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Written Answers

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 8 October 2007

Solicitor-General

Crown Prosecution Service: Information Officers

To ask the Solicitor-General how many press officers are employed by the Crown Prosecution Service. (154139)

The Crown Prosecution Service employs seven press officers at its headquarters. These consist of: four information officers; two senior information officers; and one chief press officer.

Home Department

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. (154662)

Antisocial Behaviour: Cambridgeshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been issued to 10 to 17-year-olds in Cambridgeshire in each year since their introduction; and how many in each year had individual support orders attached. (153766)

The number of antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) is given in the following table. There have been no individual support orders (ISOs) issued in Cambridgeshire up to the end of December 2005 which is the latest period for which data are available. In April this year we completed a survey of 60 areas on support available for young people on ASBOs. The headline results support anecdotal information from practitioners that where ISOs are not being made it is mostly because they are already receiving other interventions from the Youth Offending Team (YOT). The courts are obliged to consider making an ISO every time they make an ASBO on a 10 to 17-year-old and must give a reason in open court if they decide not to do so. The use of ISOs continues to be actively promoted by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the Home Office as an aid to helping YOTs fulfil their role in tackling antisocial behaviour.

Persons aged 10 to 17: Number of antisocial behaviour orders issued at all courts as reported to the Home Office by the Court Service by area and year, April 19991 to December 2005

Number

CJS area—Cambridgeshire

April 1999 to May 2000

1

June to December 2000

0

2001

1

2002

2

2003

10

2004

3

2005

14

Total

30

1 No age details available for the period April 1999 to May 2000. Note: Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been issued in (a) Cambridgeshire, (b) south Cambridgeshire and (c) east Cambridgeshire in each year since their introduction. (153770)

Number of ASBOs issued at all courts, as reported to the Home Office by the Court Service, by period and where restrictions are imposed within local authority areas, up to 31 December 2005CambridgeshireEast Cambridgeshire DC2South Cambridgeshire DC31 April 1999 to 31 December 2005101671 April 1999 to 31 May 200015n/an/a1 June 2000 to 31 December 20001——1 January 2001 to 31 December 20012——1 January 2002 to 31 December 20022——1 January 2003 to 31 December 200315——1 January 2004 to 31 December 200426——1 January 2005 to 31 December 20055067 n/a = not available1 Between 1 April 1999 and 31 May 2000 data were collected on aggregate numbers only by police force area (pfa).2 Three orders cover all E and W.3 Two orders cover all E and W.Notes:1. This local authority area table differs from criminal justice system area (cjsa) tables in that an issuing court can be outside the area in which the have been imposed. For example, an issuing court may be in Hampshire (cjsa) but restrictions apply solely to a local authority area within Dorset.2. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders were breached in Cambridgeshire in each year since their introduction. (153771)

The information is shown in the following table.

B8ii: Number of ASBOs proven in court to have been breached1 in Cambridgeshire as reported to the Home Office, in each year from 1 June 2000 and 31 December 2005

Total ASBOs breached in:

CJS area

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Cambridgeshire

3

2

8

14

22

1 Some of the ASBOs in the table have been breached in more than one year and have therefore been counted more than once. Breaches are counted in this table in the area of breach.

Note:

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Assaults on Police

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many assaults on police officers there were in London in each of the last five years. (154809)

The information requested is given in the table.

Assaults1 on police officers from 2000-01 to 2004-052,3

London4

2000-01

2001-02

1,500

2002-03

1,941

2003-04

2,397

2004-05

2,667

1 Data collated on behalf of and published by HMIC in its Chief Inspector of Constabulary’s Annual Reports.

2 Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive.

3 Data for 2005-06 and 2006-07 have been collated but have not yet been validated. HMIC have advised that they will no longer be publishing this dataset in their annual report.

4 Metropolitan police and City of London police. Metropolitan police was unable to provide data for 2000-01.

Assets Recovery Agency: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Assets Recovery Agency. (154735)

Association of Chief Police Officers: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Association of Chief Police Officers. (154684)

Asylum: Eritrea

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has had made of the safety of refugees returned to Eritrea. (154567)

The safety on return of unsuccessful asylum seekers from Eritrea is, as with all other nationalities, considered on an individual basis against the background of current information from a wide range of well-recognised sources about the situation in Eritrea. Those who are found not to be in need of international protection and have no legal basis of stay in the UK may return voluntarily. Where an individual does not return voluntarily, removal may be enforced. Enforced removals will only be undertaken where we are satisfied the individual has no protection needs.

Border and Immigration Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints of lost documentation have the Border and Immigration Agency received from members of the public in the last 12 months. (156341)

For the period 1 October 2006 to 30 September 2007, 183 complaints of lost documentation were recorded centrally. However, there will be instances where individuals will have written direct to various business areas which will not have been recorded centrally. It is not possible to state a more precise figure.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the Border and Immigration Agency has paid compensation to members of the public for lost documentation over the last 12 months; and how much compensation was paid over that period. (156345)

Such a level of detail is not required for the purposes of our ordinary financial reporting or accounting. This information is therefore not routinely available from one source within the Department and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) average and (b) target length of time taken between the receipt of a letter by the Borders and Immigration Agency from an hon. Member and the sending of a substantive reply has been in the last period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. (156289)

In the period 1 January to 31 March 2007, the last period full data is available for, the average length of time it took the Border and Immigration Agency to reply to a letter from an hon. Member was 17.34 working days.

The Border and Immigration Agency’s target is to respond to 95 per cent. of Members’ letters on immigration and nationality related matters within 20 working days. The Agency has already improved significantly from 34 per cent. in 2004 to 54 per cent. in 2005, 78 per cent. in 2006 and should achieve more than 85 per cent. in 2007.

Cannabis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research studies the Government have (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) reviewed into the impact of the 2004 reclassification of cannabis on (i) levels of cannabis use and (ii) levels of harm from cannabis use; and if she will make a statement. (153894)

In 2005 the Government asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to carry out a review of the classification of cannabis which took into account the harms from cannabis use on both physical and mental health, and the levels of cannabis use following reclassification. The evidence it reviewed is set out in Annex 4 of its Report, Further consideration of the classification of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, together with prevalence data extracted from the British Crime Survey.

Central Police Training and Development Authority: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Central Police Training and Development Authority. (154736)

The Central Police Training and Development Authority (Centrex) ceased to exist on 1 April 2007.

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. (154172)

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

Computers: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department received from the disposal of information technology equipment in the last year for which figures are available; and what avenues were used for such disposal. (154036)

The core Home Office, including the Border and Immigration Agency, does not own information technology (IT) assets other than internally developed software. Hardware is leased under service contracts.

For the financial year 2006-07, the only IT asset disposal within the Home Office group, including executive agencies, occurred in the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) which received a total of £2,781.73 from the disposal.

The IPS uses a company called RD Trading on an ad-hoc basis to remove information technology equipment that is no longer required.

Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances her Department awards contracts to outside organisations without undertaking a tendering process. (154033)

Home Office procurement policy is to comply with its legal obligations, including those under the EU procurement rules, and public procurement policy. Goods, works or services are acquired through competitive tendering unless there are convincing reasons to the contrary, and all purchasing should be based on value for money criteria having regard to propriety and regularity.

Tendering processes may be omitted with regard to small, irregular, low value spot purchases such as individual travel and expense transactions where tendering costs outweigh the value for money benefits of a tendering process.

Criminal Record Bureau

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the differences are between basic and enhanced Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks; and what guidance has been given to public authorities on which type of CRB check should be commissioned. (153892)

A basic disclosure is the lowest level of disclosure. This would contain details of convictions considered to be unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 or state that there are no such convictions. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) does not currently provide a basic check.

There are two levels of disclosures currently available from the CRB, known as standard and enhanced. The two checks are available in circumstances where an employer is entitled to ask exempted questions under the ROA. This includes any organisation whose staff or volunteers work with children or vulnerable adults.

Standard disclosures are available to anyone working with children or vulnerable adults, as well as certain other occupations and entry into professions as specified in the ROA. They show spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer. If the post involves working with children or vulnerable adults, the following may also be searched:

Protection of Children Act (POCA) List.

Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) List.

Information that is held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99).

Enhanced disclosures are available to anyone involved in regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. They are also available for certain licensing purposes and judicial appointments. Enhanced disclosures contain the same information as the standard disclosure with the addition of any relevant information held by local police forces and disclosed at their discretion.

It is ultimately for each employer and not the CRB to determine what level of check is required for specific employment positions. Such determination is based on their legal and other responsibilities and subject to any statutory requirements as set by their own regulatory authorities.

Detection Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the timetable is for publication of crime detection rates by Basic Command Unit for 2006-07; and for what reason they were not published with the recorded crime statistics on 19 July 2007. (153891)

The content of the annual bulletin on crime is reviewed each year and as part of this a decision was made that it would be more appropriate to focus this bulletin on crime and victimisation and to plan to produce a separate bulletin specifically on detections rates.

Given the work involved in producing the crime bulletin it was not feasible to produce the bulletin on detections at the same time. However, some information on detections was included in Appendix 3 of the annual bulletin that appeared on 19 July.

