and Employment, were announced in the 2000 Budget statement and a range of measures have been introduced to streamline the system over the last year. This has led to a number of changes facilitating the entry of information technology and e-commerce specialists. For example, the skills shortages list, which makes it easier to obtain a permit where no European Economic Area (EEA) resident

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is available to fill a post, has been updated to include more information technology and e-commerce jobs. Additionally, to ensure that the system responds quickly to shortages, a sector panel for the Information Technology Communications and Electronics industry has been established. Also, to be eligible for a work permit, two years' post-graduate work experience is no longer needed, thereby enabling non-EEA students with specialist skills to work immediately after graduation in the UK.

Other changes include a pilot scheme, launched by the Home Office in September 2000, to attract more business innovators to the UK. It is aimed at those entrepreneurs looking to develop business ideas in the service and technology sectors, especially e-commerce, even if they do not have substantial amounts of their own money to invest. 38 applications have so far been approved.

We are also developing a scheme designed to allow individuals of outstanding ability to come to the UK to seek work. This will help the UK in competing for highly skilled workers.

Security Service

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to recruit officers for the Security Service at universities other than Oxford, Cambridge and London. [157330]

Mr. Straw: The Security Service is committed to a policy of equal opportunity. The Service advertises in the national press and in media specifically offering employment opportunities for graduates from any higher education establishment, and not specific universities. Of those graduates recruited for the year 2000-01 as intelligence desk officers, at least 74 per cent. graduated from universities other than Oxford, Cambridge or London.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members of each ethnic group are employed in senior grades of the Security Service; and what proportion each grade represents of the total. [157331]

Mr. Straw: Currently, all senior employees in the Security Service, equivalent to Senior Civil Service grades, are white. The number of such employees represents 1.4 per cent. of total staffing

The Security Service has been working to raise its profile as an employer among under-represented groups, for example through the use of carefully targeted advertising. The Service is determined, through continuing recruitment campaigns, to have a work force that fully reflects the society that it defends.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of employees in senior grades in the Security Service are women. [157332]

Mr. Straw: Currently, 13.8 per cent. of the senior grades in the Security Service, that is grades equivalent to Senior Civil Service grades, are women.

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