To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many items have been lost once deposited at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (a) in 2002 and (b) to date in 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Records are kept in respect of the numbers of searches that are conducted by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) Return of Passport Unit in respect of documents—mostly passports—whose immediate return are requested by their owners. In 2002 the Return of Passport Unit received 4,203 requests for the return of documents and issued 390 lost passport letters; as at 31 May this year. the Unit has received 1,774 requests for the return of documents and 308 lost passport letters have been issued. A range of measures including the setting up of secure handling areas and the early return of sponsors' passports are currently being put in place to significantly improve IND's ability to find and return documents at the time of request.