The statistical bulletin on detection of crime by the police in 2006-07 was published on 20 September 2007. The information is too large to be included within the Official Report but it can be accessed on-line at the following web addresses. I will arrange for the relevant tables to be placed in the Library of the House.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/bcu2-0607.xls and

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/bcu3-0607.xls

Driving Under Influence: Peterborough

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drink-driving tests were carried out in the Peterborough constituency in each year since 1997. (154070)

Data collected centrally relate to police force areas only and are not available at constituency level.

Driving: Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions took place against uninsured drivers in the Northumbria police force area in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. (154307)

The latest figures are for the period 1997 to 2004 and are given as follows. Figures for 2005 will be available later this year.

Proceedings at magistrates courts for the offence of using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks1, Northumbria police force area, 1997 to 2004

Total proceedings

1997

12,470

1998

11,837

1999

13,296

2000

13,195

2001

12,504

2002

12,309

20032

12,951

2004

11,685

1 An offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s. 143 (2).

2 As from 1 June 2003, “driving a motor vehicle while uninsured against third party risks” became a fixed penalty offence.

Notes:

It is known that for some police force areas, the reporting of court proceedings in particular those relating to summary motoring offences may be less than complete. Work is underway to ensure that the magistrates courts case management system currently being implemented by the Ministry of Justice reports all motoring offences to the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. This will enable more complete figures to be disseminated.

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research her Department has (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned into the effect of the Government's 10-year drug strategy on reducing availability at street level of illicit drugs; and if she will make a statement. (153885)

The following projects (a) undertaken by Home Office researchers looked at the effectiveness of attempts to reduce the availability of drugs at street level:

An evaluation of the Street Level Up Approach Pilot Project in four sites in England, assessing the use of intelligence to disrupt drug trafficking. The final report was not published but circulated on a restricted basis.

An evaluation of three initiatives established to tackle “middle market” drug trafficking: Operation Middle Market, Merseyside Middle Market Drugs Unit and Tarian Regional Task Force. A report summarising learning from the research was published for a police audience. Copies of the report are only available on request from the relevant Head of the Research Unit.

The following research projects (b) commissioned by the Home Office looked at the effectiveness of attempts to reduce the availability of drugs at street level:

A study of retail drug markets and the local action taken against them in eight deprived neighbourhoods. A report is available on the Home Office RDS website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/hors240.pdf

A project examining the implementation of new powers to close “crack houses” in four case study areas. Findings were published on the Home Office RDS website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/dpr42.pdf

An estimate of the size of the UK illicit drug market for six categories of illicit drugs for the reference year 2003-04. A report is available on the Home Office RDS website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/rdsolr1606.pdf.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what research studies the Government have (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) reviewed which compare (i) the levels of illicit drug use and (ii) the levels of drug-related harm associated with international classification/regulatory systems; and if she will make a statement; (153886)

(2) what indicators her Department uses to measure the impact of changing the status of a drug within the ABC classification system on (a) levels of illicit drug use and (b) levels of drug-related harm; and if she will make a statement.

The indicators used to measure illicit drug use and drug-related harm are not predicated on the Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) classification system.

Indicators on prevalence of illicit drug use among the general adult population in England and Wales are set out in reports based on the annual British Crime Survey. Indicators relating to children of school age are published in reports of the annual survey of smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary schoolchildren in England. The Drug Harm Index (DHI) provides an overall measure of the level of drug-related harm and how it changes over time. The operation of the DHI is set out in Measuring the harm from illegal drugs using the Drug Harm Index (Home Office Online Report 24/05).

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research studies the Government have (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) reviewed into the impact of changing the status of a drug within the ABC classification system on (i) availability and price at street level of illicit drugs and (ii) the levels of drug-related harm; and if she will make a statement. (153887)

Since 1997 only two drugs have changed in status within the Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) classification system—cannabis in 2004 and methamphetamine in January 2007. The Government undertake several surveys to monitor evidence of trends in availability and price, but these are not predicted on the ABC classification system.

The Arrestee Survey and the annual survey of drug use, smoking and drinking among young people in England provide data on the perceived availability of drugs. Data on price at street level has in the past been collected by the National Criminal Intelligence Service, using information generated during the course of police operations. The Drug Harm Index (DHI) provides an overall measure of the level of drug-related harm and how it changes over time. The operation of the DHI is set out in Measuring the harm from illegal drugs using the Drug Harm Index (Home Office Online Report 24/05).

Drugs: Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances US citizens with past drugs offences are not allowed to enter the UK. (156070)

US citizens and other non visa nationals do not require a visa if seeking entry as a visitor to the UK for six months or less, however they are required to satisfy an Immigration Officer that they intend to stay for the period they have stated and that they do not intend to work or claim public funds.

In the event that the Immigration Officer becomes aware that the passenger has a criminal record or has been involved in criminal activity then they may be refused leave to enter.

Fixed Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices have been issued in the last 12 months; and how many have been contested in court. (154575)

I have been asked to reply.

In 2004 (latest available) 3,435,254 motoring fixed penalty notices were issued. 2005 data will be available later this year.

Information on recipients of motoring offences fixed penalty notices who elect to challenge the penalty in court is not identifiable separately within the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

In addition, penalty notice for disorder (PND) may be issued to offenders aged 16 and over for a specified range of minor disorder offences. PNDs have a 21 day suspended enforcement period during which the recipient must either pay the penalty shown on the notice in full or request a court hearing.

In 2005 146,481 PNDs were issued, of which 1,588 were contested in court. The equivalent information for 2006 will be available in the autumn of 2007.

Foreign Workers: Care Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions her Department has had with (a) the Department of Health and (b) devolved administrations on the implications of restrictions in the number of work permits issued to overseas care workers. (149341)

Work permits are issued where employers are able to justify that the work permit criteria are met.

The Border and Immigration Agency has held meetings with the Department of Health since January 2007 to develop updated guidance for issuing work permits for senior care workers.

The Border and Immigration Agency has consulted via correspondence with the Scottish Executive Health Department; Care Council for Wales (on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government); and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for Northern Ireland since April 2007 to develop updated guidance for issuing work permits for senior care workers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions her Department has had with care providers on the issuing of work permits for overseas care staff. (149342)

The Border and Immigration Agency has conducted normal business correspondence relating to individual work permit applications and meetings with individual employers at their request. The purpose of such meetings is to discuss issues specific to work permit applications submitted by that employer.

The Border and Immigration Agency holds quarterly Sector Advisory Panel meetings with representatives from key industry bodies (including Sector Skills Councils) and other Government Departments. A key feature of each meeting is to discuss labour market issues affecting the relevant industry such as training, recruitment, skills and pay.

The Border and Immigration Agency has also held meetings with Skills for Care and Development, which is the Sector Skills Council for the social care work force in the UK, since January 2007 to develop updated guidance for issuing work permits for senior care workers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department plans to publish new guidelines on the issuing of work permits for senior care workers; and if she will make a statement. (149344)

The Border and Immigration Agency published updated guidance regarding work permit applications for senior care workers on 13 August 2007.

This guidance is available on the website:

http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk/working_in_the_uk/en/homepage/news/announcements/senior_care_workers_guidance.html

Genetics: Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 894W, on genetics: databases, what studies have been conducted by her Department on the impact of the national DNA database on black and minority ethnic communities. (154203)

The Home Office Forensic Science and Pathology Unit conducted a review in 2005-06. In April 2007 responsibility for the National DNA Database transferred to the National Policing Improvement Agency who are currently conducting an equality impact assessment on the database.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 894W, on genetics: databases, what consultations she has had with representatives of (a) the Commission for Racial Equality and (b) black and minority ethnic communities on the use of the national DNA database. (154297)

The National Policing Improvement Agency has consulted with representatives from the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), including the CRE director of legal services. The ongoing equality impact assessment of the National DNA Database will include a programme of consultation with minority communities and in particular young black people.

Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date she expects to launch Operation Pentameter 2; whether Devon and Cornwall Constabulary will be involved in the operation; who will be heading it; what its objective will be; what additional staff will be allocated to the operation; and what the budget will be for the operation. (155457)

[holding answer 17 September 2007]: The Home Secretary will be launching Operation Pentameter 2 with ACPO on 3 October. It will be a multi agency operation, UK wide, and will involve all 55 police forces co-ordinated by the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

The theme of the operation will be the same as last year and will aim to tackle trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The operation will be funded through existing resources. The UK Human Trafficking Centre receives a budget of £5 million per annum to support counter trafficking activity among local forces.

Immigrants: Criminal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals being held in immigration detention centres have (a) British and (b) foreign criminal records; and for which categories of crimes. (154934)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The information requested could be obtained only by conducting police national computer checks and liaising with foreign governments for all individuals held in immigration detention centres which would incur a disproportionate cost.

Immigrants: Skilled Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on the Commission for Racial Equality's letter to the Border and Immigration Agency stating that the changes to the rules on highly skilled migrants were discriminatory. (154027)

The chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency responded to the letter she received from the Commission for Racial Equality on 6 July. I am placing a copy of her response in the Libraries of both Houses.

