|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
29 Apr 2002 : Column 611W
(29) Number of defendants convicted at all courts as a percentage of those proceeded against in magistrates courts.
(30) Theft of motor vehicle, unauthorised taking of motor vehicle (including being carried knowing vehicle to have been taken or driven away), aggravated vehicle taking and theft from motor vehicle.
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what action he is taking to increase prosecutions of those committing car crime; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Denham: The Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team (VCRAT) was set up in September 1998 to develop and oversee the implementation of initiatives to meet the Government's target to reduce vehicle crime by 30 per cent. over five years from 199899. They published their strategy for achieving the target on 22 September 1999.
The main lines of action in the VCRAT strategy include improved security on new and used cars; improved car park security; better policing and community responses which target prolific offenders and crime hotspots; and new procedures for the detection of stolen cars at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 took forward VCRAT recommendations for regulation of the motor salvage industry and controls on the supply of vehicle number plates, and we expect to implement these provisions between July 2002 and April 2003.
We expect these and other initiativessuch as the introduction of best value targets for forces in England and Wales; the introduction of a vehicle crime toolkit to enable forces to exchange good practice and the provision of better information to the police at the roadsideto impact on the number of apprehensions leading to an increase in the number of prosecutions for car crimes. The latest published figures show that recorded vehicle crime reduced by 10.1 per cent. in 200001 compared with 199899.
29 Apr 2002 : Column 612W
Mr. Denham: I am told by the chief constable (Peter Heimpson) that West Mercia constabulary has seven officers who have classified themselves as black, which is 0.34 per cent. of force strength. Of this number three are deployed to the Telford division, which is 0.86 per cent. divisional strength.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the future pension costs of English police authorities; if he will list the total costs for the three financial years up to 200001; what he estimates those costs to be in each of the three succeeding years; and what proportion of the total police authority budget in each authority was represented by pension costs in (a) 200001 and (b) is estimated for 200102. 
Mr. Denham: Detailed estimates of police service costs are made annually by individual police authorities and forces. Each makes its own projection of pensions' costs. In formulating projections of grant, careful account is taken of advice from the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers on estimated increases in pensions costs.
Total net pensions' costs for English Police Authorities were £840.9 million in 199899, £897.7 million in 199900 and are estimated at £973.5 million in 200001 and £1,055.6 million in 200102 (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Police statistics).
|Avon and Somerset Police||16.16||16.65|
|City of London||15.36||16.05|
|Devon and Cornwall Police||13.96||14.81|
|Greater Manchester Police||15.21||16.25|
|Metropolitan Police (GLA)||13.25||12.87|
|North Yorkshire Police||16.31||17.19|
|South Yorkshire Police||10.59||12.18|
|Thames Valley Police||9.78||9.90|
|West Mercia Police||13.26||13.65|
|West Midlands Police||11.89||12.45|
|West Yorkshire Police||14.18||14.98|
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Police statistics (Estimates)
29 Apr 2002 : Column 613W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the figures, by police force, of those individuals who successfully applied to join the constabulary from the ranks of the specials for each year since 1997. 
Mr. Denham: Figures for recruits from the specials have not been collected consistently by forces. The figures that are available for the numbers of specials accepted to join the regular service have been collated by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and are set out in the table.
|Avon and Somerset||22||28||9||14|
|City of London||4||8||0||0|
|Devon and Cornwall||28||13||10||22|
|England and Wales||521||460||373||546|
(31) Not known
29 Apr 2002 : Column 614W
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with (a) chief constables and (b) others concerning freemasonry in the police service. 
Mr. Denham: I consulted the Association of Chief Police Officers earlier this year on ways to improve the level of registration of freemasonry membership by police officers. I will take their views into account before deciding what further measures might be necessary.
Mr. Denham: The information has been provided by the Chief constable (Paul Scott-Lee) Queens Police Medal (QPM). I am informed that the Bury St. Edmunds rural sector has only existed since 1999. It is therefore only possible to provide strength information from 1999. Information for actual strength in the financial years 19992000 to 200102 in the Bury St. Edmunds rural sector is set out in the table.
|Year(32)||Number of officers(33)|
(32) As at 31 March of each financial year.
(33) Actual officer headcount.
Mr. Denham: The basic training received by all recruits to the police service includes an element designed to raise awareness of mental disorder and to highlight the importance of communicating effectively and sensitively with people suffering from a mental disorder (including autism). Individual forces also provide further training for their officers on these issues. Details are not held centrally of such local provision.
29 Apr 2002 : Column 615W
Centrex will shortly publish an aide memoire for police officers, based on "Achieving Best Evidence", which includes guidance on best practice in interviewing witnesses who suffer from mental disorder or learning disability (including autistic spectrum disorder).
