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Legal Proceedings

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken between arrest and sentencing of (a) young offenders and (b) adult offenders was in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [42505]

Mr. Wills: I have been asked to reply. Information is not available in the exact form requested. Figures are available on the average time between arrest and sentence for 'persistent' young offenders in England and Wales, as used to monitor the Youth Justice Pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence. The latest data available shows that for those sentenced in magistrates courts and the Crown court in the 12 months ending 30 November 2001, the latest month available, the average arrest to sentence time was 77 days. For those

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sentenced in November 2001 the average arrest to sentence time was 67 days compared with the target of 71 days.

From another source of information the time between arrest and sentence can be estimated for all young offenders sentenced in magistrates courts in England and Wales. For the 12 months ending September 2001, this estimate was 60 days. Similarly for adult offenders the time between charge (the closest available date to arrest) and sentence in magistrates courts was 58 days.

Young Offenders

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of young offenders broke the terms of their bail conditions in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [42506]

Beverley Hughes: Regular statistics on the number of young offenders who break their bail conditions are not available centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, Home Office research published in 1998 showed that juveniles breached their bail conditions in 30 per cent. of cases.

Juvenile bail has been strengthened by the Youth Justice Board's bail support schemes and intensive supervision and surveillance programme. And curfews as a condition of bail, monitored electronically, will be available for 12 to 16-year-olds in six areas from 22 April 2002 and nationally from 1 June 2002.

National Probation Service

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the cost to public funds of the National Probation Service information system. [43121]

Beverley Hughes: A full breakdown of the costs of the National Probation Service information systems strategy can be found in the National Audit Office report published on 26 April 2001, HC401 Session 2000–01.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the business benefits derived from the introduction of the National Probation Service information system strategy. [43119]

Beverley Hughes: The National Probation Directorate will conduct a post-contract review of the National Probation Service information systems strategy (NPSISS) contract which will include consideration of benefits delivery to the Service.

I can say in advance of this review that the qualitative benefits to the National Probation Service (NPS) resulting from NPSISS include; the introduction of a network infrastructure which covers 38 of the 42 probation areas; the ability for electronic communication between these areas, the Directorate, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation and the Research and Statistics Unit; and the deployment of Lotus Notes across the Service. In addition this technology has given probation staff the opportunity to develop information technology skills providing the NPS with a computer literate workforce.

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Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many National Probation Services accredited programmes have been completed, broken down by probation area. [42790]

Beverley Hughes: This information is compiled on a quarterly basis. Figures for the first three quarters of 2001–02 (the most current information available) are:

AreaCompletions (core programme)
West Midlands
West Mercia11
West Midlands106
Regional Sub-Total124
County Durham77
Regional Sub-Total402
Regional Sub-Total232
Greater Manchester158
Regional Sub-Total448
East Midlands
Regional Sub-Total128
Yorkshire and Humberside
South Yorkshire20
North Yorkshire11
West Yorkshire86
Regional Sub-Total146
Thames Valley99
Regional Sub-Total256
Avon and Somerset109
Devon and Cornwall29
Regional Sub-Total198
London total
North Wales12
South Wales15
Regional Sub-Total49
England and Wales

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Road Accidents

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what duties the police have to carry out before an accident site can be cleared from (a) an A-road and (b) a motorway; [42749]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Information relating to the average time taken to reach accident sites on A-roads and motorways, to clear the site and to complete official duties are not recorded centrally. Individual forces have accident response time targets, of between 10 and 15 minutes. These targets are not uniform across the country to allow for differences in terrain, road infrastructure and police resources.

The main duties performed by the police in dealing with road accidents do not vary substantially between A-roads and motorways. They are:

Experience Corps

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inquiries he has received from residents in the constituency of Buckingham about setting up experience corps in the last 12 months. [43286]

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Angela Eagle [holding answer 13 March 2002]: I have not received any inquiries about the experience corps from residents of the constituency of Buckingham in the last 12 months.

Justice and Home Affairs Council

(Scottish Representation)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason no devolved Administration Minister attended the 2411 European Union Council of Ministers (Justice and Home Affairs) meeting on 28 February, which particular matters of concern from the Scottish Executive were raised by the UK Government delegation; and what information is being provided by his Department to guarantee effective post-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. [42688]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 12 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 27 February 2002, reference number 38035.

Arrangements allowing for the attendance of Ministers from the devolved administrations at Council of Ministers meetings are set out in the Concordat on Co-ordination of European Union Policy Issues which supplements the Memorandum of Understanding between the devolved administrations and the United Kingdom (UK) Government. Discussions on the composition of the UK delegation to specific Council meetings are normally conducted on a confidential basis. The Concordat further provides that a single UK negotiating position will be formulated and advanced. It states that the role of Ministers and officials from the devolved administrations will be to support and advance the single UK negotiating line which they will have played a part in developing.

I reported the outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 28 February 2002, in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Connarty), Deputy Chairman of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee on 15 March 2002, Official Report, column 1258W.

Arrangements for post-Council scrutiny in Scotland are a matter for the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive. The Home Office provides information to Scottish Executive officials as part of that process.

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