Independent Police Complaints Commission: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. (154120)

Overseas Students

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to prevent fake educational institutions enabling people to enter the UK posing as students. (154511)

Since 1 January 2005, only overseas students who can show that they have a place to study or are already studying at an institution which appears on the Register of Education Providers (REP) have been granted entry clearances or extensions of stay as students. The REP is operated by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the application process requires institutions to prove that they operate out of registered premises etc. The REP has been very successful in combating bogus colleges, particularly those which were entirely fictitious. In 2004, some 1,200 were visited ahead of the REP being implemented and 25 per cent were found not to be genuine and were prevented from registering. A further 69 colleges have so far been removed from the Register through a combination of visits conducted by compliance officers in the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) as well as removals instigated by DIUS. Since July 2007, as the BIA has expanded its compliance resource in preparation for the introduction of the new points based system (PBS) for managing migration, officers have also begun to make more pro-active visits to colleges applying to get on the REP to prevent the registration of those found not to be bona fide.

Under the PBS we have plans to go even further. Under Tier 4: (Students) of the PBS, all education institutions will need to be registered on a new register of sponsors in order to recruit international students. No private educational institution will be able to qualify for the sponsor register unless they can demonstrate that they have been independently inspected or accredited by one of a limited number of BIA-approved accreditation bodies. As announced by DIUS on 24 July 2007, accreditation will be used to provide an independent qualitative check on an institution to demonstrate it is a genuine education provider. Tier 4 is expected to replace the current system for students in the first quarter of 2009. Unaccredited educational institutions have some 16 months to obtain the necessary accreditation in order to continue bringing international students to the UK after that date and we are confident that less reputable education providers will not be able to pass this additional test.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what protection and recourse is available for foreign students arriving in the UK who have unwittingly paid money to fake educational institutions and may not work under the terms of their student visa. (154512)

The immigration rules set out provisions for international students to study at a bona fide private education institution which is included on the Register of Education and Training Providers. A definition of a bona fide private education institution is contained in the rules. Where it is found that an institution fails to meet this definition, it is prohibited from enrolling any more international students by being removed from the Register. Where the students at such institutions are unable to continue their studies, or where students are dissatisfied with the tuition at a college, the student rules permit them to move to another institution which is included on the Register of Education and Training Providers.

Such students may also wish to report their circumstances to their local Trading Standards Office or seek legal advice about the loss of their fees. Where a student has more serious concerns that an institution is facilitating illegal migration, then they should also contact the police.

The immigration rules permit those studying in the UK with a student visa to work part-time term-time and full-time in vacations.

Police Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police stations were closed in London in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. (154816)

The management of the police estates in London are operational matters for the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police.

Police: Cambridgeshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of police officers in Cambridgeshire had the primary function of traffic policing in each of the last five years. (153772)

The data are available are from 2002-03 to 2005-06 and are given in the table.

Police officers (FTE)1 whose main function2 is “Traffic” in Cambridgeshire from 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2006

Traffic

Proportion of total officer strength

2002-03

85

6.1

2003-04

99

7.0

2004-05

101

7.1

2005-06

99

6.8

Notes: 1. This and other tables contain full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Figures include those officers on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave. 2. Staff with multiple responsibilities (or designations) are recorded under their primary role or function. The traffic function includes staff who are predominantly employed on motorcycles or in patrol vehicles for the policing of traffic and motorway related duties. The does not include officers employed in accident investigation, vehicle examination and radar duties.

Prisoners: Deportation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many foreign national prisoners have been deported in 2007; (154206)

(2) how many foreign national prisoners were deported in each of the last 10 years.

The chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency wrote to the Home Affairs Committee on 14 June. A copy of this letter is available from the Library of the House.

Statistics on the deportation of foreign nationals were last published in 2002. These data are available through the Home Office’s Research Development and Statistics website at:

www.archive2.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm60/6053/6053.htm

Published information on persons removed as a result of deportation action has not been available from 2003 onwards due to data quality issues. The Border and Immigration Agency is putting in place new systems to improve its data collection systems for the future in this area.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made towards the Prime Minister’s target of deporting 4,000 prisoners of foreign origin by the end of the year; and what categories of crimes these prisoners were convicted of. (155647)

The chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency wrote to the Home Affairs Committee on 14 June in which she provided an update on progress being made with foreign national prisoners. A copy of this letter is available in the Library of the House.

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison governors have visited prisons abroad to examine their drug treatment systems. (156495)

I have been asked to reply.

Prison governors may occasionally visit overseas prisons to examine aspects of their penal system. No records are kept of prison governors specifically visiting prisons abroad in order to examine prison drug treatment systems.

Repatriation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners have been deported to (a) Libya, (b) Lebanon, (c) Jordan and (d) Algeria since the Repatriation Agreement with each country was signed; (154301)

(2) what monitoring of Libyan prisoners has taken place following their repatriation under the Repatriation Agreement;

(3) what monitoring of Lebanese prisoners has taken place following their repatriation under the Repatriation Agreement;

(4) what monitoring of Jordanian prisoners has taken place following their repatriation under the Repatriation Agreement;

(5) what monitoring of Algerian prisoners has taken place following their repatriation under the Repatriation Agreement.

The repatriation arrangements to which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, referred in his statement to the House on 25 July are the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on deportation which were signed with Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon in 2005, and the separate arrangements we have agreed with Algeria. Copies of the MoUs, and of the exchange of letters between the previous Prime Minister and the President of Algeria, are in the Library.

The terms of the MoUs signed with Jordan, Libya and Lebanon provide for the independent monitoring of assurances. Such monitoring has however not yet been needed as the Jordanian and Libyan individuals we wish to deport from the United Kingdom on national security grounds under the MoUs are still within the process of appealing against our decisions.

Since July 2005, eight men have been deported to Algeria on grounds of national security. There are no formal arrangements for post-deportation monitoring. However, the eight individuals concerned were given details of how to contact the embassy in Algiers, and were asked if they wished to provide details of next of kin who could be contacted by the embassy. Two chose to take up this offer, a third merely wanted us to let his relatives know his arrival details.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the provisions of the UN Convention on Torture are included in the Repatriation Agreements being concluded by the UK with other countries; (154298)

(2) which countries the Government are in negotiations with about a Repatriation Agreement;

(3) what conditions are placed by the UK on a country before a repatriation agreement can be signed.

The agreements referred to are the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on deportation with assurances (DWA) agreed with Jordan, Libya and Lebanon in 2005, and the separate arrangements under which we are able to obtain assurances in respect of people we are seeking to deport to Algeria.

These questions seek information about the numbers of prisoners deported under the arrangements and what monitoring has taken place.

The ongoing appeals process means we have not yet deported anyone under the MoUs with Jordan and Libya, and we have not yet found it necessary to seek assurances under the MoU with Lebanon. Although monitoring arrangements are in place for all three countries, to date, no actual monitoring has occurred.

Since July 2005, eight men have been deported to Algeria on grounds of national security. (A further individual who held dual Algerian and French nationality was deported to France on national security grounds). The arrangements with Algeria do not provide for formal monitoring following deportation. The deportees are given details of how they can contact the British embassy in Algiers, and are also asked if they wish to provide the details of next-of-kin who can serve as a contact point. Two of the eight opted to maintain contact with the embassy, a further individual merely asked for his relatives to be informed of his flight details.

All the men deported to Algeria were detained and questioned following their return, as provided for under Algerian law. Six were subsequently released; two are still detained in custody and are now facing criminal charges.

The terms of the draft answer have been cleared with LAB, OSCT and the FCO's Counter-Terrorism Policy Department.

Resettlement: Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response the Government has made to the representations of Amnesty International for the UK and US to provide resettlement programmes for Iraqis who have fled their homes since 2003. (156081)

The Government are aware that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Amnesty International have called for countries to resettle some Iraqi refugees in the region. The Border and Immigration Agency has started discussions with UNHCR regarding the feasibility of resettling some of the Iraqi refugees in the region to the UK. The UK’s resettlement programme, the Gateway Protection Programme, currently resettles 500 refugees a year from across the world.

Security Industry Authority: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Security Industry Authority. (154426)

Serious Organised Crime Agency: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers are employed by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. (154119)

Terrorism

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Prime Minister’s oral statement of 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 841, on national security, how many of the 30 known terror plots, 200 groupings or networks and 2,000 individuals have police and security services begun monitoring (a) between 11 September 2001 and 19 March 2003 and (b) since 19th March 2003. (154375)

It has been the longstanding practice of successive Governments not to comment on the operational activities of the security and intelligence agencies.

Visas: Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make special arrangements to issue visas to those Iraqi nationals who have directly assisted British forces in Basra to enter the United Kingdom should they wish to do so. (155739)

The Prime Minister commissioned a ministerial review on 8 August 2007 of assistance that might be offered to members of locally engaged staff in Iraq. We will announce the outcome of that review shortly.

Water Supply: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will review the security arrangements for bowsers which are utilised in a national emergency. (154346)

The security of water bowsers during a national emergency is an operational matter for local chief officers of police, in consultation with water authorities.

Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons it was decided to fingerprint visitors to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. (154209)

Visitors to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are not fingerprinted. A new security system is being used which takes an electronic scan of a visitor's thumbprint and recognises a number of points on the thumb to enable the centre operator to maintain a record of who is in the visits room at any time. This ensures that only visitors leave at the end of a visit. The technology does not enable a fingerprint to be reproduced and the information on the system is not passed to either the Border and Immigration Agency or the Police. The thumbprint is not retained.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prospective employees at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre have been rejected in each of the last five years after being deemed unsuitable due to a background check. (154211)

The percentages of prospective employees at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre who did not pass pre-employment checks in the last five years are as follows:

Percentage

2002

2

2003

2

2004

2

2005

3

2006

6

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what background checks prospective employees at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre undergo. (154212)

Individuals seeking employment at any immigration removal centre, including Yarl’s Wood are required to undergo pre-employment checks on their immigration and financial background, counter-terrorist checks and criminal record checks to enhanced level are also carried out. Applicants must pass all of these checks before they can be accredited.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances detainees at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are placed in handcuffs. (154210)

Handcuffs can be applied to adult detainees following a risk assessment indicating that an individual presents a control or security risk, or in response to an immediate incident. The purpose of handcuffing is to reduce the risk of: absconding; harm to the public, other detainees or staff; damage to property; preventing removal from the United Kingdom; or attempting to prevent the removal of another detainee. Handcuffs are only used when necessary and not as a matter of routine.

Young Offenders: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research studies the Government have (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) reviewed on the effect of drugs education and prevention work with young offenders on reducing levels of (i) illicit drug use and (ii) drug-related harm; and if she will make a statement. (153884)

Young offenders are one of the key risk groups identified as more at risk of developing substance misuse problems. Government Departments consider new reports and studies as part of their daily activity to ensure that current policies are based on up to date information and evidence. Recent and current research on the effect of drug education and prevention work on young offenders' drug use and drug related harm is as follows:

The National Collaborating Centre for Drug Prevention, funded through the Department of Health, produced a review in 2006 of evidence on interventions for vulnerable groups including young offenders.

The Young People's Substance Misuse Service (YPSMS) for under-18s in custody was launched in 2004. Its development and delivery has been evaluated since 2004, undertaken by Galahad on behalf of the Youth Justice Board (YJB). This evaluation is due to be published in September 2007.

Justice

Absent Voting

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what response he has made to the recommendation of the Electoral Commission to require local authority returning officers to check 100 per cent. of the identifiers of postal votes in election counts. (154331)

The Government are committed to the principle that 100 per cent. of returned postal votes should be checked. The Government will wish to move to 100 per cent. checking when it is appropriate and safe to do so, and in particular when there is deemed to be sufficient supplier capacity for checking all returned postal votes. We will work closely with the Electoral Commission and the Association of Electoral Administrators in order to establish when this position has been reached.

Animal Welfare: Prosecutions

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions there were for the torture of animals in each year since 2001. (154377)

There is no specific offence for torture of animals.

However, information on the number of defendants prosecuted for animal cruelty in England and Wales for the years 2001 to 2005 can be viewed in the following table.

Detailed information on court proceedings for 2006 will be published in the autumn of 2007.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court for the offence of cruelty to animals, in England and Wales, for the years 2001 to 20051,2,3,4

Prosecuted

2001

975

2002

1,006

2003

999

2004

984

2005

1,061

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces.

As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

3 Statute is as follows:

Protection of Animals Act 1911.

4 Source: Court proceedings database—Office for Criminal Justice Reform

Source:

RDS Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice

Antisocial Behaviour: Milton Keynes

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) parenting orders, (b) parenting contracts and (c) antisocial behaviour orders were initiated in Milton Keynes in each year since their introduction. (155669)

Parenting orders were piloted between 30 September 1998 and 31 March 2000 but data showing the breakdown by area are not available. Parenting orders were commenced in England and Wales in June 2000. The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has since April 2000 collected the number of parenting orders by youth offending team (YOT) area, as reported to it by youth offending teams including education-related orders where the YOT has been involved. The number of parenting orders relating to crime or antisocial behaviour from April 2000 until March 2007 and those related to non-attendance of children at school until March 2004 reported to the YJB by Milton Keynes YOT are shown in table A:

Table A: Parenting orders related to youth offending or antisocial behaviour and non-attendance reported by Milton Keynes YOT

Youth offending or antisocial behaviour

Non-attendance where YOT involved

2000-01

0

0

2001-02

1

1

2002-03

0

0

2003-04

0

0

2004-05

2

see table B

2005-06

0

see table B

2006-07

0

see table B

Since September 2004, the Department for Children, Schools and Families has collected data on the number of parenting orders in England related to non-attendance of children at school and exclusion from school at local authority level. Between 1 September 2004 and 13 April 2007 Milton Keynes did not report any applications to the courts for parenting orders in the case of exclusions.

The number of parenting orders made following truancy prosecution between 1 September 2004 and 13 April 2007 is shown in table B.

Table B: Parenting orders made following truancy prosecution between 1 September 2004 and 13 April 2007

School year

Number

2004-05

0

2005-06

2

2006-07

0

Data on parenting contracts in cases of antisocial behaviour and criminal conduct is collected by the Youth Justice Board as reported by YOTs. Since recording began in April 2004 of the number of final warnings with an intervention or relevant court disposal supported by a parenting contract, Milton Keynes YOT has reported no parenting contracts in the period April 2004 to March 2007.

Recording of the number of final warnings with an intervention or relevant court disposal supported by a voluntary parenting intervention, without a parenting contract, also began in April 2004. Milton Keynes YOT reported 31 such voluntary parenting interventions in the year April 2004 to March 2005, 41 in 2005-06 and 54 in 2006-07.

DCSF also collects data on the number of parenting contracts agreed with parents following bad behaviour/ truancy in school. The number of parenting contracts agreed in the case of poor attendance (truancy) at school between 1 September 2004 and 13 April 2007 is shown in table C.

Table C: Parenting contracts for truancy

School year

Number

2004-05

0

2005-06

19

2006-07

9

The number of antisocial behaviour orders as reported to the Home Office by the Court Service where prohibitions have been imposed in the Milton Keynes borough council local authority area is shown in table D.

Table D: Antisocial behaviour orders in Milton Keynes

Number

1 April 1999 to May 2000

n/a

1 June 2000 to 31December 2000

0

2001

3

2002

0

2003

4

2004

13

2005

2

Total

22

n/a = Not available.

Notes:

1. Between 1 April 1999 and 31 May 2000 data were collected on aggregate numbers only by police force area.

2. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

As reported to the Home Office by the Court Service.

Asylum: Birmingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which asylum seekers resident in Birmingham, Selly Oak constituency have had cases heard by judges (a) Illyas Khan and (b) J, involved in the Roselane Driza case. (156386)

It would be inappropriate to identify individual asylum seekers who may fall into the categories requested as it would breach their right to privacy and compromise the anonymity of Judge J.

Bail

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his Department’s estimate is of the effect on the prison population of reversing the presumption in favour of bail in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. (155504)

It is not possible to make a precise calculation for full implementation of the provisions for reversing the presumption in favour of bail in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 because of the limited data held centrally and because significant assumptions have to be made about the characteristics of the cases affected.

We are pursuing a carefully phased implementation taking account of prison capacity, starting with the most serious offences.

Claims Management Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which claims handlers have been registered by the Claims Management Regulator. (155592)

As at 4 October 2007, 1,476 businesses have been authorised to provide a regulated claims management service in at least one of the regulated sectors which include personal injury, employment, financial services and products, criminal injuries compensation and industrial injuries disablement benefit. Names and addresses of authorised businesses are listed on the claims management website at www.claimsregulation.gov.uk under the authorised business search tab. This register is updated daily.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance is provided by the Claims Management Regulator to providers of claims management services on levels of fees charged for the accessing of consumer files. (155593)

The Claims Management Regulator has not provided any specific guidance to authorised businesses on the level of fees charged for accessing consumer files. It is a mandatory condition of authorisation that authorised businesses comply with the Rules of Conduct. These specifically require a business to "ensure all information given to a client is clear, transparent, fair and not misleading". If a claims business has a contractual relationship with a client then it must specify "any charge the business makes".

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many meetings have taken place between the Claims Management Regulator and the Law Society since April. (155594)

Since April the Claims Management Regulator has met the Law Society once, the Solicitors Regulation Authority three times and the Legal Complaints Service once. The Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority are also members of the Regulatory Consultative Group on Claims Management which has met three times since April. There have been numerous other types of communications with these organisations since April.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what communications have taken place between the Claims Management Regulator and the Serious Fraud Office since April. (155597)

There have been no communications between the Claims Management Regulator and the Serious Fraud Office since April. As necessary the Regulator has communicated with other law enforcement agencies including various police forces and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Community Service Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many offenders with unpaid work orders have (a) not completed their orders and (b) been summoned back to court within the term of the order in each supervising court in England and Wales in each of the last three years; (155394)

(2) how many offenders completed their unpaid work orders in each supervising court in England and Wales in each of the last three years.

