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Police

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will announce final proposals for police force restructuring in the South West of England. (77127)

As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced during the course of Home Office oral questions on 19 June, no Orders for Home Secretary initiated police force mergers will be laid before the summer recess. Instead, we want to spend the coming months engaging with police forces and police authorities, including those in the South West, in discussions on the best way forward.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial assistance his Department intends to give to Lancashire and Cumbria police authorities to assist in their voluntary merger. (79818)

We have currently offered Lancashire and Cumbria police a total of £17.8 million in restructuring grants, reflecting our commitment to paying 100 per cent. of reasonable set up revenue and capital costs of restructuring, net of reasonable savings, and reflecting their trailblazer status. We expect to come to a final agreement in the autumn.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the cost of bringing protective services in the four Welsh police forces up to the level considered fit for purpose in the report Closing the Gap. (60353)

The case submitted by the four Welsh police authorities in December 2005 identified costs and benefits of force merger, including a considerable investment to provide an uplift in protective services.

Our assessment, based on independent financial review and professional moderation, is that the same benefits could be realised for a much lower investment. The Home Office continues to work with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Welsh police forces and authorities to review the business case, to refine the costs and benefits of providing the necessary uplift in protective service provision while achieving best value for money.

The operational assessment that a single authority and force for Wales is the best for protecting people better from serious crime and terrorism remains unchanged.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been shot by police firearms units and subsequently not been charged with any offence in each of the last five years. (76396)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been shot by police firearms units resulting in (a) an injury and (b) a fatality in each of the last five years. (76397)

The information is not collected in the form requested. Since 2001 there have been 27 separate incidents where conventional weapons were discharged by armed police officers in England and Wales. I understand from ACPO that 16 people have been fatally shot, and a further six people have received an injury. A breakdown by year is shown in the following table.

Number of incidents at which firearms discharged by a police officer (England and Wales)

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

20061

Fatal

4

2

2

2

6

Injury

2

2

1

1

No injury

1

1

1

1

Not known

1

1 To 31 March 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated cost involved in the reorganisation of existing police forces into the Yorkshire and Humber regional force is; and from where the required resources will be provided. (67511)

Based on financial projections currently available and being refined, a net saving from restructuring of £37 million is projected during the first five years of operation of a combined authority.

The Government have undertaken to pay 100 per cent. of reasonable set up revenue and capital costs, net of reasonable savings.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of the (a) civilian staff and (b) specialist police staff involved in level 2 operations and forensic management who are working at the new Gloucestershire constabulary headquarters at Quedgeley if the proposed police restructuring goes ahead. (65519)

The proposed merger of police forces into new strategic forces addresses an identified weakness in current provision and is intended to strengthen forces’ ability to deliver protective services to the public. No decision has yet been made in respect of forces in SW England including Gloucestershire. Decisions about future posts will be for the new strategic forces management teams to determine. Should a new force be created, staff and police officers in post in precursor forces at the time its creation would transfer to the new force.