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Crime Fighting: New Funding

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: 1. As a result of the funding decisions outlined in the Budget statement, there will be a significant injection of £285 million for tackling crime and the causes of crime. This comprises Capital Modernisation Funding of £185 million for a range of projects, and a £100 million fund for modernising policing, of which around £91 million is for England and Wales and £9 million is for Scotland. £14 million of expenditure under the Capital Modernisation Fund has been previously announced in respect of DNA. The rest represents new money.

2. This funding will be used to step up the fight against crime in four key areas. It will speed up the recruitment of new officers; create more opportunities for local partnerships to tackle crime and disorder; provide further scientific and technological support to increase their effectiveness; and will develop and modernise the criminal justice system.

Crime Fighting Fund

3. The first deployment of resources from the £91 million fund for modernising policing will be utilised to enhance the Crime Fighting Fund. Under the Crime Fighting Fund, police forces have been allocated their shares of the 5,000 additional recruits over the next three years. This programme will now be brought forward with the aim of delivering all 5,000 within two years. Doubling the number to be recruited during the coming financial year will cost in the region of £11 million, above and beyond the £35 million which has already been provided for the current allocation. A further significant portion of the new £91 million funding will be used to assist the Metropolitan Police and other forces which are having particular difficulties with recruitment and retention, including the development of a national police recruiting campaign.

Partnerships

4. This new fund will also be an important contributor to strengthening the services which the police deliver, including cutting crime. In that context, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary will also want to look closely at the resources available to support the work with which the police are involved on local partnerships for tackling crime. In particular, he wants

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to look at the resources to deal with local problems of anti-social behaviour, to improve information sharing between partner agencies, and to provide more effective training in the development and implementation of local crime reduction strategies. One specific new development in this area is that Capital Modernisation Fund moneys will provide £950,000 to Operation LION. This is a programme being piloted in London which will encourage the development of integrated strategies to reduce crime and improve community safety.

Police--Science and Technology

5. The Capital Modernisation Fund will also boost the programme of work we already have in hand to roll out the latest and best in science and technology to the Police Service.

6. We shall be applying £40 million of new capital modernisation funding, together with £6 million already set aside, to roll out a new suite of information technology applications to support police operations as part of the National Strategy for Police Information Systems. The new systems, one on case preparation, the other for custody suites, will reduce considerably the burden of paperwork and bureaucracy, releasing police manpower to their primary duties. These projects will also be at the heart of a network of information technology systems connecting the criminal justice system and improving the efficiency of the whole process.

7. We are also using £25 million of the capital modernisation funding to establish a new Government Technical Assistance Centre (GTAC). GTAC will enable us to respond to the threat to public safety from criminal use of encryption and will provide law enforcement agencies with the capability to derive intelligence and evidence from new information and communication technologies. It will make a difference between serious crime being prevented or punished and criminals going unpunished and free to continue their activities by providing techniques for lawful interception of modern multimedia communications. It will also improve facilities for deriving evidence from lawfully seized computer data.

8. The programme to expand the national database of criminal DNA profiles which the Prime Minister announced last September will also start delivering on 1 April. The capital modernisation funding includes £14 million specifically for the DNA database, as part of the £34 million envelope of funding for the DNA project which has already been announced.

9. A further £21 million has been allocated for the roll-out of equipment to police forces for the video recording of interviews with suspects. The full roll-out is subject to the evaluation of an initial pilot scheme and the necessary parliamentary legislation. But, in principle, video taping will offer the prospect of an end to disputes in court about what actually happened during police interviews and thus deliver fairer administration of justice.

10. Another significant project using the latest technology will receive funding to help the fight against property crime. £4.5 million is being provided

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to develop the electronic "chipping" of goods. These electronic data tags will assist police officers or investigators in identifying and recovering stolen merchandise and be a powerful deterrent to would-be thieves, not only by increasing the risk of being caught but also making it more difficult for them to find purchasers of stolen merchandise.

Modernising and Developing the Criminal Justice System

11. In addition to investing in science and technology for the police, the extra resources announced in the Budget will provide additional investment right across the criminal justice system. The aim is to help modernise the system as a whole and to deliver a more joined-up approach to tackling crime. It will also help to deliver the modern service that the public is entitled to expect from the criminal justice system. The new capital investment includes the following:

12. Video links: £5.3 million to allow the innovative use of video conferencing technology to allow vulnerable or intimidated witnesses to give evidence remotely and also to allow defendants remanded in custody to take part in preliminary court hearings without leaving prison. This will build on the existing pilot schemes for video links between courts and prisons in Bristol and Manchester;

13. Post-release hostels for prisoners after drug treatment: £5 million to allow the establishment of post-release support for prisoners who have served sentences of up to a year and have drug misuse as well as housing problems. This will help in reducing reoffending by a group of high risk offenders;

14. Restructuring the prison estate: an investment of £40 million to modernise the prison estate. This will enable a start to be made on a programme to provide additional prison capacity. It will include creating additional capacity in existing prisons and, as a result of the success of home detention curfew, converting spare capacity in open prisons into closed conditions;

15. Joining up criminal justice system information technology systems: £1.48 million to provide a central resource for the Criminal Justice System Integrating Business and Information Systems (IBIS) initiative. This will be used to ensure that Criminal Justice Service and agency information technology systems are developed so as to allow interoperability between them. Interoperability will support the fast access to information to the key business areas in the criminal justice system, from preparing cases through the court process to serving sentences;

16. Criminal Justice Units: £5 million to enable the Crown Prosecution Service to invest in the infrastructure needed for new joint Crown Prosecution Service/police criminal justice units. These will lead to improved quality and timeliness of prosecution files, involve closer and better working relationships so as to eliminate the duplication of tasks, and will improve the handling of criminal justice casework and get it right first time; and

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17. In addition to these projects, the Lord Chancellor will make an announcement next month about additional investment of £23 million to modernise the Crown Court.

Race Equality Performance Indicators

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the basket of race equality performance indicators they have been developing.[HL1743]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today placed in the Library a copy of the document Race Equality in Public Services--Driving up Standards and Accounting for Progress. The document sets out performance data in a number of key areas which are of interest to ethnic minority communities, and provides a quantifiable way of demonstrating the Government's progress in promoting race equality.

Police Officers: Injuries

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 1 February (WA 29-30), whether they will give further details of the payments to police officers on duty.[HL1559]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Pursuant to my reply of 1 February 2000, cols. WA 29-30, Table 1 in respect of the number of injuries to police officers in England in 1997-98 and 1998-99 related to injuries which resulted in police officers being absent from work for more than three consecutive days and not all injuries as implied by the Answer. Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985, employers are not required to report injuries which result in less or no time off work.

The table is reproduced as follows:

Table 1

Injuries to police officers resulting in more than 3 consecutive days off work
Type of Accident1997-981998-99
Struck by moving, flying or falling object134154
Struck by moving vehicle 5273
Strike against something fixed or stationary8394
Injured whilst handling, lifting or carrying 238326
Slip, trip or fall on same level 326324
Falls from height 87103
Exposed to or contact with harmful substance 2136
Injured by an animal 3551
Injuries caused by assault or violence 527448
Other kind of accident 184160
Totals 1,6871,769

Source:

Health and Safety Executive.

The Police Service does not make payments to officers who are injured on duty.

Officers may apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for compensation for personal injury arising from crimes of violence.


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