Unpaid work requirements were introduced under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which came into effect on 4 April 2005. They can be made under Community Orders or Suspended Sentence Orders, and are supervised by the National Probation Service. Information on the number of unpaid work requirements which (a) were not completed and (b) completed in each of the last two financial years, by individual probation area, can be found in the following tables. Given the recent introduction of these requirements, it follows that the number of terminations will increase significantly over the first few years. Information on those specifically summoned back to court is not held centrally

This information has been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Non-completions of unpaid work requirements by year, probation area and reason

2005-06

Area

Revoked (further offence)

Revoked (on application)

Revoked (failure to comply)

Revoked (failure to comply on another req)

Terminated (other reasons)

Total

Avon and Somerset

13

17

63

3

6

102

Bedfordshire

15

6

19

0

15

55

Cambridgeshire

20

5

22

0

4

51

Cheshire

11

12

26

7

9

65

Cumbria

14

15

27

5

17

78

Derbyshire

23

9

51

2

3

88

Devon and Cornwall

25

16

93

5

12

151

Dorset

3

0

10

1

1

15

Durham

21

7

15

0

1

44

Dyfed-Powys

19

14

22

3

1

59

Essex

23

25

33

1

15

97

Gloucestershire

5

8

9

0

3

25

Greater Manchester

90

24

302

11

33

460

Gwent

18

8

15

1

7

49

Hampshire

42

37

140

6

12

237

Hertfordshire

11

9

30

1

15

66

Humberside

42

18

60

1

27

148

Kent

21

24

74

3

11

133

Lancashire

45

44

47

7

16

159

Leicestershire

15

11

31

5

13

75

Lincolnshire

10

15

27

0

4

56

London

85

25

128

9

171

418

Merseyside

7

18

71

0

56

152

Norfolk

13

13

38

2

8

74

North Wales

12

6

11

1

7

37

North Yorkshire

34

15

54

7

15

125

Northamptonshire

15

6

12

1

2

36

Northumbria

37

36

40

8

11

132

Nottinghamshire

34

20

119

7

13

193

South Wales

42

26

65

6

8

147

South Yorkshire

31

23

112

4

13

183

Staffordshire

26

9

34

3

5

77

Suffolk

17

9

41

0

12

79

Surrey

13

11

43

3

5

75

Sussex

18

8

42

2

4

74

Teesside

16

18

38

1

7

80

Thames Valley

20

6

15

0

22

63

Warwickshire

4

5

26

3

5

43

West Mercia

20

5

45

1

4

75

West Midlands

74

11

64

2

24

175

West Yorkshire

74

27

184

13

22

320

Wiltshire

10

3

21

5

2

41

2006-07

Area

Revoked (further offence)

Revoked (on application)

Revoked (failure to comply)

Revoked (failure to comply on another req)

Terminated (other reasons)

Total

Avon and Somerset

76

104

273

17

55

525

Bedfordshire

66

45

98

1

3

213

Cambridgeshire

62

41

81

3

13

200

Cheshire

59

45

166

36

80

386

Cumbria

57

112

129

29

65

392

Derbyshire

101

23

314

14

16

468

Devon and Cornwall

68

70

309

7

38

492

Dorset

22

44

85

7

113

271

Durham

66

47

72

5

14

204

Dyfed-Powys

70

37

69

7

23

206

Essex

118

119

136

9

46

428

Gloucestershire

45

65

46

4

20

180

Greater Manchester

325

224

999

29

98

1675

Gwent

119

64

124

11

73

391

Hampshire

125

140

447

14

72

798

Hertfordshire

54

83

179

26

25

367

Humberside

91

104

164

8

164

531

Kent

122

123

309

6

18

578

Lancashire

175

120

437

20

233

985

Leicestershire

123

148

202

5

98

576

Lincolnshire

81

70

106

3

37

297

London

432

201

977

55

433

2098

Merseyside

81

49

546

3

139

818

Norfolk

63

62

193

1

12

331

North Wales

59

55

54

7

35

210

North Yorkshire

79

77

167

10

92

425

Northamptonshire

50

33

85

11

15

194

Northumbria

176

115

248

42

42

623

Nottinghamshire

166

153

480

23

23

845

South Wales

188

144

268

19

145

764

South Yorkshire

133

115

423

18

86

775

Staffordshire

72

59

211

25

20

387

Suffolk

44

29

115

8

38

234

Surrey

27

55

185

13

29

309

Sussex

55

82

248

11

20

416

Teesside

137

61

104

3

23

328

Thames Valley

124

106

181

7

52

470

Warwickshire

51

20

163

7

6

247

West Mercia

64

31

185

4

12

296

West Midlands

298

165

322

8

66

859

West Yorkshire

240

128

692

50

90

1200

Wiltshire

19

53

132

10

16

230

Courts: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment his Department has made of the likely impact of the reduction of maintenance funding of the London Courts Service for 2007-08. (156458)

Maintenance expenditure within London is planned in line with an agreed estate strategy which sets the priorities for maintaining buildings in line with business objectives whilst ensuring a safe and secure working environment. Annual maintenance budgets and programmes of work are agreed in line with this strategy and on the basis of identified business and building risks. Plans and programmes are reviewed quarterly in light of changing requirements and risks, with budgets and programmes amended accordingly. Total maintenance expenditure for 2006-07 (capital and revenue) was £19,145,895. Forecast expenditure (capital and revenue) for the financial year 2007-08 is currently £18,796,250, a reduction in overall expenditure of £349,645 over 2006-07. This reflects planned reductions in both the size of regional estate and efficiency savings achieved as a result.

Courts: Salisbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons construction work has not started on the new courthouse in Salisbury. (155621)

The contract was signed with the developer on 1 October 2007 for the new courthouse in Salisbury. The developer plans to start on site during the week beginning 8 October 2007. The new courthouse is due to come into service in the summer of 2009.

Courts: Video Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many large video screens are available at courts in England and Wales; and at which courts are they available. (156457)

There are 239 courtrooms equipped with large video screens in England and Wales. These cover 63 Crown court centres and 59 magistrates courts. The courtrooms equipped with large screens are listed as follows:

Bristol Crown Court

Luton Crown Court

Teesside Crown Court

Carlisle Crown Court

Basildon Crown Court

Central Criminal Court

Inner London Crown Court

Kingston Crown Court (London)

Blackfriars Crown Court

Southwark Crown Court

Snaresbrook Crown Court

Manchester Crown Square Crown Court

Portsmouth Crown Court

Southampton Crown Court

Maidstone Crown Court

Preston Combined Court Ringway

Liverpool Crown Court

Newcastle Crown Court

Nottingham Crown Court

Cardiff Crown Court

Swansea St. Helens Crown Court

Sheffield Crown Court

Stoke Crown Court

Reading Crown Court

Birmingham Crown Court

Wolverhampton Crown Court

Bradford Crown Court

Leeds Crown Court

Bolton Crown Court

Cambridge Crown Court

Canterbury Crown Court

Chester Crown Court

Derby Crown Court

Durham Crown Court

Gloucester Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

Kingston-upon-Hull Crown Court

Lewes Crown Court

Northampton Crown Court

Norwich Crown Court

Peterborough Crown Court

Plymouth Crown Court

Stafford Crown Court

Swindon Crown Court

Truro Crown Court

Winchester Crown Court

Wood Green Crown Court

Oxford Crown Court

Croydon Crown Court

Warrington Crown Court (satellite of Chester Crown Court)

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court

Isleworth Crown Court

Chelmsford Crown Court

Harrow Crown Court

Newport Crown Court

Grimsby Crown Court

Mold Crown Court

Leicester Crown Court

St. Albans Crown Court

Coventry Crown Court

Bournemouth Crown Court

Woolwich Crown Court

Caernarfon Crown Court (satellite of Mold Crown Court)

Taunton Crown Court

Guildford Crown Court

Thames Magistrates Court

Feltham Magistrates Court

Acton Magistrates Court

Barnet Magistrates Court

Mansfield Magistrates Court

Knowsley Magistrates Court

Camberwell Green Magistrates Court

Bexley Magistrates Court

Solihull Magistrates Court

West London Magistrates Court

Havering Magistrates Court

Coventry Magistrates Court

Walsall Magistrates Court

West Bromwich Magistrates Court

Wolverhampton Magistrates Court

Manchester Magistrates Court

Oldham Magistrates Court

Rochdale Magistrates Court

Hull Magistrates Court

Blackburn Magistrates Court

Bath Magistrates Court

Croydon Magistrates Court

Waltham Forest Magistrates Court

Enfield Magistrates Court

Bridgwater Magistrates Court

Halesowen Magistrates Court

Rotherham Magistrates Court

Southport Magistrates Court

Balham Youth Court

Wigan Magistrates Court

Bolton Magistrates Court

Stockport Magistrates Court

Tameside Magistrates Court

Trafford Magistrates Court

Leyland Magistrates Court

Lancaster Magistrates Court

Preston Magistrates Courts

Blackpool Magistrates Court

Burnley Magistrates Court

St. Helens Magistrates Court

Liverpool Magistrates Court

Bishop Auckland Magistrates Court

Yate Magistrates Court

Reedley Magistrates Court

Weston Magistrates Court

Yeovil Magistrates Court

High Wycombe Magistrates Court

Berwick Magistrates Court

Alnwick Magistrates Court

Doncaster Magistrates Court

Barnsley Magistrates Court

Sheffield Magistrates Court

Gloucester Magistrates Court

Wimbledon Magistrates Court

Richmond (London) Magistrates Court

Criminal Cases Review Commission: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment has been made of the impact of reducing funding for the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2007-08. (156008)

The Criminal Cases Review Commission’s budget for 2007-08 allows the Commission to spend up to £6,858,000, as compared with £6,771,000 in 2006-07, despite a reduction in the overall envelope. Departmental officials meet with the senior management team of the Commission on a monthly basis to monitor their budget and performance against targets. I understand that the Commission are currently forecasting an under-spend overall as some expenditure has been postponed, although this may change later in the year.

