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Police Numbers

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers serve with the Staffordshire force; how many officers this represents per 100,000 head of population; and how the number of officers for Staffordshire compares with other shire counties in England. [18390]

Mr. Denham: The number of police officers per 100,000 head of population in Staffordshire is 200. The average number of officers per 100,000 of population in the shire counties is 203.

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers were in post in the Hertfordshire constabulary in each year since 1983. [25244]

Mr. Denham: The information is set out in the table.

Hertfordshire constabulary

Police strength as at 31 March
2001 (30 September)1,843

(30) Affected by boundary changes on 1 April 2000 with the Metropolitan police

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The reduction in police numbers since 1 April 2001 can be attributed to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) offices seconded following the boundary changes on 1 April 2000 returning to the MPS. All such secondees are due to return to the MPS by 31 March 2002.

Assisted Prisoner Visits Unit

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 18 December 2001, Official Report, column 239W, on the budget of the assisted prisoner visits unit, how much of the budget for 2001–02 is expected to be paid to assist (a) foreign nationals and (b) UK nationals to visit those held in prisons in England and Wales. [25620]

Beverley Hughes: Applicants for assistance under the Assisted Prison Visits scheme are required to show that they meet the eligibility criteria. They are not asked to state their nationality as this is not one of the criteria for assistance. It is therefore not possible to distinguish between foreign and United Kingdom nationals who receive assistance.

Asylum Seekers

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers were held in detention under immigration regulations at the most recent available date; and of these how many were appealing against removal. [25825]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 9 January 2002]: The latest available information on the number of persons detained under Immigration Act powers relates to 30 September 2001. As at that date, 1,330 persons (to the nearest five) who are recorded as having claimed asylum at some stage were being detained, which includes 145 persons detained under dual Immigration Act and other powers but excludes persons detained in police cells.

I regret that information on the stage of application of detained asylum seekers is not available except by examining individual case files at disproportionate cost, so it is not possible to determine how many detained asylum seekers were appealing against removal as at 30 September.

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Information on Immigration Act detainees as at 29 December 2001 will be published on 28 February 2002 on the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at immigration1.html.

The temporary use of local prison establishments to hold immigration detainees is scheduled to end by the end of January.

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his plans for the detention of asylum seekers in prisons. [27384]

Mr. Blunkett: By the end of January immigration detainees held in local prisons will, if their detention is to continue, be transferred to immigration removal centres. This has been made possible by the opening of three new removal centres at Harmondsworth, near Heathrow, Dungavel in Lanarkshire, and at Yarlswood in Bedfordshire.

Additionally immigration detainees are held in two dedicated prison establishments: a unit in Her Majesty's Prison Lindholme, near Doncaster; and Her Majesty's Prison Haslar. I am taking steps to establish these as immigration removal centres under the control of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office as from February. Detainees in these establishments will be subject to Detention Centre Rules, rather than the Prison Rules as at present. It may take some time before the facilities in the new centres match those of other removal centres, but that is our intention.

Asylum seekers are also detained in two wings of Her Majesty's Prison Rochester. These detainees will be transferred to other immigration removal centres by the end of January. A new removal centre will be established at Her Majesty's Prison Dover in the spring.

It will always remain necessary to hold small numbers of immigration detainees including asylum seekers in prisons for reasons of security, or who are awaiting deportation on conclusion of a prison sentence. Any asylum seeker who is held on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence, or is serving a custodial sentence will also be held in prison.

Prisons (Health and Safety)

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to monitor health and safety in prisons. [25438]

Beverley Hughes: At present health and safety in the prisons is monitored by health and safety advisers, employed by the Home Office, who carry out a health and safety audit in each prison once every two years.

As a result of reorganisation, this work will be transferred to the Prison Service later this year. The service will continue to carry out health and safety audits in prisons, auditing each prison once every two years.

Styal Women's Prison

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many suicides have taken place at Styal Women's Prison in each of the last 10 years. [25493]

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Beverley Hughes: There have been three self-inflicted deaths at Styal prison during the last 10 years (up to and including 2 January 2002), as set out in the table.

YearNumber of deaths

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates at Styal Women's Prison are receiving treatment for drug addiction. [25492]

Beverley Hughes: Treatment provision at Styal can be divided into three components. On average, about 50 prisoners each month receive detoxification treatment and, on average, about 40 CARAT (counselling, assessment, advice, referral and throughcare services) assessments are undertaken each month. Prisoners requiring intensive treatment for moderate to severe drug misuse are transferred to another prison where such programmes are available.


Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received on the protection of children from exploitation through the internet. [25398]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Representations have been received from a variety of interested parties including children's charities, businesses involved in the development and provision of internet services and internet security technologies, and individuals. These have been followed up by officials both in writing and meetings to explore and encourage activity in support of the aims and objectives of the Task Force on Child Protection on the internet which the Home Secretary created last year.


Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to introduce legislation which enables community leaders to be informed if registered paedophiles move into their area. [24918]

Beverley Hughes: The police already have and use the power to disclose information to individuals or groups in the community where they believe that doing so is necessary to prevent an offence from being committed. They assess to whom to disclose the information and how to do so on the basis of the circumstances of the individual case.

We have made it clear that local people who are properly trained will be enabled to take part in the local public protection panels we have required the police and probation services to set up to manage dangerous offenders in the community. This is an important way of ensuring that the local community feels it has a voice and a representative in the process.

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Hunting (Policing Costs)

Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average annual costs incurred policing (a) fox hunting, (b) deer hunting and (c) hare coursing events were in each of the last five years. [23370]

Mr. Denham: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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