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2 Nov 2009 : Column 685W—continued

Community Policing

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding was allocated for the Basic Command Unit Fund in each year since its introduction; and how much has been allocated for 2009-10. [296360]

Mr. Hanson: The Basic Command Unit Fund was implemented in 2003-04. From 2003-04 to 2007-08 inclusive the annual allocation of the fund amounted to £50 million and to £40 million in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Community Policing: Staffordshire

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of neighbourhood policing schemes in (a) Staffordshire and (b) Tamworth constituency. [296109]

Mr. Hanson: Neighbourhood policing is central to providing a police service that is responsive to local crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB) concerns. Since 2002 we have invested over £1 billion to ensure that there is now a Neighbourhood Policing team in every neighbourhood, including in total more than 13,500 officers and 16,000 PCSOs. In December 2008, we introduced the Policing Pledge, which outlines commitments that the police service have made to the public, including minimum response times, holding monthly meetings to understand local concerns and providing regular updates on action taken to deal with those concerns.

The latest British Crime Survey (BCS) figures released in October 2009 show an improving trend that, nationally, 50 per cent. of the public now agree that the antisocial behaviour and crime issues that matter locally are being dealt with. In October 2009, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary published a report on the progress of all forces in delivering the pledge. The report graded Staffordshire police as "fair".

It is for individual police forces and authorities to ensure the effectiveness of neighbourhood policing in their area. The Government will hold forces to account for progress through the single top-down target that antisocial behaviour and crime issues that matter locally are being dealt with.

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Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has inspected every force in England and Wales to assess their capabilities in delivering Neighbourhood Policing and Developing Citizen Focus. HMIC's assessment in September 2008 was that all forces, including Staffordshire police, had met this standard.

Community Safety Fund

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Community Safety Fund to be fully implemented; what the fund's budget for (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12 is; and if he will make a statement. [296403]

Mr. Hanson: The Community Safety Fund (CSF) was dependent on the introduction of elected crime and policing representatives on to police authorities. The CSF would have superseded the Basic Command Unit (BCU) Fund. The subsequent decision not to introduce crime and policing representatives meant the Community Safety Fund was not established. The BCU Fund remains in place.

Crime Prevention: Staffordshire

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people from (a) Tamworth constituency and (b) Staffordshire have attended the community crime fighters one day training course; and how many are expected to have done so by the end of 2009. [296107]

Mr. Hanson: The community crime fighters scheme is a training programme covering new developments in tackling crime, anti-social behaviour and policing issues. It is aimed at people who are already active in their community and will help them to be aware of the services they should expect for their communities-for example the new national policing pledge, as well as what they can do if they see problems.

Over 3000 people have so far attended these events. 3,600 people will be trained by the end of 2009.

Analysis of the postcodes of people attending shows no one from the Tamworth constituency (B79) has attended the training to date.

The total of trained community crime fighters from across Staffordshire is 34. This breaks down into, five people have attended from Stafford (ST17), one person from Newcastle-under-Lyme (ST5), two from Cannock (WS11 and 12) and 26 from Stoke on Trent (ST1-4).

Attendance has mainly been from activists living in one of the 60 neighbourhood crime and justice pioneer areas. These are areas with high crime and high deprivation levels who are working closely with the Home Office. Stoke on Trent is a pioneer area.

Departmental Air Travel

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many flights within Great Britain officials of his Department took in 2008-09; and at what cost to the public purse. [296556]

Mr. Woolas: During 2008-09 the Home Office spent £1.7 million on flights within Great Britain. The Department's spend on all travel in 2008-09, not including expenditure incurred by its agencies, was £14.6 million. The number of flights cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

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The requested information for the Criminal Records Bureau cannot be identified without incurring disproportionate cost.

All travel by civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Civil Service Management Code and any other guidance as applicable contained within Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Departmental ICT

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what IT projects are being procured by his Department; and what stage of procurement each project has reached. [296658]

Mr. Woolas: The Home Department has one IT project, the UK Border Agency's Rostering and Annualised Hours project, currently under active procurement. This is at the stage of invitation of tenders.

Detention Centres: Finance

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the running cost of each immigration removal centre was in 2008-09. [295630]

Mr. Woolas: The operating costs for the immigration removal estate are commercially confidential. Disclosure will prejudice the commercial interests of the UK Border Agency and its operators.

Domestic Violence: Arrests

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what targets police forces have for arrests following reports of domestic violence. [296337]

Mr. Hanson: No national targets are set for police forces on arrest rates following reports of domestic violence. Domestic violence remains a serious crime.

All police forces have measures in place to ensure that officers are aware of domestic violence and have the knowledge and skills to deal with it effectively. In 2004 the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued guidance on investigating domestic violence to all police forces and rolled out training on the guidance for all officers including compulsory sessions for all probationer police officers.

Drugs: Death

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths of persons aged (a) below 16, (b) 16, 17 and 18, (c) 19 to 25 and (d) over 25 years of age were attributed to the use of illegal drugs in the most recent year for which figures are available. [295922]

Angela E. Smith [holding answer 27 October 2009]: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

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Letter from Jil Matheson, dated October 2009:

Table 1. Numbers of deaths related to drug misuse( 1) by age group, England and Wales( 2 ) 2008( 3)
Age group Number

Less than 16






Over 25


(1) Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Deaths were included where the underlying cause was due to drug poisoning (shown in Box 1 below) and where a drug controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was mentioned on the death certificate.
(2) Figures for England and Wales includes non-residents
(3) Figures are for deaths registered in 2008.

Box 1
Description ICD-10

Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco)

F11-F16, F18-F19

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances


Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances


Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances


Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent


Entry Clearances

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the clearance process for applications for entry to the UK in cases where the entry clearance officers are not based in the countries from which the application has been submitted; and if he will make a statement. [295957]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 29 October 2009]: The UK Border Agency will deploy its resources where it is most efficient and effective to do so, also taking account of security considerations. Although the decision on a visa application may be made in another location, applicants continue to submit their applications to, and collect their visas from the visa application centre in their country of residence, or the visa application centre designated to handle applications from applicants of their nationality. The registration part of the process can, in many cases, be separated from the decision part, making full use of modern communications systems and our partnerships with VFS Global and CSC Wordbridge.

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Entry Clearances: Pakistan

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what targets apply to the British consulate in Islamabad on timescales for replying to letters from hon. Members on visa applications. [293612]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 16 October 2009]: No targets apply to the visa section in Islamabad or elsewhere for replying to correspondence from MPs on visa matters as our policy is to request MPs address such correspondence to the UK Border Agency's Visa Services Directorate in London.

Entry Clearances: Russia

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons charges for telephone calls to his Department's visa application centre based in Russia are charged at different rates depending on whether the call is made in English or Russian. [296265]

Mr. Woolas: All callers to the UK Border Agency's Call Centre in Russia are charged at the same rate,
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irrespective of what language they use or where they call from within Russia. Callers are charged at 75 roubles per minute, with a minimum charge of 150 roubles per call; the charge includes VAT. Because there are no premium lines in Russia, the caller is charged through an invoice which the Call Centre company raises, taking the information from the caller at the beginning of the conversation.

There is one exception to this. If the caller is phoning from outside Russia, there is no infrastructure to bill them for the call-the cost of the call would need to be transferred from outside Russia, which is not legally possible. This means that calls made from outside Russia are not currently charged for.

Forensic Science Service

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the running costs of each forensic science centre were in each of the last five years. [295991]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The running costs of each of the laboratories over the last five years are:

£ m illion

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

























Birmingham Trident Court






Birmingham Priory












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