Criminal Justice Act 2003

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his assessment is of the financial implications of implementing sections 154 and 155 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. (155545)

Implementation of sections 154 and 155 (magistrates sentencing powers) in conjunction with sections 181 and 182 (custody plus sentence) was deferred in July 2006. No assessment has been made of implementing the magistrates sentencing powers independently of the custody plus sentence.

Defamation: Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many libel actions have been brought in respect of claims made exclusively on websites in each year since 1997; and how many of these were made (a) by a person or company considered to be based in the UK and (b) against a person or company considered to be based in the UK. (155622)

Information on the number of libel actions that have been brought in respect of claims made exclusively on websites in each year since 1997; and the number of these which were made (a) by a person or company considered to be based in the UK and (b) against a person or company considered to be based in the UK is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

There is no single database of High Court cases which could be consulted to provide the information requested; the only way that this information could be obtained would be to consult each case file.

The county courts use the CaseMan IT system to record case details primarily for case management purposes. The system does not hold sufficient detailed data to enable cases involving libel to be specifically identified. Again, this information could only be obtained by consulting court case files.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many internet service providers have been subject to libel actions in each year since 1997. (155623)

Information on the number of internet service providers who have been subject to libel actions in each year since 1997 is not centrally held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

There is no single database of High Court cases which could be consulted to provide the information requested; the only way that this information could be obtained would be to consult each case file.

The county courts use the CaseMan IT system to record case details primarily for case management purposes. The system does not hold sufficient detailed data to enable cases involving libel to be specifically identified. Again, this information could only be obtained by consulting court case files.

Departments: Departmental Coordination

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) ministerial committees and (b) permanent groups involving senior civil servants have been set up by his Department to liaise with the Minister for Women. (155434)

We have not set up any formal committees or permanent groups involving senior civil servants to liaise with the Minister for Women although we work closely with the Government Equalities Office on a range of issues.

Departments: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press officers are employed by his Department; (153026)

(2) how many press officers are employed by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press officers are employed by the Land Registry; [154130]

(2) how many press officers are employed by HM Court Service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press officers are employed by the Office of the Information Commissioner; (154683)

(2) how many press officers are employed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority;

(3) how many press officers are employed by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press officers are employed by the Boundary Commission for England; (154659)

(2) how many press officers are employed by the Public Guardianship Office;

(3) how many press officers are employed by the Parole Board for England and Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press officers are employed by the Legal Services Commission; (154435)

(2) how many press officers are employed by Criminal Justice Information Technology;

(3) how many press officers are employed by the National Archives.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press officers are employed by the Boundary Commission for Wales; (154469)

(2) how many press officers are employed by the Law Commission.

The information requested is in the following table.

Press officers

Ministry of Justice

21

Boundary Commission for England

10

Boundary Commission for Wales

10

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

2

Criminal Justice Information Technology

20

Her Majesty's Courts Service

2

Her Majesty's Land Registry

2

Law Commission

30

Legal Services Commission

4

National Archives

5

Office for Criminal Justice Reform

20

Office of the Information Commissioner

40

Parole Board

1

Public Guardianship Office

20

Youth Justice Board

4

1 The Boundary Commission for England or Wales have no dedicated press officers. However, press enquiries are dealt with by the general secretariat staff (primarily the Secretary to the Commission). 2 Media relations are handled centrally by the Ministry of Justice Press Office. 3 The Law Commission has a two-person communications team. It deals with press enquiries, the Commission's publicity and marketing, the Commission's website, and the publication of the Commission's reports and consultation papers. 4 The Office of the Information Commissioner has used the equivalent of 21 days of contracted press officer time. The information requested has been provided by the Information Commissioner's Office, an independent body created by statute with responsibility for handling complaints made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998.

Departments: Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what legislative provisions introduced by his Department since 1997 have been repealed; (149726)

(2) what legislative provisions introduced by his Department since 1997 have not yet been brought into force.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was launched on 9 May 2007 and took on all responsibilities of the former Department for Constitutional Affairs and for the National Offender Management Service and Office for Criminal Justice Reform from the Home Office. The information requested across my Department's entire legislative responsibilities and for the last 10 years would necessitate considerable staff resource across the Department and so cannot be provided except at a disproportionate cost.

Departments: Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his Department’s projected spending is on advertising and promotional campaigns for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09, broken down by cost relating to (i) television, (ii) radio and (iii) print media. (155895)

The Ministry of Justice was created on 9 May 2007. It has no current plans for spending on advertising campaigns during 2007-08 so there are no costs relating to television, radio and print.

Its planned expenditure on integrated promotional campaigns through external public relations companies from 9 May 2007-31 March 2008 comprises:

£25,000 to increase understanding of the work of courts and their role in the justice system.

£12,500 for a public awareness campaign about the legal status of cohabitation.

£12,500 to publicise the Family Mediation Helpline.

£55,000 for a public awareness campaign on human rights.

£40,000 for a public awareness campaign on community orders.

It is likely that the Ministry will spend money relating to the Governance of Britain programme during 2007-08/2008-09, but no decisions on resources for this and for advertising and promotion on other issues have yet been made.

The Office of the Public Guardian is mounting a campaign to increase public awareness of the Mental Capacity Act. The campaign will comprise media engagement using a public relations consultancy and will cost approximately £30,000.

Plans for advertising and promotion by the Ministry of Justice for 2008-09 are not yet advanced enough to indicate spend.

Departments: Racial Harassment

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 16 July 2007, Official Report, columns 141-2W, on Departments: racial harassment, how many of the 79 formal disciplinary investigations conducted in relation to the Prison Service concerned allegations made by (a) prisoners and (b) other members of staff; and how many people have been (i) disciplined and (ii) dismissed as a result of the 35 complaints that were upheld. (152819)

The public sector Prison Service does not hold the information requested centrally in a format that would enable a detailed response to be provided.

From the information that is held on the central database, it is not clear if the individual making the allegation is a prisoner or a member of staff. It is also not possible to break the disciplinary outcome figures down any further as one investigation can involve a complaint being made against more than one person. In order to provide this information it would be necessary to recall and manually examine each individual report which would incur a disproportionate cost.

Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice following the implementation on 1 April 2007 of Section 145 of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004, what the total amount outstanding is of surcharge payments. (155814)

Pending the rollout of a new IT system, my Department introduced an interim system that captures the amount of victims surcharge receipts collected. Between April and August the Department accounted for £455,021 in receipts by this arrangement.

My Department does not currently hold statistical information that shows the number of victim surcharge impositions outstanding. Existing IT legacy systems do not allow any kind of national overview around numbers of individuals with fines, victim surcharge or other impositions.

Driving: Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence under section 146(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 since 1 January 2004. (156299)

Although this disposal is meant to be recorded as part of court proceedings statistics, investigation shows that the data requested is not sufficiently well recorded to be given in this reply.

The Ministry of Justice has started a programme of work looking at the quality of existing data on court sentencing and how this might be improved.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what percentage of dependent drug users referred to a drug treatment and testing order or drug rehabilitation requirement successfully completed it in the latest period for which figures are available. (154060)

Completion rates for Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) and Drug Rehabilitation Requirements (DRRs) have risen from 28 per cent. in 2003 to 44 per cent. in 2006-07.

Elections: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he has taken to measure the effect of action taken to make democracy more accessible by (a) lowering the age of candidacy and (b) opening polling booths to accompanied minors in elections held in (i) England, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland in 2007. (154308)

The Government have not carried out any specific monitoring of these new provisions. I am aware that a number of persons aged 18 to 20-years-old have stood as candidates, and some have been elected. Allowing young people and children to accompany voters in polling stations will give young people the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the electoral process which will hopefully make them more likely to participate in future elections when they reach voting age.

Electronic Tagging: Life Imprisonment

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the nature was of the offence referred to on page 11 of the report on Satellite Tracking of Offenders for which an offender subject to satellite monitoring received a sentence of life imprisonment; and what the offender's name was. (155502)

The offender received a sentence of life imprisonment for rape and false imprisonment. The offender cannot be identified as this would be likely to endanger the physical or mental health of the victim and their family. Moreover, undertakings were given to all participating offenders involved in the satellite tracking pilots protecting their anonymity in the researching of the report.

Family Conciliation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to require the parties in cases concerning the residence of children and contact arrangements with non-resident parents to attend a mediation assessment before commencing court proceedings. (156195)

Parties applying for public funding under the Community Legal Service are already required to attend a meeting with a mediator to consider mediation.

The Government continue to encourage the greater use of family mediation but do not believe that it should be made compulsory or that all parties in disputes over child residence and contact should be required to attend a meeting to consider its use.

The Government will make changes to court rules and application forms to facilitate referrals to family mediation where the court considers this would be beneficial.

The Children and Adoption Act 2006 when fully implemented will enable the court to direct parties to attend a meeting to learn about mediation in cases where it considers this is appropriate.

