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Special Constables

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the role of special constables. [53112]

Mr. Denham: The proposals in the White Paper "Policing a New Century: A blueprint for Reform" set out a radical and ambitious programme of reform, with the overall aim of reducing crime and the fear of crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. The Government believe that the special constabulary has a key role to play in the fight against crime and the fear of crime. We are accordingly introducing a range of measures to improve the recruitment and retention of specials. These include improvements to the recruitment, training, conditions, management and deployment of specials—focusing their role on intelligence-led patrolling and local crime reduction initiatives.

EU Border Police Force

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy towards the creation of a common EU border police force. [39656]

Angela Eagle: The United Kingdom is supportive of closer co-operation between national border authorities of European Union member states, which we believe is one of the ways to tackle the criminal networks responsible for human trafficking and illegal immigration. We are also keen to discuss practical ways of strengthening the European Union's external borders.

The United Kingdom has given its support to the conducting of a feasibility study, led by the Italian authorities regarding the concept of a European border police. We are awaiting the results of this study. Our Frontiers Protocol entitles us to maintain our frontiers with other member states and the Government have no plans to change their policy.

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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding is available for targeted policing initiatives. [48660]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 17 April 2002]: We have targeted significant levels of resources at forces through the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) to recruit 9,000 officers over and above forces previous recruitment plans in the three years to March 2003. We made available £58.9 million in 2000–01, £151.7 million in 2001–02 with provision of £244.0 million in 2002–03 and £272 million for 2003–04 to meet the estimated continuing cost of officers recruited through the CFF.

We have made £75 million available since 2000–01 to enhance the policing service in rural areas, including £30 million for 2002–03. Spending Review (SR) 2000 provided a further £30 million for next year. Police authorities receiving the grant must demonstrate in their annual policing plans each year how the resources are used to enhance rural policing and crime reduction and community safety in rural areas.

The Government are committed to investment in technological support for the police, and to reducing the burden of unnecessary bureaucracy and increasing efficiency. £703 million has been made available since 1999–2000. Key projects funded are AIRWAVE—the new national police communications system; the National Strategy for Police Information Systems—a suite of software applications to improve the recording and delivery of information across the police service and the wider criminal justice system; the National Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems and Police Direct—telephone and e-mail facilities for the reporting of non-urgent crime.

The estimated amount of central funding for the DNA Expansion Programme from April 2000 to March 2004 is £187 million.

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£30 million has been committed to 60 targeted policing projects under the Crime Reduction Programme since 1999.

In addition, £4 million has been made available in 2002–03 to the Police Standards Unit to drive up police performance.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the percentage increase in funding of (a) Staffordshire police and (b) all police forces in each of the past seven years. [32242]

Mr. Denham: The information is set out in the table.

Percentage increase

IncreaseStaffordshireAll England and Wales
1995–96 to 1996–978.33.7
1996–97 to 1997–982.02.2
1997–98 to 1998–99-1.13.2
1998–99 to 1999–20001.32.3
1999–2000 to 2000–014.03.4
2000–01 to 2001–025.16.4
2001–02 to 2002–03(14)3.6(14)3.5

(14) Figures for 2001–02 are not directly comparable with 2002–03 owing to the changes in funding arrangements for the National Crime Squad/National Criminal Intelligence Service. The figures have been adjusted accordingly.


1. Total Grant includes Police Principal Grant, Rural Policing Grant, Crime Fighting Fund and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) Revenue Support Grant (RSG), National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), Standard Spending Assessment reduction grant and Central Support Protection Grant.

2. Figures for the City of London included within the overall percentage increases for England and Wales include Police Principal Grant only. NNDR and RSG are paid to the City of London Corporation for all services, including the police.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of the additional £180 million being allocated in 2002–03 to address street crime policing and counter-terrorism, referred to on 17 April 2002, Official Report, column 589, will be spent in 2002–03. [52866]

Mr. Denham: It is intended that all the additional funding will be spent in 2002–03.

Commonwealth Games (Policing Costs)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to report on its assessment of the bid from Greater Manchester Police for funding of the policing costs of the Commonwealth games. [41412]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 March 2002]: My right hon. Friend The Home Secretary (Mr. Blunkett) announced in January 2002 a special grant payment of £3 million to Greater Manchester Police Authority towards the additional costs of policing the Commonwealth games.

Taking account of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's appraisal of the Police Authority's request for additional support, we have now decided to increase the special grant to a maximum of £5 million, 63 per cent. of the estimated additional costs of policing the games.

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£1.7 million has already been paid to Greater Manchester Police Authority. The balance will be paid after the Commonwealth games, in the light of additional costs incurred.


Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling on behalf of Mr. P. J. Wright of Edenbridge, dated 3 December 2001, 7 February 2002 and 15 March 2002. [54095]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 2 May 2002]: A reply to the right hon. Member was despatched on 7 May 2002.

Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letters of the hon. Member for Broxbourne of (a) 6 February, (b) 5 March, (c) 4 April and (d) 1 May relating to her constituent Mrs. Kim Cannon of Wormley. [54734]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 May 2002]: A reply to the hon. Member was despatched on 7 May 2002.


Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases with the Appeals Section have not been despatched to the IAT. [50703]

Angela Eagle: Appeals to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal (IAT) are lodged directly with the IAT and not with the Appeals Support Section of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND).

There are, however, an estimated 48,000 appeals lodged with IND that have not yet been sent to the Immigration Appellate Authority. The majority of these are asylum appeals.

Voluntary Organisations (Disclosure)

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the Criminal Records Bureau has carried out a mapping exercise to identify whether the system of disclosures for voluntary organisations and volunteers has full national coverage; [51798]

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Mr. Denham: Since we announced in February last year that Standard and Enhanced Disclosures would be issued free by the Criminal Records Bureau in the case of volunteers, we have received some representations in favour of the provision of funding, principally to meet start-up expenses, and overhead costs of processing individual applications. Estimates by a number of organisations as to what such costs might be—whether the organisation would be acting on its own behalf or, as an umbrella body, countersigning applications at the request of others—have varied very considerably, depending upon a range of factors including the size of the organisation and the number of applications to be processed.

We have considered the representations very carefully but are not persuaded that it would be appropriate for Government funding to be made available for this purpose. In guidance for umbrella bodies, the bureau has urged that any charges made for providing the service should be kept to a minimum. Organisations wishing to use an umbrella body are advised to inquire about, and to compare, any such charges.

We have been determined that all those wishing to access the Criminal Records Bureau's service should have ready means of access. To assist bodies for whom registration in their own right is not appropriate, the bureau has encouraged others to register as umbrella bodies. Up to 23 April 2002, a total of 713 bodies had so registered, including 422 who are prepared to act as "open" umbrella bodies—i.e., countersign applications at the request of others outside their own circle or sector (but possibly subject to a geographical restriction stated by the umbrella body on registration). The Bureau maintains a record of umbrella bodies by geographical area, which shows that there are good numbers of such bodies in each, with the exception of mid-Wales and north Wales where numbers are lower. But organisations seeking the services of an umbrella body are not confined to their own area. Voluntary organisations needing to find an umbrella body should access the Criminal Record Bureau's website, which has an umbrella body search facility, or contact the Criminal Records Bureau direct on 0870 90 90 811. Organisations are continuing to apply for registration, and the number of umbrella bodies will increase. Officials are exploring means of developing the network further.

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