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UK Passport Agency

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the date when he approved the Passport Agency's business plan for 1999-2000 and its corporate plan for 1999-2002; and if he will now place copies of both plans in the Library. [94962]

Mrs. Roche: The UK Passport Agency's Corporate and Business Plans for 1999-2002 are under active consideration by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and will be published shortly.

Publication of the Agency's Plans has been deferred to enable them fully to reflect the lessons learnt from this year's operational problems.

The Plans will be finalised in the light of the National Audit Office report which will be published on Wednesday 27 October.

Immigration Act 1971 (Detention Powers)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are currently detained solely under Immigration Act 1971 powers in each place used for such detention. [94967]

Mrs. Roche: The latest available information, relating to the snapshot of all persons detained solely under Immigration Act 1971 powers, by location, as at 30 September 1999, is given in the table:

Persons recorded as being in detention(5) in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers as at 30 September 1999, by place of detention

LocationTotal detainees
Immigration detention centres(6)
Campsfield House174
Dover Harbour27
Harmondsworth90
Harwich2
Heathrow's Queens building15
Longport5
Manchester Airport7
Tinsley House142
Other immigration centres1
Prison establishments
Aberdeen8
Bedford3
Belmarsh10
Birmingham2
Blakenhurst5
Brixton3
Canterbury15
Dorchester2
Durham2
Elmley5
Feltham5
Gloucester2
Haslar157
High Down16
Holloway16
Holme House2
Lancaster Farms2
Leeds5
Liverpool4
Longriggend18
Manchester7
Norwich2
Pentonville10
Preston2
Rochester191
Swansea2
Wandsworth5
Winchester3
Woodhill2
Wormwood Scrubs7
Other prison establishments9
Total985

(5) Figures exclude persons detained in police cells (other than at Dover Harbour)

(6) Figures include the use of police cells at Dover Harbour


25 Oct 1999 : Column: 690

Asylum Seekers (Dependants)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of dependants of applicants for asylum who are currently resident in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [95650]

Mrs. Roche: The latest published information regarding the number of dependants of applicants for asylum in the United Kingdom is given in Table 7.1 of the Home Office statistical bulletin "Asylum Statistics United Kingdom, 1998", issue 10/99. This shows that there were a total of 12,470 dependants in 1998.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drug treatment and testing orders under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 have to date been made by the courts in each of the three pilot areas; how many of those orders have been breached; how many have been revoked; and if he will make a statement. [94959]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information is given in the table:

AreaOrders madeOrders revokedOrders breached
Croydon29914
Gloucestershire722741
Liverpool44822
Total1454477


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In all cases, the orders revoked have also been the subject of breach and are included in both figures.

Correspondence

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time taken by his Department to reply to letters from members of the public. [95652]

Mr. Straw: On the basis of information available, the average time taken by the Home Office to reply to letters from the public between 1 March 1999 and 30 August 1999 was 16 working days.

Hunting

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations his Department has received since 30 June on the subject of hunting with dogs; and how many of those representations (a) favoured and (b) opposed a statutory ban on hunting. [95651]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: No systematic record is kept, but it is estimated that well in excess of 100,000 representations have been received since 30 June 1999. We estimate that the representations are evenly split between those who support a statutory ban on hunting with dogs and those who are opposed to such a ban.

Rural Crime

Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what measures he is taking to combat crime in rural areas; and if he will make a statement; [95261]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The primary responsibility for tackling crime falls to police forces in conjunction with the local crime and reduction partnerships, established by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The policing plans and the strategies developed by the partnerships will deal explicitly with rural crime where that is a significant local issue. Some parts of the £400 million Crime Reduction Programme are likely to be diverted to crime in rural areas. There is no other Home Office provision dedicated exclusively to rural crime.

On 20 October, I met a delegation from 14 rural police authorities in England and Wales to discuss crime and the costs of policing in rural areas. My Department has also received petitions from residents of Norfolk and neighbouring counties about the subject.

Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration is being given to

25 Oct 1999 : Column: 692

the inclusion in the forthcoming Rural White Paper of proposals to help tackle rural crime. [95259]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The White Paper is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Home Office officials have been taking part in an inter-Departmental group which considers issues which might be covered in the White Paper. These include rural crime.

Rural Police Forces

Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the special funding needs of rural police forces; and if he will make a statement. [95257]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The needs of rural police forces are already recognised in the current funding formula. We are considering the findings of an independent research report on the costs of policing in rural areas.

Rural police forces will be able to bid for a share of the new Crime Fighting Fund which the Government have set up to provide for 5,000 extra recruits over the next three years.

Police Station Closures

Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a breakdown by police force area of the number of police stations closed in each of the past two years. [95260]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested is not collected centrally for England and Wales and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Fire Services

Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the levels of spending on fire services per head of population in (a) Staffordshire and (b) each other county of England (i) in the current year and (ii) in each of the last three years. [94013]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Fire service spending per head figures for the years 1992-93 until 1997-98, the latest year for which full information is available centrally, were placed in the Library in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Mr. Marsden) on 15 February 1999, Official Report, column 503, by the former Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth). In 1998-99 spending per head on the fire service in Staffordshire County Council was £24.

Wildlife

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many successful wildlife protection prosecutions have been launched by Merseyside Police since 1992. [94654]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Merseyside Police Force's computerised records indicate the following number of successful prosecutions since January 1994 of persons charged with a wildlife offence:

25 Oct 1999 : Column: 693

Year in which person was charged Number of persons convicted
19941
19950
19960
19970
19983
1999 (to date)1

Earlier computerised information is not available.


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