Fines: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2007, Official Report, column 1453W, on fines: compensation, what views were expressed by the Magistrates' Association and Justices' Clerks' Society to his Department during the consultation. (154644)

During the consultation the Magistrates’ Association and the Justices’ Clerks’ Society were concerned about the operation of the scheme and its impact on judicial independence.

My Department worked with the Magistrates’ Association and the Justices’ Clerks’ Society to address these concerns via the Criminal Enforcement Policy Advisory Group.

Following those discussions the Magistrates' Association and Justices’ Clerks’ Society issued guidance on the application of the Victims’ Surcharge to magistrates through their members.

An internal audit on the operation of the Victims’ Surcharge process within the courts is currently being undertaken and my officials will continue to work with the Magistrates’ Association and the Justices’ Clerks’ Society on this matter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 20 April 2007, Official Report, column 1453W, on fines: compensation, what representations he has received on the victims' surcharge since inception; and if he will make a statement. (154754)

Representations have been received by the Home Office, the former Department for Constitutional Affairs, and the new Ministry of Justice, since the surcharge was brought into force on 1 April 2007 on offenders whose sentence included a fine. The following information is the total received to date and updates the information given in the letter of 15 August 2007 by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice) to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) and my written answer of 16 July, Official Report, column 151W, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House.

Members of Parliament forwarded to the Government 72 letters and emails from members of the public about the surcharge. Forty-five of these were from people identifying themselves as magistrates. Of these, one magistrate sent letters to five different MPs, and two magistrates wrote jointly to four different MPs. The Government also received a petition signed by 48 magistrates from the Calderdale (North and West Yorkshire) Magistrates' Bench.

The Government also received 13 letters directly from members of the public (eight of whom identified themselves as magistrates) and two letters from the Magistrates' Association.

Fixed Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 137W, on fixed penalties, how many penalty notices for disorder have not been processed where a victim may wish to seek compensation through the criminal courts. (156272)

The police do not collect information on the number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) which were not processed because the victim sought compensation through the criminal courts. The Office for Criminal Justice Reform collect data only on the number of PNDs actually issued.

Fixed Penalties: Cambridgeshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many fixed penalty notices for disorder were issued in Cambridgeshire in each year since their introduction, broken down by category of offence; and what percentage of money was collected in (a) each category and (b) total in each year. (153769)

Data on the number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued for all offences paid (and the percentage of money collected), contested in court, and unpaid PNDs registered as fines at court, in Cambridgeshire police force area are provided in the following tables. Data are provided for the years 2004 and 2005, equivalent data for 2006 will be available in autumn 2007.

Number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued and the percentage of PNDS paid in full, fine registered, with cash values in Cambridgeshire police force area, by offence type 20041

PNDs issued

Resolved by police

Resolved by HM courts service

Other outcome3

Offence code

Number

Cash value (£)

Paid in full

Cash value (£)

Percentage of cash value recovered

Fine registered

Cash value (£)2

Number

Cash value (£)

Higher tier offences (value (£80)

Wasting police time

3

240.00

2

160.00

67

1

120.00

0

0.00

Causing harassment, alarm or distress

108

8,640.00

57

4,560.00

53

50

6,000.00

1

80.00

Throwing fireworks

2

160.00

0

0.00

0

2

240.00

0

0.00

Drunk and disorderly

45

3,600.00

26

2,080.00

58

17

2,040.00

2

160.00

Criminal Damage (under £500)

9

720.00

7

560.00

78

2

240.00

0

0.0

Theft (retail under £200)

6

480.00

5

400.00

83

1

120.00

0

0.00

Lower tier offences (value £40 January to October 2004; £50 November December 2004)

Drunk and Disorderly

144

7,070.00

81

4,000.00

57

62

4,530.00

1

50.00

Trespassing on a railway

1

50.00

0

0.00

0

1

75.00

0

0.00

Drunk in a highway

34

1,540.00

26

1,190.00

77

8

525.00

0

0.00

Depositing and leaving litter

7

333.00

2

90.00

27

5

360.00

0

0.00

Total all offences

359

22,830.00

206

13,040.00

57

149

14,250.00

4

290.00

1 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it Is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

2 Includes the additional 50 per cent. of the value of the original PND, when they are fine registered at the courts.

3 Includes PNDs contested at court, cancelled and PNDs which were not reported to the Office for Criminal Justice Reform as resolved at the time of data submission

Source:

RDS - Office for Criminal Justice Reform - Ministry of Justice

Number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued and the percentage of PNDS paid in full, fine registered, with cash values in Cambridgeshire police force area, by offence type 20051

PNDs issued

Resolved by police

Resolved by HM courts service

Other outcome3

Offence description

Number

Cash value (£)

Paid in full

Cash value (£)

Percentage of cash value recovered

Fine registered

Cash value (£)2

Number

Cash value (£)

Higher tier offences (value (£80)

Wasting police time

6

480.00

4

320.00

67

2

160.00

0

0.00

Misuse of public telecommunications system

1

80.00

0

0.00

0

0

0.00

1

80.00

Causing harassment, alarm or distress

275

22,000.00

180

14,400.00

65

84

6,720.00

11

880.00

Throwing fireworks

2

160.00

1

80.00

50

1

80.00

0

0.00

Drunk and disorderly

357

28,560.00

218

17,440.00

61

125

10,000.00

14

1,120.00

Sale of alcohol to under 18

11

880.00

11

880.00

100

0

0.00

0

0.00

Delivery of alcohol to person under 18

2

160.00

2

160.00

100

0

0.00

0

0.00

Criminal Damage (under £500)

107

8,560.00

72

5,760.00

67

31

2,480.00

4

320.00

Theft (retail under £200)

148

11,840.00

85

6,800.00

57

59

4,720.00

4

320.00

Possession by a person under 18 of adult firework

1

80.00

0

0.00

0

1

80.00

0

0.00

Lower tier offences (value £50)

Drunk in a highway

90

4,500.00

54

2,700.00

60

33

1,650.00

3

150.00

Consumption of alcohol In public place

41

2,050.00

10

500.00

24

30

1,500.00

1

50.00

Depositing and leaving litter

4

200.00

2

100.00

50

1

50.00

1

50.00

Consumption of alcohol by under 18 on licensed premises

1

50.00

1

50.00

100

0

0.00

0

0.00

Total all offences

1,046

79,600.00

640

49,190.00

62

367

27,440.00

39

2,970.00

1 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it Is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

2 Includes the additional 50 per cent. of the value of the original PND, when they are fine registered at the courts.

3 Includes PNDs contested at court, cancelled and PNDs which were not reported to the Office for Criminal Justice Reform as resolved at the time of data submission

Source:

RDS - Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice

Foreigners: Prisoners

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign nationals were imprisoned in each of the last five years in England and Wales. (153312)

The figures requested are in the following table:

Immediate custodial sentenced receptions into prison establishments 2001-05

British nationals

Foreign nationals

Unrecorded nationality

Total

2001

84,217

6,026

280

90,523

2002

86,114

7,018

483

93,615

2003

84,251

7,482

512

92,245

2004

84,579

8,355

392

93,326

2005

80,418

9,612

384

90,414

The figures provided in this table are for the number of sentenced receptions into prison establishments in England and Wales in each of the years in question and not the total prison population held in each of the years. The word “imprisoned” is taken to mean the numbers placed in prison under sentence during the 12-month period in each year, not the total numbers held in prison (including prisoners on remand and non-criminal prisoners), which would be answered by prison population figures1.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

1 The figures provided should not be interpreted or used to reflect totals for prison population or total prison capacity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign former prisoners were housed in young offender institutions on 20 July 2007. (154026)

Comprehensive data in the form necessary to answer the question is not available on the electronic case management system. The information would need to be gathered from the paper files held on each prisoner and this would involve disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was in 2006-07 of providing free telephone calls to foreign national prisoners. (155723)

Prisoners, whether UK citizens or foreign nationals, with close family living abroad receive a free five minute phone call once a month if they have not had a social visit in the preceding period. There is no centrally held information about the cost of free calls nor locally of the breakdown between UK citizens and foreign nationals. Therefore, it is not possible to provide this information. Each establishment pays for such calls from their local budget, and costs are dependent on the number of eligible prisoners as well as the country they wish to call.

House of Lords: Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with cabinet colleagues on proposals for legislative reform of the House of Lords. (156074)

Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many safe houses there are in the UK for victims of human trafficking; and how many trafficking victims these safe houses accommodated in each of the last five years. (155302)

The Government have funded the Poppy project to provide support to adult women trafficked for sexual exploitation since 2003. Poppy has 35 bed-spaces across London and an outreach service. The project accepts referrals from across the United Kingdom. Women who apply for asylum continue to be supported by the project but are accommodated through Asylum Support. Additionally, there are a number of independently funded voluntary organisations that are able to accommodate and support victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The following table details the number of women supported through the Poppy project in the last five years. Information on the number of women supported by the independently funded voluntary organisations is not held centrally.

Support and accommodation

Outreach support

2007 (January to August)

43

57

2006

40

9

2005

34

1

2004

25

8

2003

25

12

Judicial Communications Office for England and Wales: Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many press officers are employed by the Judicial Communications Office for England and Wales. (154434)

The Judicial Communications Office for England and Wales has two press officer posts. The junior appointment is a job-share.

