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2 Jul 2001 : Column: 58W
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I welcome the introduction of a mobile police office in north Yorkshire, which was launched on 29 May this year. It will give a high-visibility police presence in rural areas. The cost of the police office will be covered by a £186,000 grant from the Government's Targeted Policing Initiative.
We are already promoting the use of common equipment and methods through, for example, the support given to the countrywide adoption of Airwave and the roll-out of the National Intelligence Model. Work in hand as part of the police reform process will consider what more can be done to ensure cross-border working.
Mr. Denham: As I said in response to a question from the hon. Member for Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson) answered on 27 June 2001, Official Report, column 97W, the police and local authorities have powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to direct travellers or other trespassers to leave land when the appropriate statutory requirements are met. We have no plans to amend this legislation at present, although its effectiveness is kept under review. But the reduction of antisocial behaviour, by whoever it may be committed, is a prime objective of the Government, and our strategy for tackling it is set out in the Report of Policy Action Team 8 on AntiSocial Behaviour.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice he offers to the police and local authorities on the removal of unauthorised traveller encampments, with special reference to nuisance to the general public; and if he will make inquiries into the persistence of a rave beginning on 22 June at Borough Hill, Daventry. 
2 Jul 2001 : Column: 59W
Mr. Denham: Both the police and local authorities have powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to direct travellers or other trespassers to leave land when the appropriate statutory requirements are met. These are discretionary powers and it is the operational responsibility of the chief officer of the force concerned to decide when and how to enforce these powers.
The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire police informs me that about 1,000 people attended the illegal rave at Borough Hill, which began on Saturday 23 June and lasted until the afternoon of Monday 25 June. I understand that it was not considered practicable in the circumstances to bring the event to a conclusion before Monday. Police have since met with council officials to discuss the problems caused by this event and the strategies needed to be put in place to prevent any recurrence and have held a public meeting with residents to discuss the issues arising from the incident and to reassure them should anything similar happen in the future.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the implications for the administrative workload of the police of the introduction of victim personal statements. 
Mr. Denham: The police, and other criminal justice services, were closely involved in the design of the victim personal statement scheme, and every effort was made to keep the procedures as simple and straightforward as possible for victims and police alike. It is difficult to assess what additional administrative effort may be needed to run the scheme, since factors such as the level of take-up by victims and the nature and content of the statements made will clearly play a part. However, both the introduction of the scheme in October and its subsequent operation will be carefully monitored and evaluated.
Mr. Denham: The police reform programme aims to deliver a modern police service providing the highest standards of detective capability, public reassurance, scientific and technical support, leadership, and modern working practices to secure reductions in crime and in the fear of crime. Discussions are continuing with representative police organisations to determine the best ways of delivering these goals.
Police effectiveness will be supported by the continuation of the Best Value regime and by the new Standards Unit, for which I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 25 June 2001, Official Report, column 48W.
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Angela Eagle: The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 does not specify a date by which Part III has to be implemented. While it was not proposed to implement Part III before October 2001, the actual implementation date is currently under review and a final decision has yet to be taken.
Angela Eagle: The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Part V Exemption: Educational Institutions and Health Sector Bodies) Order (SI 2001 No. 1403) and the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Part V Exemption: Eligible Voluntary Bodies and Relevant Employers) Order (SI 2001 No. 1393) have been made under section 84(4)(d) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Both Orders were laid before Parliament on 9 April 2001 and came into force on 30 April 2001.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to write to the hon. Member for Hertsmere following the meeting on 3 April between the hon. Member for Hertsmere, members of Hertsmere borough council and the former Minister of State for the Home Office, the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke). 
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to involve representatives of specialist non-governmental organisations in the review of the coroner system; and how he will ensure the participation of NGOs from Northern Ireland in the review. 
Beverley Hughes: The review will need to take evidence from a wide range of relevant experts and representative bodies. To help with this, it is intended that the review should work with a reference group of appropriate organisations, including non-governmental organisations in Northern Ireland. These are matters which I propose to discuss with the review chair following the appointment which I hope to announce shortly.
2 Jul 2001 : Column: 61W
Mr. Keith Bradley: The Government have introduced procedural reforms which were implemented in November 1999, which require that any person (with or without previous convictions) who is charged with an offence must be brought before a magistrates court without delay. As a result the average time from charge to first listing has fallen from 20 days in June 1999 to six days in March 2001. Further action is under way to speed up the progress of cases from their first appearance until completion.
Under s.51 of the Crime and Disorder Act, which was brought into effect nationally on 15 January 2001, cases involving adults charged with indictable-only offences are no longer subject to committal proceedings but must be sent straight to the Crown court from a first appearance before the magistrates. Although no data are yet available, it is hoped that these serious cases will as a result be brought to trial more quickly.
In addition, good progress has been made towards halving the time taken from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders: the national average fell from 142 days in 1996 to 83 days in March 2001.
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