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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 the number of offenders completing accredited programmes in the community. [17069]

Beverley Hughes: Encouraging progress has been made so far towards the Service Delivery Agreement target (30,000 offenders completing accredited offending behaviour programmes in the community by 2003–04—including 6,000 drug-related programme completions).

Nine offending behaviour programmes have been awarded full accreditation, and two have achieved provisional accreditation. All probation areas are now running accredited general offending programmes, and roll out of other accredited programmes is continuing. It is however too early to provide meaningful figures on the actual numbers of completions.

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Board of Visitors Reports

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Board of Visitors annual reports for prisons in England and Wales for 2001 have been received by his Department. [22481]

Beverley Hughes: As of 11 December 2001, annual reports had been received from 44 Boards of Visitors. Since the reporting period each year is staggered, some of the reports for 2001 are not due before the end of March 2002.

High-risk Offenders

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for legislation to reduce the dangers posed to the public by people with a demonstrable history of high-risk offending. [15177]

Beverley Hughes: "Making Punishments Work", the report of a review of the sentencing framework (and known as the Halliday Report), was published on 5 July. One of the key recommendations in the report is that prison sentences of 12 months or more for 'dangerous' (violent and sex) offenders should be subject to special provisions which provide for discretionary release, subject to risk assessment, from the halfway point until the end of the sentence, coupled with the possibility of extended supervision.

We are currently analysing the responses to all the recommendations in the report with a view to formulating final proposals for legislation on a new framework for sentencing.

We also recently published a review of Part One of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (the register of sex offenders) for public consultation. The consultation period ended on 19 October and we are currently analysing the responses to its recommendations for strengthening the legislation.

In addition, the Government plan to introduce new Mental Health legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. This will provide a clear legal framework for the detention of those who pose a significant risk of serious harm to others as a result of a mental disorder, including a personality disorder.

These proposals will build on earlier measures we have taken to improve public protection including: implementation of the Sex Offenders Act 1997; provisions in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 for sex offender orders and extended supervision of sexual and violent offenders; and provisions in the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to ban unsuitable people working with children and to strengthen the Sex Offenders Act.

Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders have been sentenced under (a) section 109, (b) section 110 and (c) section 111 of the powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. [21641]

Beverley Hughes: We have a record of 310 life sentences imposed under what is now section 109 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (PCC(S)A). We only have reliable figures for sentences

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imposed under what is now section 110 and 111 of the PCC(S)A for the period from December 1999 to June 2000. There were four offenders sentenced under section 110 for repeat drug offences. Current figures indicate that there have been no mandatory sentences imposed under what is now section 111 which deals with repeat burglars.

Prison Estate Services (Privatisation)

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish the inquiry into the scope for further privatisation of services within the prison estate; and if he will make a statement. [21638]

Beverley Hughes: I am considering the review commissioned by my predecessor on the private finance initiative (PFI) and market-testing in the Prison Service conducted by Pat Carter. I expect to publish it shortly.

New Prisons

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for future contracts for new prisons to be agreed on the basis of private sector design and building and public sector management; and if he will make a statement. [21639]

Beverley Hughes: The only new programme currently planned are for prisons designed, constructed, managed and financed by the private sector at Peterborough and Ashford. Any requirement for new prisons beyond these will be for discussion in the current spending review.

Probation Service

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to put to tender local probation service facilities; and what consultation has taken place with employers and employees concerning such reform. [21622]

Beverley Hughes: There is currently a phased procurement exercise taking place to put to tender National Probation Service facilities management functions on a property division basis. Consultation has taken place and will continue to do so, with employers and staff, including trades unions and employers groups.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the criteria used are in assessing whether local probation services facilities should be the subject of tendering; and if he will make a statement. [21623]

Beverley Hughes: Facilities Management Services to be subjected to tendering are to be selected on the basis of those assessed as having the potential to provide better value for money. With the creation of a national service on 1 April 2001 there is greater need for consistency in service delivery and the opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of probation services through benefiting from economies of scale.

Anti-terrorism Legislation

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what preparations he has made to accommodate suspected international terrorists in the event

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of legislation before the House being enacted; which prisons and other buildings have been identified for use; which body has been tasked to prepare the administration of accommodation for suspected international terrorists in detention; what arrangements have been made to provide separate secure accommodation for (a) women and (b) persons under 18 years of age; what security regime will be put in place at these institutions; what arrangements are being made for suspected international terrorists (i) to receive visitors and (ii) to maintain family relations; what preparations he has made to allow those in detention to practise their religion and to meet their dietary requirements; and what special training he has established to prepare prison officers to treat detainees in accordance with international best practice. [21309]

Beverley Hughes: The Prison Service will be responsible for the safe and secure custody of any such detainees. We have identified suitable secure facilities within the Prison Service Estate. Prison Service rules will apply in respect of all aspects of the detention.

Northumbria Police

Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were in post in the Northumbria police area in (a) May 1997, (b) September 2001 and (c) each reporting period in between. [17990]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is set out in the table. Police numbers information is collected in March and September. Police strength figures for September 2001 are not yet available but Northumbria police have provided officer numbers for August 2001.

Full-time equivalent

Police strength in NorthumbriaCivilian support staff
March 19973,6771,365
September 19973,6891,385
March 19983,7691,362
September 19983,8021,430
March 19993,8401,443
September 19993,8001,482
March 20003,7881,417
September 20003,8181,413
March 20013,8571,416
September 20013,908n/a


Home Office Statistical Bulletins—Police Service Strength 1997–2001 (March and September figures)

Northumbria police has set a budgeted workforce total for 31 March 2002 of 4,000 officers.

Policing (Merseyside)

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding has been allocated for policing in Merseyside in each year since 1997, broken down into budget headings. [18219]

Mr. Denham: The amount of funding allocated for policing in Merseyside is as follows.

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Annual police settlements
£ million

Police grantRevenue support grantNational non domestic ratesTotal Government funding

Crime fighting fund

£ million

(12) It is expected that the force will receive this amount in respect of 124 Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) recruits from 2000–01 and a further 93 new CFF recruits projected for 2001–02


Under present arrangements, capital grant is paid to police authorities. Grant also continues to be paid towards the annual loan charges on capital sums borrowed under earlier grant rules.

£ million

Capital grantLoan charges grant

(13) Provisional

Individual Payments

Home Office accounts records show that the force has also received the following individual payments:

August 1997Police Firearms grant66,556
August 1999Police Beacon scheme83,000
March 2000Police Beacon scheme8,880
October 2000Anti-robbery grant1,800,000
December 2000Execution of warrants145,987
March 2001National Fuel Distribution Emergency(14)320,939
July 2001National Intelligence Model115,800

(14) A further estimated £36,000 will be paid in 2001–02, subject to audit of claims

Crime Reduction Programme

Under the Crime Reduction Programme over £10 million has been allocated since 1999 to Crime and Disorder Reduction partnerships for projects in Merseyside.

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