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Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to secure a bilateral agreement with the French Government to permit the immediate return of cross-Channel illegal immigrants to France. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 21 May 2002]: A bilateral agreement for the return of illegal immigrants who do not claim asylum is already in place between the United Kingdom and France. Nearly 6,000 illegal immigrants are returned each year under this agreement.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in Greater London have less than two years' experience, broken down by borough; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: The information requested has been provided by the Commissioners of Police of the Metropolis (Sir John Stevens QPM) and for the City of London Police (Mr. Perry Nove QPM) and is given in the table.
Police force performance does not depend solely upon the number of experienced officers available. 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 to tackle antisocial behaviour. The test of success will be whether the measures being put in place will make a real difference to the quality of life of individuals and communities up and down the country.
The public have a right to expect the same high standards of service wherever they live and the Government propose to put a framework in place to ensure that all police forces come up to the standard of the best.
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|Metropolitan police, by borough||Number|
|Kensington and Chelsea||78|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||79|
|Barking and Dagenham||30|
|Richmond upon Thames||35|
|Kingston upon Thames||36|
|Metropolitan police total||2,484|
|City of London police(14)||114|
(14) As at 1 May 2002
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many trainee Metropolitan police officers are housed in non-police force accommodation; what accommodation is being used; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: The Commissioner of the Metropolitan police informs me that all recruits currently undergoing training in the Metropolitan police recruit training school are housed in police accommodation.
Mr. Denham: The new provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Codes of Practice, which came into force on 1 April 2002, will enable police forces to make more use of video technology to speed up the identification process. Video identification provides a fast and effective alternative to live identity parades. Problems in arranging "live" identification parades within a reasonable period of time have contributed significantly to delays in processing cases and such delays impact upon the quality of evidence and compromise the whole process of justice. Making better use of video identification technology will free up officer time to tackle crime and standardise police practices. It will also result in more
10 Jun 2002 : Column 809W
positive identifications and benefit witnesses and victims, who will no longer have to re-live their ordeal by coming face-to-face with their attacker in a live identity parade.
Rollout of video identification technology, for which the Government have provided £7.6 million, has commenced in the 10 police force areas participating in the Government's Robbery Reduction Initiative.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the impact of the decision to end the Special Voucher Scheme on the UK's obligations under the Fourth Protocol to the ECHR, with special reference to the duties of a signatory under the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties. 
Beverley Hughes: The abolition of the Special Quota Voucher Scheme did not infringe any obligations of the United Kingdom. We have not ratified Protocol 4 and have no obligations under it. And, because abolition of the Scheme will not prevent compliance with Protocol 4 if we do ratify it, we have not infringed our obligations under the Vienna Convention.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the establishment figure for (a) linguists, (b) administrative assistants, (c) generalists and (d) technicians in the security service is; how many are in post at each level; and what steps his Department has taken to increase recruitment. 
Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 22 May 2002]: It has been the policy of successive Governments not to break down Security Service employment figures in any way that indicates Service capabilities so as not to impair its effectiveness in undertaking its vital statutory functions.
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Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what basis detainees who were present at Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre on the evening of 14 February were selected for questioning by the police as part of the criminal investigation into the disturbances at Yarl's Wood. 
Beverley Hughes: The selection of detainees who were present at Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre on the evening of 14 February 2002 for questioning by the police as part of the criminal investigation into the disturbances at Yarl's Wood is a matter for Bedfordshire police.
Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detainees who were present at Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre on the evening of 14 February have been (a) selected for questioning and (b) questioned by the police as part of the criminal investigation into the disturbances at Yarl's Wood. 
Beverley Hughes: The criminal investigation being conducted by Bedfordshire police is wide ranging and has involved the questioning of witnesses from a variety of services, companies and agencies as well as detainees at Yarl's Wood. The selection of detainees who were present at Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre on the evening of 14 February 2002 for questioning as part of the criminal investigation into the disturbances at Yarl's Wood is a matter for Bedfordshire police.
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