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Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the correspondence sent to him concerning Damira Majic of Hope raised with him on 11 July 2000 and acknowledged by card reference number 13706/0 of 21 July 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
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arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders (a) on the latest date for which figures are available and (b) in 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The latest average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders is an estimated 94 days for the month of October 2000. In October 1997, the average was 130 days. The figure for the whole of 1997 was 141 days. Substantial progress has been made towards the Government's target of halving the average time, from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the organisations and individuals from whom he has received representations on the plan to charge for criminal records checks. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: We have received a substantial number of representations, both direct and via right hon. and hon. Members, over many months, about the fees which will be charged by the Criminal Records Bureau for criminal record checks when they become available, in most cases for the first time, to assist in recruitment decisions and protect the welfare of vulnerable people. These have come principally from voluntary organisations, larger (such as the Scout Association and the St. John Ambulance) and smaller in size, which are involved in working with those under 18 or other vulnerable people, and from individuals involved in volunteering. There have also been ad hoc meetings at both ministerial and official levels with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), with individual groups, and with groups of organisations such as national sports bodies; and the NCVO represents the voluntary sector on the board which oversees and advises Ministers on the programme to establish the Criminal Records Bureau.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the eligibility criteria are in each EU member state for foreign nationals to participate in that member state's national elections; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Those entitled to vote at parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom are British citizens and those citizens of other Commonwealth countries and of the Republic of Ireland who are resident in the United Kingdom. Resident citizens of other European Union member states are not eligible to vote at parliamentary elections but may vote in local government and European parliamentary elections. I have no plans to change the current arrangements.
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the last three years have been (a) arrested for and (b) convicted of (i) wounding and (ii) killing with a legally held shotgun. 
Information, taken from the data collection "Recorded crime in which firearms were reported to have been used or misappropriated" on the number of homicides and other injuries caused by the use of shotguns in the last three years are recorded is follows:
|Injuries--shotgun used as a blunt instrument||11||14||20|
Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in England and Wales in each of the years 1978-79 to 2000-01; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The information is set out in the table. The latest available figures for 2000-01 are those for 30 September 2000. They show that police numbers at the end of September 2000 were 444 higher than in the March of that year.
With funding from the crime fighting fund--£454 million over the three years 2000-01 to 2002-03--forces will be able to recruit 9,000 police officers over and above the number they had otherwise planned to recruit in that period. This funding should enable police numbers to reach their highest ever level by 2003-04.
|Year(38)||Total number of police officers|
(38) As at 31 March
(39) 30 September
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Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables there were in (a) Avon and Somerset and (b) the Yeovil constituency area for each quarter since September 1995; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Police personnel statistics are collected by the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate only every six months--as at 30 September and 31 March each year. The figures are collected per force and not at constituency level. The figures available for the Avon and Somerset special constabulary from September 1995 to September 2000 are as follows:
I understand from the chief constable of Avon and Somerset that it is not possible to provide information about the numbers of special constables specifically for the Yeovil constituency area as such information is not collected. Year-end figures are available for the number of specials in post from April 1997 for the East Somerset police district, which incorporates the Yeovil constituency, and these are:
Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in England and Wales in (a) March 1992 and (b) March 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
With funding from the crime fighting fund--£454 million over the three years 2000-01 to 2002-03--forces will be able to recruit 9,000 police officers over and above the number they had otherwise planned to recruit in that period. As a result, recruitment is up. 5,268 recruits entered the police training colleges in the first nine months of the current financial year compared to 3,030 in the same period in 1999-2000. And by 30 September 2000, police numbers stood at 124,614, 444 higher than at the end of March that year.
Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the actual strength was of the East Somerset Division of Avon and Somerset Constabulary for each quarter since 1995; 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: The table sets out the actual number of officers in the Avon and Somerset constabulary and the East Somerset division since September 1995. Information on police numbers is available on a half- yearly basis only (March and September).
I understand from the chief constable that it is not possible to provide information about the number of officers in the Yeovil constituency as such information is not held. Although information has been provided from September 1995 for the East Somerset division, I understand from the chief constable that restructuring and changes to territorial divisions in 1997 prevent like-with-like comparisons being made with the number of officers in the East Somerset division for the periods before 1997.
|Year/month||Total force strength(40)||East Somerset division (police numbers)(40)|
|30 September 1995||2,986||193|
|31 March 1996||2,981||196|
|30 September 1996||3,004||200|
|31 March 1997||2,989||230.5|
|30 September 1997||2,973||240|
|31 March 1998||2,976||243.4|
|30 September 1998||2,966||238|
|31 March 1999||2,999||240.9|
|30 September 1999||2,989||239|
|31 March 2000||2,934||234.7|
|30 September 2000||2,941||239|
(40) Full-time equivalent numbers
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