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Cowboy Builders (West Sussex)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make funding available from the distraction burglary budget or other crime prevention resources to help expand the first check point scheme based in Lancing, West Sussex, dealing with cowboy builders. [78167]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 29 October 2002]: We have made substantial funding available to local crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs), under the safer communities initiative, the communities against drugs programme and the partnership development fund, to enable them to tackle their crime problems. The Worthing and Adur CDRPs have been allocated #155,072 and #104,154 respectively for 2002–03 under these initiatives. No further central funding has been set aside for distraction burglary projects in 2002–03.

It is for CDRPs to decide on the priorities and plans for their area and to direct their funding accordingly. In the case of Worthing and Adur, their plans have already been made and approved. If First Check Point wishes to inquire about the possibility of obtaining funding from this source, it will need to contact those local authorities.

It would be open to anyone seeking to set up a similar local scheme elsewhere to approach their CDRP in the same way.

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Criminal Justice

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that the parts of the Criminal Justice Bill for which he is responsible are subject to pre-legislative scrutiny on-line. [75306]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 24 October 2002]: The Criminal Justice Bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Committee prior to the second reading of the Bill. The Home Affairs Committee is expected to publish a short report which will be available on-line. On-line consultation will not be possible, given the short time-scales between the Queen's Speech and introduction.

Drug-related Crime

Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to target support in the fight against drugs on specific communities. [76675]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The fight against drugs involves co-ordinated action to deal with the supply of drugs and drug-related crime, as well as strengthening communities to resist drugs, and providing treatment, harm minimisation and education services. Resources for all these services are targeted according to local needs, so they can target the drugs which do the most harm, problematic users and the most vulnerable sections of society. We will continue to review the way that the available money is allocated to ensure that it is easily accessible and reaches the areas where it can be most effective.

Drug Trafficking

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is planning to strengthen the capability of the Customs and Immigration Services to deal with trafficking in illegal drugs; and if he will make a statement. [77498]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 28 October 2002]: The Concerted Inter-agency Drug Action group comprises representatives of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the security and intelligence agencies and a number of other relevant Departments and agencies (but not the Immigration Service), and is chaired by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. It has developed a strategy for tackling supply of heroin and cocaine from source to street as part of the overall drug strategy, an update of which we intend to publish later this year.

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the ability of Gloucestershire Constabulary to provide acceptable levels of policing during the forthcoming financial year; and if he will make a statement; [77036]

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Mr. Denham: Spending Review 2002 has made additional resources available for policing. By 2005–06 spending on the police will amount to around #1.5 billion more than in 2002–03. The final grant position for individual police authorities for the next financial year will take account of the allocation of resources for 2003/04 and the outcome of the recent review of the police funding formula.

We will take decisions on both the Spending Review and the make-up of the police funding formula shortly. During the recent consultation period on the options for changing the funding formula responses have been received from Gloucestershire police authority and an hon. Friend. All responses are being taken into account, and we are considering very carefully the implications for police authorities of implementing each of the options for change.

I intend to provide sufficient resources to support Gloucestershire, along with all other police authorities, in maintaining stable levels of service and continuity in local policing.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been employed by Gloucestershire Constabulary in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [77037]

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

Gloucestershire Constabulary is currently at record levels of officers.

Year as at 31 March Police StrengthCivilian Support Staff


Home Office Statistical Bulletins—Police Service Strength 1997—2002. Home Office historical data 1992—1996

Homicide (Minors)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have (a) had cases initiated against them and (b) been prosecuted for cases which involve the death of minors in each of the last five years. [75554]

Hilary Benn: A suspect in a homicide case is defined as (i) a person who has been arrested in respect of an offence initially classified as homicide and has been charged with homicide, or (ii) a person who is suspected

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by the police of having committed the offence, but is known to have died or committed suicide prior to the arrest.

Data on homicides, held centrally, can identify the number of suspects involved and those indicted. The figures for homicide victims under 16 years are given in the table:

Total number of suspectsTotal number of suspects indicted for homicide

Data as at 3 October 2001; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available.

In order to avoid duplication of suspects, only the suspects in relation to the first victim have been counted. If there are cases where the first victim is over 16 years and there are other victims under 16, the associated suspects will not have been included.

The number of suspects indicted in the last couple of years has not necessarily fallen These figures will change with time. In the published homicide statistics, data are shown according to the year in which the police initially recorded the offence as homicide. This is not necessarily the year in which the incident which led to the death took place, nor the year in which any court decision was made. The statistics all refer to the position as at 3 October 2001. Subsequent court hearings or other information received will change the figures given, so too much importance should not be placed on the 2000–01 figures.

Homicide statistics are published annually in chapter 4 of XCriminal Statistics England and Wales". The latest statistics relating to 2000–01 were published in December 2001 in XCriminal Statistics England and Wales 2000".

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have complained to the Parliamentary Ombudsman about delays in the immigration and nationality directorate. [75660]

Beverley Hughes: Information on complaints against Departments investigated during 2001–02 is set out in the Parliamentary Ombudsman's Annual report for 2001–02, copies of which are available in the Library, or on the Parliamentary Ombudsman's website at:

A total of 35 complaints were made to the parliamentary ombudsman about delays in the immigration and nationality directorate between 1 April 2002 and 30 September 2002.

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Immigration and Nationality Department Board to

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answer the letters of the hon. Member for Ashford of 11 June, 30 July and 11 September on the subject of the Mutabarruku family. [76739]

Beverley Hughes: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) wrote to the hon. Member on 25 October. I apologise for the delay in doing so.

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