HC Deb 24 May 2004 vol 421 c1414W
Ms Abbott

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of protection schemes for witnesses involved in gun crime cases. [175539]

Caroline Flint

The Home Office, in conjunction with the Scottish Executive, the Northern Ireland Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers, has appointed an independent consultant to carry out an assessment of witness protection arrangements nationally. The assessment is covering all cases where witness protection is afforded by UK law enforcement agencies including the police. It will provide us with valuable information about the circumstances in which witness protection is provided, broken down by crime type, including offences where firearms have been used.

The assessment commenced on 2 January; it was announced in the White Paper One Step Ahead —a 21st century strategy to defeat organised crime which I published on 29 March. The assessment is due to be completed over the summer, and a final report will be available in the autumn.