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Car Crime

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many private motor vehicles have been stolen and not recovered in the past five years in the United Kingdom. [15181]

Mr. Maclean: The available information relates to recorded offences of theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle and is given in the table. The information given relates to England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for the respective Secretaries of State.

Notifiable offences of theft of motor vehicles recorded by the police
England and Wales

YearRecorded offences(12)Vehicles recoveredVehicles not recovered(13)
1991581,901372,412209,489
1992(14)586,362363,956222,406
1993(14)596,128350,862245,266
1994(14)540,639315,111225,258
1995(15)448,143283,903164,240

(12) Includes attempts. Please note that it is not possible to exclude attempts for all forces.

(13) The number of vehicles recovered subtracted from the number of recorded offences.

(14) Excluding Dyfed-Powys.

(15) Excluding Metropolitan Police and Dyfed-Powys.


Criminal Injuries Compensation

Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding delays in obtaining hearings of claims by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board; and what is his estimate of the number of unresolved claims which were more than three years old in (a) 1990 and (b) at the latest date for which such figures are available. [15422]

Mr. Maclean: Since 1 January 1996, we have received 15 letters about delays in appeals directly from claimants and 15 through hon. Members. In addition, two hon. Members tabled questions on the subject.

The board advises that data about numbers of outstanding appeals in 1990 are no longer available, but of 26,000 cases currently awaiting oral hearing, 2,067 have been waiting for more than three years.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I increased membership of the board from 43 to 50 in 1996 to help clear the hearings backlog more speedily. Under the new tariff scheme introduced in April 1996, which has a new review procedure and a new independent appeals panel, we expect appeals to be dealt with considerably more quickly than under the superseded scheme.

European Year Against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-semitism

Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken in relation to the European Commission's decision to make 1997 the European Year Against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-semitism; and if he will make a statement. [15263]

12 Feb 1997 : Column: 214

Mr. Kirkhope: The decision to make 1997 the European Year Against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-semitism was taken by member states of the European Union in July 1996 and is fully supported by the United Kingdom.

I am chairing the national co-ordinating committee for the year in the United Kingdom. The committee met for the first time on 2 December and meets again on 26 February.

The year was launched at European level on 30 and 31 January at a conference in The Hague at which I led the United Kingdom delegation. I shall also be hosting the launch of the year in this country which will take place at Lancaster house on 19 February.

The Government are working closely with the Commission for Racial Equality in the running of the year. The Home Office is providing specific funding to the Commission for Racial Equality to run a helpline and information service. A newsletter has been issued and details of funding available from the European Commission are now being disseminated. We are also in the process of pulling together a calendar of events: this will be sent out shortly and updated periodically throughout the year.

Whitemoor Prison

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the six category A exceptional risk prisoners who escaped from Whitemoor prison in 1994 did not have category A books showing their period at Whitemoor in the special secure unit; and if other prisoners in that unit had such books. [14883]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 11 February 1997]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Kevin McNamara, dated 12 February 1997:



Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the nature of the deteriorating health condition of each of the accused in the Whitemoor prison escape trial; what psychiatric and other medical examinations the accused have had since the trial was discontinued; and if he will make a statement. [14884]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 11 February 1997]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Kevin McNamara, dated 12 February 1997:


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Interception of Communications

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) under what statutory basis the police are able to trace the movement of people by reference to their mobile phone records; [14364]

Mr. Howard: The circumstances under which the four mobile telephone operators may disclose personal information which they hold on computer for their own purposes--including for billing, fraud prevention and statistical analysis--are regulated by the Data Protection Act 1984, by the Telecommunications Act 1984, and by the terms of their Telecommunication Act licences which require them to take all reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of customer information. It is an offence, under section 45 of the Telecommunications Act, for an operator to disclose any information concerning subscribers' use of the system except where the disclosure is made for specified purposes including the prevention or detection of crime; for the purposes of any criminal

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proceedings; in the interests of national security or in pursuance of a court order. All operators are also required to observe a code of practice on the confidentiality of customer information, and they are subject to the normal civil law obligations towards their subscribers.

The police and other agencies concerned with law enforcement and national security may request the operators to provide them with data which they require for one or more of the purposes described above. Additionally, the law enforcement agencies may apply for a court order under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Information concerning the number of such applications which have been made to the operators, and the number of cases in which such information has been used in proceedings before courts and tribunals, is not held centrally.

I see no need to intervene in these arrangements which are properly a matter for the relevant authorities and the operators, within the framework of the safeguards which I have described. Interception of communications--as distinct from the provision of subscriber data--is governed by the Interception of Communications Act 1985 which provides that interception may be carried out only under a warrant issued by the Secretary of State, and that material may be disclosed only in accordance with arrangements made under section 6 of the Act.


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