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Traffic Wardens

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the training which would be required to ensure traffic wardens could effectively discharge the extended powers proposed in the Policing a New Century White Paper; and if he will make a statement. [30825]

Mr. Denham: Chief officers will be required to ensure that all staff who are designated as community support officers, including traffic wardens, receive training that is

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appropriate both to the functions that they will be performing and the powers that have been conferred on them.

The new Police Skills and Standards Organisation will have an important role in drawing up these training requirements.

Police Training

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the level of training direction and guidance given to police officers driving to emergency incidents. [30821]

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Mr. Denham: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) recognises that the police service has a fundamental duty to equip officers with the necessary skills, through training, to undertake their operational tasks successfully and safely.

In December 2000, ACPO launched its new police driver training course, introducing a universal standard for driving in England and Wales. An essential element of the course is to emphasise that officers must recognise the need to give priority to public safety above all other considerations such as attending an incident or apprehending a suspect.

Police Vehicles

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) deaths and (b) incidents of serious injury involving police vehicles have been recorded in each of the past five years. [30822]

Mr. Denham: The available information is set out in the table and relates to the number of serious injuries and deaths involving police vehicles engaged in immediate/ emergency response or pursuit.

DeathsSerious injury


1.The information has been provided by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), to which forces submit statistical returns.

2.Two forces did not submit a return in 1996–97, one force did not submit a return in 1998–99 and 2000–01.

3.All figures for financial year.

4.The figures are numbers of deaths/injuries, not numbers of accidents.

5.The figures include both police and civilian casualties.

Asylum White Paper

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to involve asylum seeking children and young people in the consultation on the forthcoming Asylum White Paper. [30703]

Angela Eagle: The forthcoming White Paper will be available widely to those with an interest. For example, the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Childrens Stakeholders Group which pays particular attention to issues relating to asylum seeking children and young people.

Internet Pornography

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures have been introduced since 1997 to combat Internet pornography. [30816]

Beverley Hughes: The Government are determined to tackle illegal pornography whether on or off line, and the criminal law applies equally to both.

We are particularly concerned to deal with child pornography both on and off line. In January 2001, we raised the maximum penalties for taking, making,

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distributing or showing indecent photographs or pseudo- photographs of children to 10 years (from three years), and the maximum penalty for simple possession of such material to five years (from six months).

In November 2000, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a £25 million investment in the police over three years specifically to fight hi-tech crime and to enhance the capability of the police at a national and local level to investigate computer based offences, including the possession and distribution of illegal pornography.

In March 2001, the then Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), established a Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet. The task force began work in May. It is a partnership of: representatives from internet service and communication providers; the Internet Watch Foundation, set up in 1996 which provides a hotline for the public to report child pornography; PC and software retailers and manufacturers; child welfare organisations; the main opposition parties; law enforcement agencies and academics. The task force is looking at proposals for legislation to tackle paedophile 'grooming' activity on and off-line; a best practice model of Internet chat safety measures for providers and computer awareness training for the police and child protection practitioners.

Internationally, the Government actively support efforts within the European Union, and more widely, to combat child pornography on the Internet. In November 2001, we signed the Council of Europe convention on Cybercrime, which will underpin co-operative action between signatory states in respect of computer-related crimes, including the making, distribution and possession of child pornography.


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were murdered by use of a firearm in 2001. [30745]

Mr. Denham: The latest published information is for the year ending March 2001. In that year, there were 73 homicides where a firearm was used.

Fingerprinting (Training)

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the training standards for fingerprint experts were last reviewed. [30707]

Mr. Denham: The training standards for fingerprint experts have recently been revised. All new fingerprint officers undergo the new modular training programme which incorporates the impact of the change from the previous 16 point standard. The new training programme began being rolled out from 1 April 2001.

Police (Lancashire)

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in Lancashire in (a) 1997 and (b) 2001. [31220]

Mr. Denham: Lancashire constabulary employed 3,247 full-time equivalent officers on 31 March 1997 and 3,288 on 30 September 2001.

The force also employed 1,409 civilian support staff on 30 September 2001, 283 more than at 31 March 1997.

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Burglary (Uxbridge)

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding has been awarded to schemes under the Reducing Burglary Initiative in the Uxbridge constituency in the last 12 months. [31359]

Mr. Denham: We did not receive any bids for funding for burglary reduction projects in this area.

Drug Deaths (Reading)

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the change in the number of drug deaths in Reading in the last 12 months and his strategy to combat the spread of hard drugs. [31347]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of drug-related deaths for the Reading unitary area held by the Office for National Statistics are in the table.

Number of deaths

Reading has a new dedicated Drug Action Team (DAT), which is continuing to address the problems of drug misuse highlighted as issues when Reading was part of the Berkshire DAT. Reading DAT is carrying out a needs analysis to quantify the local drugs misuse problem and, in line with all DATs, is preparing a drug action plan for submission to the Home Office by the end of April.

The Government are determined to reduce the number of drug-related deaths. That is why we have published an action plan which sets out all the activities that need to be taken over a three-five year period to reduce drug-related deaths by 20 per cent. by 2004. The plan covers three strands:

We know we need to be more effective in tackling the harms caused by Class A drugs. The action plan is one of the measures we are taking to increase the focus on harm minimisation, which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced in his evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 23 October 2001. He also announced his intention to seek advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on their assessment for reclassifying cannabis from Class B to Class C, the setting up a group of key experts to tackle the treatment of crack cocaine addiction and, with the Department of Health, the development of new guidance for heroin prescribing.

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