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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police force members there were in (a) Avon and Somerset police force, (b) the south-west region and (c) England and Wales in each year from 1997 to 2001. 
|Avon and Somerset||South-west region||England and Wales(32)|
|31 March 1997||2,989||9,425||127,158|
|31 March 1998||2,976||9,508||126,814|
|31 March 1999||2,999||9,420||126,096|
|31 March 2000||2,934||9,313||124,170|
|31 March 2001||2,994||9,576||125,682|
|30 September 2001||3,040||9,693||127,231|
(32) The England and Wales totals include secondments to the National Crime Squad (NCS), the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), Central Services and Inter-Force Units
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the outcome was of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels on 22 April; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
The Council agreed conclusions on action to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking by sea, in particular the need for migration issues to be integrated into the European Union's relations with countries of origin and transit.
7 May 2002 : Column 140W
The Presidency reported on a meeting of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) with border control chiefs which discussed the priority areas of the Comprehensive Action Plan to combat illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings.
The Council reached a general approach on proposals to amend the Europol Convention. These will provide for Europol's participation in joint investigation teams in a support capacity and Europol's right to ask Member States to initiate investigations in specific cases. The Council will now consider how to implement the amendments.
The Council agreed conclusions calling for action against racially motivated violence, in particular, reinforced police co-operation, the approximation of criminal law and the role of the European Monitoring Centre on racism and xenophobia. The Commission was also invited to submit proposals to raise public awareness.
The Council authorised the Presidency to open negotiations with the United States on behalf of the European Union for an agreement on co-operation in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition. I will write separately to the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee regarding those negotiations.
7 May 2002 : Column 141W
The Council agreed conclusions on the use of penalty ranges as a means of approximating criminal penalties for common offences. I will write separately to the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee with the details of the methodology to be applied.
The Framework Decision was remitted for further consideration of the penalties for these offences and of an Italian reservation on the proposed exemption from criminal liability in cases involving persons over the age of sexual consent.
Italy gave an update on the feasibility study into the creation of a European Border Guard which would be presented to a Ministerial Conference in Rome on 30 May 2002. Germany proposed an initiative for an European Union fund to assist the victims of terrorism. The Council also had exchanges of views on the treatment of Palestinian asylum seekers and on the negotiation mandates for agreements with Switzerland concerning their participation in the Schengen and Dublin Conventions. The Presidency reported on the outcome of the European Union/Mediterranean conference which took place in Spain on 2223 April 2002.
Justice and Interior Ministers met with their counterparts from Russia in the margins of the Council to discuss action to combat organised crime and the management of migration and borders. A joint Declaration establishing a network of contact points to facilitate the exchange of information on organised crime was adopted.
Mr. Denham: Community support officers and members of community safety accreditation schemes, as contained in Chapter 1 of Part 4 of the Police Reform Bill, will not have powers of arrest. It is the Government's belief that, where appropriate, the chief officer of police should be able to give community support officers the power to detain someone for up to 30 minutes, pending the arrival of a constable, and, as a last resort, to use reasonable force to enforce this.
The Government would also like to allow the chief officer of police and the person's employer, to give members of community safety accreditation schemes, (which could include warden schemes) the power of detention, but without the use of reasonable force.
The provisions which would have made the power of detention available in this way were removed in another place. We have already stated our intention to re-introduce these provisions during consideration of the Bill in this House. The provisions in Chapter 1 of Part 4 are enabling, not prescriptive. It will be for each chief officer of police to decide whether and how to use community support
7 May 2002 : Column 142W
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the procedure is for distribution of homicide information packs by family liaison police officers to families of murder victims. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 29 April 2002]: The exact figures as to how many of the Home Office pack "Information for Families of Homicide Victims" are handed out by police family liaison officers (FLOs) are not available.
In cases of homicide, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) family liaison strategy states that FLOs should provide the pack to one or more family members at as early a stage as possible in order for bereaved people to establish some control over their access to the information. The FLO's own knowledge of the criminal justice system and coroners' processes should be used as appropriate to suggest to a family member that they may look at the pack or part of it, on their own, with another family member, with the FLO, or with Victim Support, as issues arise for them. Furthermore, the obligation of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in explaining any decisions made in accordance with its Victim's Charter should be explained and, where appropriate, a meeting facilitated.
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