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he gives to police forces on the (a) detention and (b) destruction of police notes taken during murder investigations, with special reference to the time limit for retaining notes. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 22 April 2002]: Police forces in England and Wales act in accordance with the Code of Practice issued under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. This sets out the procedures for the retention and destruction of material obtained in a criminal investigation which may be relevant to the investigation. All material which may be relevant to the investigation must be retained until a decision is taken whether to institute proceedings against a person for an offence.
29 Apr 2002 : Column 616W
or the prosecutor decides not to proceed with the case. Where the accused is convicted, all material which may be relevant must be retained at least until:
six months from the date of conviction, in all other cases.
It is for each police force to determine their policy in relation to retention of material for certain criminal offences. For example, the Metropolitan police service retain all material relevant to a murder investigation for 25 years following a conviction.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many recorded crimes of (a) violence against persons, (b) sexual offences, (c) robbery, (d) burglary, (e) total theft and handling stolen goods, (f) theft of and from vehicles, (g) fraud and forgery, (h) criminal damage, (i) drug offences and (j) other notifiable offences there were in (i) St. Helens police area and (ii) Merseyside police area in the years to (A) March 1999, (B) March 2000 and (C) March 2001. 
|Offence Group||March 1999||March 2000||March 2001|
|Recorded crimes for Merseyside|
|Violence against the person||12,208||14,639||15,855|
|Burglary in a dwelling||14,177||13,606||12,514|
|Burglary in other building||12,321||12,032||11,424|
|Theft and handling stolen goods including:||59,044||62,230||57,844|
|Theft from vehicle||15,031||16,960||14,220|
|Theft or unauthorised taking of motor vehicle||15,306||16,775||16,157|
|Fraud and Forgery||4,884||4,794||5,021|
|Recorded crimes for the St. Helens Basic Command Unit(34)|
|Violence against the person||n/a||1,693||1,795|
|Burglary in a dwelling||n/a||1,550||1,669|
|Theft from vehicle||n/a||2,000||1,923|
|Theft or unauthorised taking of motor vehicle||n/a||1,680||1,725|
(34) A subset of recorded crime has been collected since 1 April 1999.
29 Apr 2002 : Column 617W
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been (a) sick and (b) on light duties for (i) two to eight weeks, (ii) eight to 26 weeks and (iii) 26 weeks to one year in the last year for which information is available. 
Mr. Denham: The information requested is not collected centrally. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), however, collect data on the number of officers on long term sick leave (i.e. more than 28 days), the working days lost due to long term sickness and the number of days spent by officers on recuperative or restricted duties. 200001 is the last full year for which data is available.
Not all forces have systems in place to provide the full information requested by HMIC on sick leave. The data for 200001 is therefore incomplete but shows that at 31 March 2001, 2,591 officers were on long term sick leave. In the 12 month period ending 31 March 2001, 760,533 police officer working days were lost due to long-term sickness. Additionally the number of days spent by officers on recuperative duties in 200001 was 241,159.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what number and percentage of police officers in England and Wales who are entitled to retire early on grounds of ill health (a) chose to stay on in the police service in another role and (b) were offered and accepted a desk job in the last year for which figures are available; 
Mr. Denham: Figures are not centrally available for the number of police officers medically certified as permanently disabled, and therefore eligible to be considered for medical retirement, but who are retained in their force. The figures relating to the number of ill health retirements are given in the table.
|Medical retirements||Percentage of police strength|
An officer's pension entitlements on being compulsorily retired on ill health grounds depend on his or her length of pensionable service in the police pension scheme. An ill health pension, which is payable immediately on retirement, is calculated in a similar way to an ordinary pension but is subject to enhancement where an officer has at least five years' pensionable service. This is to compensate the officer at least in part for the lost opportunity of serving until normal retirement.
29 Apr 2002 : Column 618W
An ill health pension is subject to the limit of 40/60ths of average pensionable pay (app), which is the maximum ordinary pension, and is also subject to the qualification that pensionable service may not be enhanced to exceed what the officer could have completed by the age of compulsory retirement. The scale of benefits applicable is shown in the table.
|Less than 2 years||An ill health gratuityno pension|
|2 to less than 5 years||Pension with no enhancement 1/60 of app per year|
|5 to 10 years||2/60 of app per year|
|More than 10 to 13 years||20/60 of app|
|More than 13 years||7/60 of app plus|
|1/60 for each year up to 20|
|2/60 for each year over 20|
The Police Negotiating Board (PNB) are considering ways to deliver a fair and more consistent approach towards early retirement due to ill health. This should enable forces to reduce the level of ill-health retirement and match the performance of the best quartile of forces in 200001 by 2005. The measures under consideration include amendments to the Police Pensions Regulations and joint guidance being issued by the PNB to police authorities and senior management to ensure that wherever possible officers continue in employment where they are capable of performing sufficient duties to make their retention operationally justifiable.
In the White Paper on police reform the Government also announced that it will establish a national occupational health strategy for the police service, which should assist forces to manage cases of ill health more effectively at the outset.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|