Legal Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the rate of legal aid has been since 1997; how much has been spent on legal aid in each year since 1997; and how many hours of legal aid work have been provided in each such year. (155449)

The expenditure on legal aid in cash terms during each of the financial years since 1997-98 is set out in the following table.

£ million

1997-98

1,525

1998-99

1,623

1999-2000

l,551

2000-01

1,664

2001-02

l,716

2002-03

1,909

2003-04

2,077

2004-05

2,038

2005-06

2,028

2006-07

l,980

Legal aid is paid at a wide range of different rates reflecting the variety of cases funded under different schemes within the Criminal Defence Service (CDS) and Community Legal Service (CLS). Details of the rates currently payable for the various categories of legal aid are available on the Legal Services Commission's website.

It is not possible to state the number of hours of legal aid work carried out in each year since 1997, as this is not centrally recorded. By January 2008 the vast majority of legal aid work will be remunerated on a ‘ per case’ basis rather than by the hour, reflecting the progressive extension of fixed and graduated fees over recent years.

Offenders: Deportation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 17 July 2007, Official Report, column 270W, what the Department’s estimated timescales are for the completion of the procedures referred to with (a) Jamaica, (b) Nigeria and (c) Pakistan. (154189)

The United Kingdom has concluded prisoner transfer agreements with both Jamaica and Pakistan. The Agreement with Jamaica was signed in London on 26 June 2007; the Agreement with Pakistan was signed in Islamabad on 24 August 2007. Before these agreements come to force each country must complete their respective constitutional procedures.

In the United Kingdom this means that the text of the agreements must be laid before Parliament for 21 consecutive sitting days. It is intended that the Agreements with Jamaica and with Pakistan will be laid before Parliament when it reassembles after the summer recess.

Jamaica has not yet completed changes to its domestic legislation but UK officials in Kingston are following up progress with the Jamaican Ministry of National Security and the Attorney-General’s Office.

The Agreement with Pakistan has only recently been signed. We do not yet know what domestic procedures are necessary to enable the Pakistani Government to ratify it. The British High Commission will take this forward with the Pakistani Government.

Negotiations with Nigeria are ongoing. It is not possible to say when they will be concluded.

Parc Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if the Minister with responsibility for prisons will meet the hon. Member for Bridgend and a group of interested parties to discuss the case for a footpath to be built from the A4061 to Parc Prison. (154085)

I have arranged for my hon. Friend and interested parties to meet with prison representatives of HMP YOI Parc to discuss the case for a footpath to be built. A representative of HMP YOI Parc will contact my hon. Friend's constituency office to arrange this.

Parole

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the cost implications of the Court of Appeal ruling that prisoners should be compensated when they are detained beyond the date on which they are eligible for parole; what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners who may fall within the terms of this ruling, broken down by period of detention beyond eligibility for parole; what steps he is taking to ensure that HM Prison Service ends this practice; and if he will make a statement. (154342)

Her Majesty's Prison Service Annual Report and Accounts 2006-2007 details parole performance for the fiscal year 2006-07. Of those prisoners awarded parole, only 3 per cent. were subject to late release due to administrative delays. This is lower than in previous years and the Government are committed to ensuring that no prisoner is detained in prison beyond their parole eligibility date due to administrative delays.

Personal Records: USA

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make a statement on the Passenger Name Record system and the agreement with the US for the handing over of personal data; what restraints or limitations of use or storage of such data (a) are binding under the agreement and (b) are expected by the agreement but are not binding; and if he will make a statement. (156065)

The European Union, on 23 July 2007, and the United States of America, on 26 July 2007, signed an agreement on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to US authorities. The new agreement, which is binding, is in three parts:

(i) an agreement signed by both parties;

(ii) a letter which the US sent to the EU in which it sets out assurances about how the US handles the collection, use and storage of EU PNR data; and

(iii) a letter from the EU to the US acknowledging receipt of the assurances and confirming that it considers the level of protection of EU PNR data in the US as adequate.

The main features of the agreement and the accompanying letter are:

The purposes for the transfers are unchanged and are for preventing and combating (1) terrorism and related crimes; (2) other serious crimes, including organised crime, that are transnational in nature; and (3) flights from warrants or custody for crimes described above. PNR may be used where necessary for the protection of the vital interests of the data subject or other persons, or in any criminal judicial proceedings, or as otherwise required by law.

Data will be retained for seven years in an operational status and for a further eight years in a non-operational status. The new agreement imposes stringent conditions that it may be accessed only with the approval of a senior DHS official designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security and only in response to an identifiable case, threat or risk.

Sensitive personal data will be filtered out and will not be used by the DHS, except in exceptional cases where life is at risk. The DHS will maintain a log of any access to sensitive data and will inform the European Commission normally within 48 hours.

The Government believe that this agreement balances the need to prevent and combat crime with the need to provide data protection safeguards for UK passengers.

A copy of the agreement and the exchange of letters was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 4 August 2007.

Prison Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average total certified normal accommodation was of the prison estate in England and Wales in each year since 1997. (154784)

The following table shows the average in use certified normal accommodation (CNA) of the prison estate in England and Wales for each year since 1997.

In use CNA

1997

56,411

1998

61,439

1999

62,266

2000

63,245

2001

63,780

2002

64,158

2003

66,022

2004

67,678

2005

69,090

2006

70,658

2007 (as at 31 July)

71,247

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of spare capacity in the prison system; what plans he has to build new prisons; and if he will make a statement. (156213)

The Government will ensure that there are sufficient prison places for those serious and dangerous offenders who ought to be in prison. The National Offender Management Service continues to investigate options for providing further increases in capacity. A programme to deliver 8,000 new prison places by 2012 was announced in July 2006, to be provided both in new prisons and by expansion at existing prisons.

A further 1,500 places were announced on 19 June 2007. Work started immediately on 500 of the extra places, the first of which will come into use in January 2008. The composition of the further 1,000 places will be decided in the light of Lord Carter’s forthcoming report into the long-term future of the prison estate and the supply and demand of prison places.

The National Offender Management Service is closely monitoring the prison population and spare capacity in the system.

We are reviewing the basis by which the current spare capacity is calculated and will make a further statement shortly.

Prison Accommodation: Cardiff

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many times facilities in Cardiff court buildings have been used to house prisoners overnight in each month in 2007; and if he will make a statement. (156287)

Prisoners were held overnight in court cells in Cardiff on 11-12 June 2007. This is the only occasion on which prisoners were held overnight in court cells in Wales during 2007.

Prison Service: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions the Deputy Director General of HM Prison Service recommended a member of staff to receive required hours allowance in each of the years that he occupied the role of (a) Deputy Director General and (b) Director of Operations; what reasons were provided for receipt of the allowance in each case; and if he will make a statement. (153680)

The Director of Operations recommended that one member of his staff be paid required hours allowance. This was to reflect the individual's role as a duty officer in support of the Incident Command Suite and was in line with arrangements for other duty officers. There have been no other recommendations made during his tenure as Director of Operations or Deputy Director General.

Prison Service: Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many promotion and selection boards the Deputy Director General of HM Prison Service sat in each of the years that he occupied the role of (a) Deputy Director General and (b) Director of Operations; and if he will make a statement. (153675)

The current Deputy Director General sat on the following boards as Director of Operations:

Board

11 April 2003

Eastern Area Manager post

3 November 2003

Thames Valley, Hampshire and IoW Area Manager post

14 November 2003

Head of Personnel Management Group

Head of Juveniles Group

30 June 2004

London Area Manager post

9 September 2004

Head of Performance Delivery post (Operations Directorate)

11 July 2005

West Midlands Area Manager post

11 July 2005

South West Area Manager post

12 July 2005

Casework Manager post (Operations Directorate)

3 March 2006

Budget Manager post (Operations Directorate)

2 August 2006

North East Area Manager post

On the following board commenced as Director of Operations and concluded as Deputy Director Genera (DDG):

16 November 2006/6 December 2006—Yorkshire Area Manager post

On the following board as DDG:

6 March 2007—Head of Women and Young Peoples Group

9 May 2007—HR Director post

Prisoners Release: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what percentage of prisoners discharged at the end of their sentence (a) went into temporary accommodation and (b) were of no fixed abode in the most recent period for which figures are available. (156293)

Data are currently collected on the percentage of prisoners who move on to settled accommodation on discharge from custody. Details of those in temporary or of no fixed abode are not collected. Between 1 April and 31 July 2007, 80.2 per cent. of discharged prisoners moved to settled accommodation.

Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the proportion of convicted criminals released through the early release scheme who go on to re-offend; what plans he has to review the operation of the early release scheme; and if he will make a statement. (156212)

The number of prisoners released under End of Custody Licence (ECL) conditions who have subsequently been recalled to prison for alleged re-offending in August is 30. This is based on those notifications to the National Offender Management Service received by the end of 21 September. The number of releases on ECL in August was 2,493.

These figures were published on the Ministry of Justice website on 28 September 2007.

ECL was introduced as a temporary measure and we will keep under review the length of time it will remain in use in the light of new prison capacity coming on stream and the review by Lord Carter. So far the data collected about ECL indicate that the scheme is working well.

Prisoners: Death