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The Government are committed to increasing the size of the special constabulary. Measures to achieve this would include improvements to the recruitment, training, conditions, management and deployment of specialsfocusing their role on intelligence-led, high visibility patrolling and local crime reduction initiatives. In January 2002 we ran a press campaign targeting specials as part of the national recruitment campaign for the regular Police Service.
Mr. Denham: The use of civilian support staff in the police service is not a new concept. Support staff carry out a variety of administrative roles in police stations, and in headquarters units, in order to lighten the bureaucratic load on police officers.
The Police Reform Bill contains provisions which will develop these roles further, allowing limited powers to be extended to police employed support staff who will work in four areas as investigating officers, escort officers, detention officers or community support officers (CSOs).
These support staff will be employed by the police authority and will be under the direction and control of the chief officer. He or she will be responsible for deciding which of the limited powers currently provided for in the Bill they will be allowed to exercise.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the measures introduced by road hauliers to check for on-board illegal immigrants prior to cross-channel ferry embarkation to the United Kingdom. 
Angela Eagle: The civil penalty provisions introduced by the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act are intended to encourage hauliers to take effective measures to prevent unauthorised persons travelling in their vehicles. The number of clandestine entrants dealt with by the Immigration Service at Dover fell from 12,679 in 2000 to 9,225 in 2001, a reduction of 27 per cent. This indicates that while many hauliers have taken steps to properly
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secure their vehicles against unauthorised entry, a large number have not implemented effective systems to prevent this traffic.
Because of the high volume of cross-channel freight traffic, the security measures and checks employed by hauliers can only be assessed in respect of individual vehicles selected for examination upon arrival in the United Kingdom.
When vehicles are selected for examination at Dover, whether or not they are found to contain clandestine entrants, an assessment is made of the security measures in place. On average some 48 per cent. of vehicles examined are assessed as being properly secured.
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations have taken place with the Ministry of Defence about using Hemswell Cliff as a possible site for an accommodation centre for asylum seekers. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 16 April 2002]: The evaluations of the sites will inform site selection, acquisition negotiations and the evaluation of the forthcoming competition. As such, they will be commercially confidential. However, any forthcoming planning notifications will set out the basis on which the particular site was chosen.
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the asylum seekers' accommodation centres in mainland Europe on which he is modelling the proposed centres to be established in the UK. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 16 April 2002]: Although the Home Office has recently commissioned research on the reception policies and practice of four European countries, our proposals are not directly based on any particular model.
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks have been made on the services infrastructure at Hemswell Cliff as part of the assessment process to determine whether Hemswell Cliff is a suitable site for an asylum seekers' accommodation centre. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 16 April 2002]: No such checks took place prior to the announcement of the potential sites for trial accommodation centres. A range of factors, including the practicability of service provision, will be taken into account at every site before final decisions are made.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 11 February 2002 to the hon. Member for mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff), Official Report, column 57W, on asylum
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accommodation centres, when he expects to announce the selected locations of the proposed accommodation centres for asylum seekers. 
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the consequences are for an asylum seeker in the pilot induction centre in Dover of a failure to comply with the requirement to sign, before leaving the induction centre, a declaration confirming that he or she understands the processes that accompany a claim for asylum and support and his or her obligations within those processes. 
Angela Eagle: As the White Paper "Secure Borders, Safe Havens", published on 7 February 2002, made clear asylum-seekers, before they leave the induction centre, will be asked to sign a document confirming that they understand:
their obligations to comply with temporary admission and reporting arrangements;
the requirement to leave the United Kingdom should their asylum claim fail;
how they can obtain assistance to return.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in relation to land vacated by Ministry of Defence Logistics at Bicester, what consultations have taken place with the providers of local services as to the extra demands that will be placed upon them by using this site as an accommodation centre for asylum seekers; if he will specify the organisations consulted; and if he will place copies of correspondence with the bodies concerned in the Library; 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 15 April 2002]: We have not yet consulted with providers of local services. However, we will consult local service providers as part of the planning process. We envisage that accommodation centres will be essentially self-contained communities with the majority of necessary services provided on site.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 7 February 2002 to the hon. Member for mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff), Official Report, column 1134W, on asylum
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accommodation centres, (1) for what reasons his Department is looking for sites for accommodation centres for asylum seekers beyond the South East of England; 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 15 April 2002]: In accordance with existing policy on the dispersal of asylum seekers, the Government are looking to take the pressure off the south eastern areas of the country supporting the highest number of asylum seekers. These areas are those where the highest number of asylum seekers declare their applications, namely London and Kent.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what his policy is on the housing of asylum seekers on the Centrex site at High Ercall, Shropshire; and if he will make a statement on the suitability of the site for that purpose; 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The Centrex site at High Ercall has not been offered to us for use during the trial of accommodation centres. It was put forward by the Angel Group as part of its contract with the National Asylum Support Service as possible dispersal accommodation for asylum seekers. I am unable to give details of any discussions which took place as part of that contract.
Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he or his Department has had discussions with the Angel Group Plc or any of its subsidiaries about housing asylum seekers at Otterburn Hall, Northumberland. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The National Asylum Support Service has not held any discussions with the Angel Group or its subsidiaries regarding the use of Otterburn Hall, Northumberland as accommodation for asylum seekers dispersed under the current arrangements.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications were received at the Eurostar terminal at Waterloo; and how many asylum applicants were refused permission to board Eurostar trains at the Gare du Nord by British officials in each of the past 12 months. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Local management information obtained from Waterloo International, indicates that 3,874 asylum applications were made at Waterloo International between January31 December 2001.
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No asylum applications have been made to United Kingdom officials at Paris Gare du Nord, since the implementation of juxtaposed controls on 8 June 2001. Asylum applications made in France are the responsibility of the French Government.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will halt the deportation to Russia of further asylum seekers and refugees from Chechnya; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many people from Chechnya have been deported to Russia in each of the last two years for which figures are available; how many were males in the age group 18 to 35; and how many he has estimated have safely returned to Chechnya; 
(4) what account is taken of military involvement by Russian troops in Chechnya when considering the deportation to Russia of asylum seekers and refugees from Chechnya. 
A decision on whether or not an unsuccessful asylum applicant from Chechnya is returned to the Russian Federation will depend on the facts of the particular case. Full account is taken of objective country information about the situation for Chechens including the ability of the individual concerned to reside in other parts of the Russian Federation.
The Home Office closely monitors the situation and a country assessment on the Russian Federation is published on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's internet site. The assessment was revised in October 2001. It is currently being revised and will be published shortly.
The policy is to remove unsuccessful Chechen asylum seekers to the Russian Federation if they have no other basis of stay in the United Kingdom, and if there is the possibility of internal relocation in the Russian Federation. This is in accordance with guidance issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There are no plans to review this policy.
Statistical information on asylum seekers from Chechnya is not separately recorded from that on asylum seekers from other parts of the Russian Federation. The statistics requested are not therefore available.
Angela Eagle: We have no plans to send United Kingdom immigration officials to Sangatte to process asylum applications. The United Kingdom's obligations under the 1951 United Nation convention on the status of refugees are engaged only after applicants have arrived in this country. We are working closely with the French authorities to address the problems of cross-Channel
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illegal immigration. Our shared aim is to achieve a situation in which the Red Cross Centre at Sangatte would be unnecessary.
Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effect of access to the Channel Tunnel by asylum seekers on the French side on British exports and imports using this route as a form of transportation; what the implications are of this situation on the future of British businesses using the Channel link; and what measures are being taken in liaison with the French authorities and British businesses in order to identify a physical deterrent to the problem of refugees who are preventing the safe and effective passage of transportation through the Channel Tunnel link. 
The Government recognise that the disruption caused by would-be illegal immigrants is causing severe hardship to many businesses in this country who depend on reliable freight services through the Channel Tunnel.
The removal of the restrictions is dependent on the implementation of additional security measures at the Calais Fréthun yard so that SNCF can deal effectively with potential illegal immigrants. The Government continue to press the French Government at the highest levels to provide adequate policing resources at Fréthun to support the anti-intrusion measures already being installed by SNCF in order to address the disruption to Channel Tunnel services caused by would-be illegal immigrants. We welcome the additional resources that have already been deployed. The Government also welcome the recent announcement by the French Government of proposals to further strengthen the anti-intrusion measures at Fréthun.
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