Previous Section Index Home Page


Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the Government's plans to increase the powers of and the resources available to HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. [1244]

Mr. Denham: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has a broad remit to inspect and report to the Secretary of State on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces in England and Wales, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service. Under the Local Government Act 1999 these powers were extended to cover the inspection of best value in police authorities. The Police Act 1996 provided that the Secretary of State may direct the inspectors of constabulary to carry out other duties for the purpose of furthering police efficiency and effectiveness. Under this provision, from April 2001, the inspectorate has additionally been tasked with

4 Jul 2001 : Column: 200W

inspecting, over a five-year period, every police basic command unit (BCU) in England and Wales. There are no plans at present to further increase the powers of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

Budgetary allocation for the inspectorate in 2001–02 is just over £7.7 million. This includes £1 million for the additional costs associated with the BCU inspections.

Group Family Five Areas

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what resources have been allocated to each Group Family Five area; and what the level of crime is in each such area, broken down by standard category, since 1997. [1136]

Mr. Denham: Resource allocation for basic command units within police forces is a matter for each chief constable. The information is not held centrally.

Recorded crime statistics at basic command unit level are available from April 1999 onwards. They are contained in the Home Office Statistical Bulletins "Recorded Crime Statistics" published on 18 January 2000, 18 July 2000 and 16 January 2001, copies of which are available in the Library.

James Ashley

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for a public inquiry into the fatal shooting of James Ashley by police on 15 January 1998; and if he will make a statement. [263]

Mr. Denham: In the debate on the Address on 27 June, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said he hoped that with the continuing work of the Police Complaints

4 Jul 2001 : Column: 201W

Authority and the considerable help of the Police Authority itself, we will be able to make sense of the matter without a further public inquiry.

It will be important to ensure that all necessary lessons are learnt from this tragic incident so that the possibility of similar events taking place in Sussex or other forces are minimised.

I will want to listen to the concerns of the Ashley family, and I will be meeting them on 4 July.

Postal Robberies

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many robberies of (a) post offices and (b) Royal Mail vehicles there were in each police division in the year 2000; and if he will estimate the total sum stolen. [976]

Mr. Denham: The requested information is not collected centrally. Data for recorded robberies involving the use of firearms indicate that there were 315 such robberies in post offices in the year ending March 2000. No details of the sums stolen are available.

Police Numbers (North Yorkshire)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in North Yorkshire on (a) 1 May 1997, (b) 1 May 1998, (c) 1 May 1999, (d) 1 May 2000, (e) 1 May 2001, (f) projected figures for 1 May 2002 and (g) 1 May 2003. [35]

Mr. Denham: Police numbers are normally reported half-yearly, for 30 September and 31 March. Figures for North Yorkshire from 31 March 1997 to 31 March 2001, the most recent figures available, are given in the table.

Number
31 March 19971,338
31 March 19981,367
31 March 19991,337
31 March 20001,283
31 March 20011,305

North Yorkshire police estimate that officer numbers will reach 1,420 by March 2002. The force has no projections for the following year.

Huntingdon Life Sciences

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the procedures for protecting the staff of Huntingdon Life Sciences. [2020]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 3 July 2001]: It would not be in the interests of those concerned to offer such an assessment.

Police Pensions

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to reform the criteria for awards of medical pensions in the police. [2224]

4 Jul 2001 : Column: 202W

Mr. Denham [holding answer 3 July 2001]: I will be considering a number of issues in relation to medical pensions within the police pension scheme in the coming months.

HMP Garth

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact in the reduction in the number of prison officers at HMP Garth on the rehabilitation programme for sex offenders. [2023]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 3 July 2001]: Her Majesty's Prison Garth does not hold sex offenders for long periods of time and therefore there is no rehabilitation programme for sex offenders at Garth prison. The sex offender treatment programme (SOTP) does operate at Wymott prison, which is adjacent to Garth. The proposed reduction in the number of prison officers at Wymott will not have any impact on completion of SOTP courses.

Certificate of Identity

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which European Union member states refuse to accept the certificate of identity as a valid travel document; [1102]

Angela Eagle: The Home Office certificate of identity (CID) is a travel document issued to foreign nationals who are resident in the United Kingdom and cannot obtain a passport from their national authorities. The majority of people issued with CIDs have applied unsuccessfully for asylum, but subsequently been granted exceptional leave to remain for a limited period. Between 1 May 1997 and 7 June 2001, the Home Office issued 58,454 CIDs. Separate records are not kept of the number of CIDs issued to persons with current exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom as opposed to those with indefinite leave to remain.

The certificate of identity is issued on a discretionary basis, not under an international convention. European Union member states are not obliged to recognise the document. Those member states which do not do so, and generally do not issue travel visas to CID holders, include France, Germany, Greece and Spain.

Sexual Offences

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to announce his conclusions following public consultation on possible changes to the law on sexual offences. [2217]

4 Jul 2001 : Column: 203W

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 3 July 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) on 27 June 2001, Official Report, column 99W.

Police Reform

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his plans to reform police practices, specifying which reforms will and will not require primary legislation. [1501]

Mr. Denham: The police reform programme will 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 and identify where legislation is required.

Illegal Drugs

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to increase the severity of sentencing for individuals found in possession of larger quantities of illegal drugs; and if he will make a statement. [1455]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Within the broad statutory limits set by Parliament, sentences in individual cases are a matter for the courts alone, taking into account all the circumstances of the offences and the offender, including all mitigating and aggravating factors. The current maximum penalties for possession of controlled drugs are seven years, five years and two years respectively for class A, B and C. The Government believe these maximum penalties are appropriate and have no plans to increase them.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to establish an independent inquiry into the classification of illegal drugs; and if he will make a statement. [1375]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I have no such plans. There is already a statutory, independent body to advise the Government on the classification of illegal drugs—the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).


Next Section Index Home Page