§ Mr. Dorrell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many uniformed officers were employed by the Leicestershire Police Service at 5 April in each year from 1997 to 2003. 866W
§ Ms Blears
Police strength information does not differentiate between uniformed and plain clothed officers. The information requested (to the nearest available date) is set out in the table. On 31 August Leicestershire Constabulary had record strength of 2,159 officers, which is 210 more than in March 1997.
Leicestershire Constabulary Police officers1 Police staff1 31 March 1997 1,949 755 31 March 1998 1,983 774 31 March 1999 1,993 802 31 March 2000 1,993 805 31 March 2001 2,033 806 31 March 2002 2,100 816 31 March 2003 2,114 934 31 August 2003 2,159 n/a 1 Data are for full-time equivalent strength
§ Mrs. Curtis-Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions Merseyside Police have(a) closed premises that are being used for drug dealing or use causing disorder or serious nuisance, (b) issued penalty notices for truancy, (c) designated an area with a history of anti-social behaviour, allowing them to disperse groups causing intimidation and take home children who are out on streets late at night, (d) used the new controls to tackle the misuse of air weapons and replica guns, (e) used their new powers for dealing with public assemblies and trespassers, (f) used their new power to move on trespassing encampments where a relevant site is available, (g) used their new powers to intervene in neighbourly disputes regarding high hedges, (h) issued penalty notices to 16 and 17 year olds for disorder and (i) used their extended stop and search powers where reasonable suspicion is held that articles made, adapted or intended for use in offences of criminal damage are being carried. 
§ Ms Blears
These powers are contained within the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which both received Royal Assent on 20 November 2003. The powers are not yet available to the police—they will be commenced during 2004.
§ Phil Sawford
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost is of recruiting and training a police officer. 
§ Ms Blears
The recruitment of police officers is the responsibility of the Chief Officer of each force. No central records are kept of the average cost across the police service of recruiting and training a police officer in England and Wales.
When rates of payment to be made under the Crime Fighting Fund in 2000–01 were agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities, £1,000 was included for recruitment and £7,000 for the initial residential training for each new recruit. These payments have been up-rated annually to £1,082 and £10,000 respectively per recruit in 2003–04.867W
§ Mr. Oaten
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those police forces in which authorisations under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 are in place; and which of these areas have been subject to rolling monthly authorisations during 2003. 
§ Mr. Blunkett
There are currently 14 section 44 authorisations in place. However, the publicising of the use of the powers in any particular area is an operational decision for the force concerned. Any decision to publicise the fact that the powers are being used would be made in light of the operational objective, and mindful of the need to ensure that the information released cannot be exploited by those intent on committing acts of terrorism.
Each authorisation is given full consideration and confirmed only if I am satisfied that their use is expedient to prevent acts of terrorism as set against the background of the current threat level.
§ Ross Cranston
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the United Kingdom police officers that will be deployed in Iraq are from the West Midlands police force; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Blears
The 2002 settlement included a provision to reduce expenditure on police overtime by 15 per cent. by March 2006. The provision came into effect on 1 April 2003. Forces will be providing information to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of (HMIC) Constabulary on expenditure on overtime as part of the arrangements for monitoring progress against the target and HMIC will report on an annual basis.
§ Mr. Ruffley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have retired from(a) Suffolk Constabulary, (b) Norfolk Constabulary, (c) Essex Police Force and (d) Cambridgeshire Constabulary in each of the last five years; and what the national average age of retirement was in each year. 
§ Ms Blears
The number of police officers who have retired in each of the last five years from each force is given in the table.
Police retirements: ordinary and medical 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 Cambridgeshire 46 38 43 44 44 Essex 101 124 99 104 90 Norfolk 47 45 49 51 65 Suffolk 44 37 52 36 46
Information on the national average retirement age of police officers is not held centrally and not readily available locally. However the information for Suffolk is as follows.868W
Suffolk: average retirement age of police officers Average age 1998–99 47.06 1999–2000 49.85 2000–01 49.36 2001–02 48.51 2002–03 51.71
§ Paul Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what resources have been made available to Gwent Police since 1997; how many police officers there were in the Gwent Force in each year since 1997; and what the expected number of police officers in the Gwent Force is in each of the next two years. 
§ Ms Blears
The information requested is set out in the table. Gwent Police had record police strength at the end of August 2003. The balance between police officers and police staff and other resources, such as IT systems, in the Gwent Police is a matter for the Chief Constable. It is not therefore possible to estimate the number of police officers that Gwent Police will have Over the next two years. I understand that Gwent Police has forecast strength for 31 March 2004 at 1,357.
The provisional police funding settlement for 2004–05 will give Gwent Police Authority a Government funding allocation of £71.8 million, an increase of 3.25 per cent over 2003–04. It is for the Police Authority to set the budget.
Gwent Police: Funding, Police strength and police staff strength 1997 to 2003 Year (as at 31 March) Force budget £million Police officer strength Police (support) staff strength 1996–97 62.6 1,243 452 1997–98 64.6 1,233 477 1998–99 66.9 1,247 487 1999–2000 71.4 1,264 498 2000–01 76.1 1,274 537 2001–02 80.7 1,333 570 2002–03 84.4 1,341 607 2003–04 92.0 1,3421 Not available 1 Police strength as at 31 August 2003
§ Mr. Goodman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many pupils(a) applied to join and (b) were enlisted as members of Thames Valley Police Force in (i) 2000, (ii) 2001 and (iii) 2002. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 11 December 2003]: Neither the Home Office nor Thames Valley Police Force record the number of applications received from pupils to join Thames Valley Police Force record the number of applications received form pupils to join Thames Valley Police Force.
Police recruits need to be of a minimum age of 18½ when they join a police force in England and Wales.