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Climate Change Levy

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review the operation of the Climate Change Levy; and if he will make a statement. [16499]

Mr. Boateng: As with all taxes, the Climate Change Levy is reviewed as part of the normal Budget process.


Armed Police

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is given to armed police to deal with firearms situations involving suspects suffering from mental illness. [16686]

Mr. Denham: The basic training that all new recruits receive includes an element that raises awareness of mental illness and highlights the importance of communicating effectively and sensitively with people suffering from a mental disorder. Individual forces also provide further training for their officers on these issues. Details are not held centrally of all such local provision.

The Association of Chief Police Officers Manual of Guidance on police use of firearms recognises that people suffering from mental illness may not realise the seriousness of the situation they are in or respond 'normally' to conventional negotiating strategies. The guidance stresses the importance of police negotiators, armed officers and Firearms Incident Commanders having an understanding of people who suffer from mental illness and suggests some actions which may reduce the risk of firearms use. It also stresses that a person's impairment does not reduce the potential harm they may inflict if the incident is not resolved, and that it is the role of the police to deal with the threat irrespective of motive.

It is important that the Government should continue to explore with the police all possible options for ensuring that officers are able to deal with such incidents effectively and in a way that protects the public and police officers.

In conjunction with the Association of Chief Police Officers and Northern Ireland Office, we are currently reviewing, as a matter of priority, the range of 'less lethal' alternatives to firearms. As one would expect, all have differing levels of risk and effectiveness associated with them, and any advantages of such alternatives have to be properly and fully assessed against any disadvantages.

In addition, under section 79(1) of the Police Act 1996, I have asked the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to report on the lessons to be learned from investigations supervised by them since January 1998 into incidents in which police shootings occurred and which resulted in death or injury. The PCA have begun work on this review, and I have asked them to report within six months. The report will be laid before Parliament and published.


Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what quality control systems are in place to ensure the accurate retrieval of fingerprints found at the scene of a crime. [16951]

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Mr. Denham: The training of a fingerprint expert requires that before that person is registered as an expert, he/she must be competent to deal with the process for retrieval of fingerprints from a scene of crime, together with accurate recording of that process. That process includes a requirement to take a Polaroid photograph indicating precisely where the fingerprint has been lifted from and sign across edge of the tape once the fingerprint has been lifted. The essential steps to ensure the probity and continuity of the exhibited fingerprint have been tried and tested within the Criminal Justice System on countless occasions. They meet the high standards of integrity required by our courts.

15 Forces have the ISO9002 Quality Standard for its procedures and have attained that quality standard. The remainder have met an agreed national Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) standard which is audited at least once a year by an independent audit process.

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the fingerprint service in the United Kingdom. [16952]

Mr. Denham: I do not have plans to review the fingerprint service in the United Kingdom. The Association of Chief Police Officers created a Project Group to review the fingerprint evidential standard in 1996. Only after a meticulous programme of work spanning five years, including a comprehensive review of the processes and procedures within all 42 fingerprint bureaux in the 43 Forces in England and Wales, was the evidential standard changed on 11 July 2001.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress towards the public service agreement target for removing failed asylum seekers. [16922]

Angela Eagle: The public service agreement target is to enforce the immigration laws more effectively by removing a greater proportion of failed asylum seekers. Latest information on performance against the target will be published in the 'Asylum Statistics Q3 2001 United Kingdom' on 30 November.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress towards the public service agreement target for improving the satisfaction of victims and witnesses with their treatment in the criminal justice system. [17059]

Mr. Keith Bradley: The 2000 British Crime Survey showed that 58 per cent. of victims were satisfied with their treatment by the criminal justice system. An equivalent figure from the 2001 British Crime Survey is awaited.

The 2000 Witness Satisfaction, which was the first national survey of witnesses, showed that 75 per cent. of witnesses were very or fairly satisfied with the treatment they received. A similar survey in 2002 will show whether the proportion of satisfied witnesses has increased.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the public service agreement target for efficiency savings in the Police Service. [17308]

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Mr. Denham: I am pleased to say that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has reported that all 43 police forces in England and Wales achieved the two per cent. efficiency savings required in 2000–01 under the public service agreement. The requirement included an obligation for efficiency gains to be used for the benefit of front line policing. A copy of the HMIC report is in the Library.

UK Youth Parliament

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will respond to the manifesto submitted to the Government for comment by the UK Youth Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [18016]

Mr. Denham: I shall be responding as soon as possible to the manifesto on behalf of the Government.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been obtained and how many further orders are awaiting court hearings, broken down by area, since their introduction; and if he will make a statement on their impact on antisocial behaviour. [17127]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 22 November 2001]: Official statistics on the number of Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBO) taken out are based on quarterly returns received from Magistrates' Courts Committees. A review identified an undercount and my Department therefore undertook an exercise with the police to obtain more reliable figures. As a result of this reconciliation exercise the total number of ASBOs issued up until the end of September this year was 466, which is 184 more than previously reported. A breakdown by area is given in the table.

Information is not held centrally on the number of applications for ASBOs awaiting court hearing.

Since their introduction in April 1999 ASBOs have been used successfully in a variety of cases and have made a real difference for the better in people's lives.

Number of antisocial behaviour orders issued as from
1 April 1999 to 30 September 2001 by police force area

Police force areaIssued
Avon and Somerset28
Devon and Cornwall10
Greater Manchester24
Metropolitan Police(12)40
North Yorkshire10
South Yorkshire6
Thames Valley7
West Mercia47
West Midlands65
West Yorkshire15
Dyfed Powys
North Wales1
South Wales2
England and Wales466

(12) Including City of London.

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