|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment the Government have made of the extent of trafficking in women and girls; from which areas of the world this trafficking is most extensive; and what measures Her Majesty's Government are supporting to tackle this. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office has recently published a ground-breaking study, which establishes for the first time the possible extent of trafficking in women into this country: 'Stopping Traffic: Exploring the extent of, and responses to, trafficking in women for sexual exploitation in the United Kingdom.' That study indicates
18 Jul 2000 : Column: 164W
that 18 trafficking cases were identified by the police during 1998, involving 71 women. The majority of those women claimed to come from Europe and the remainder from Brazil and Thailand. The study indicates that these figures do not reveal the full extent of this phenomenon and makes a number of recommendations about tackling it. These are currently being considered by the Government.
Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what action is taken against constabularies that are reported as failing to comply with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 by withholding unused material from defence lawyers in criminal cases; 
(3) what recent representations he has received about non-disclosure of information to defence lawyers; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) if the implementation of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 is being monitored; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government are aware of concerns about the operation of the disclosure provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. Since the beginning of this year, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has received three letters from Members of Parliament and one from a member of the public on this issue. Action is well underway to address these concerns.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has made disclosure a business priority for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and has initiated a programme of work focusing on the basic principles of disclosure, with a special emphasis on the prosecutor's duty to ensure a fair trial. He has asked Chief Crown Prosecutors to take up with Chief Constables any concerns that they may have with police disclosure practice in their area. Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate undertook a thematic review of disclosure and its report was published in March. The recommendations in that report are being considered and taken forward in the form of an action plan as part of the DPP's programme of work. The Association of Chief Police Officers has also established a working party to look into the working of the disclosure provisions in relation to the police.
The Attorney-General is developing guidelines on disclosure. In February, these were issued in draft for consultation and the responses are now being considered. The Attorney-General is aiming to issue the final version of the guidance in the summer.
In addition, as part of its general responsibility to evaluate new legislation the Government have commissioned an independent research study to evaluate all aspects of the disclosure provisions. The study will build on the CPS Inspectorate's report and draw on surveys of the legal profession carried out by the Criminal Bar Association and the Law Society. The
18 Jul 2000 : Column: 165W
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been within the Greater London area for the offence of cycling on pavements during the last 12 months. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Available information taken from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database shows that provisionally in 1999 there were 42 prosecutions for the offence of cycling on the pavement in the Greater London area (prosecutions at courts within areas policed by the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London police). In 1998, there were 67 prosecutions.
The fixed penalty system for this offence was introduced on 1 August 1999 and up to, and including, 31 December 1999 a combined total of 39 fixed penalty notices were issued by the Metropolitan and City of London police forces.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have applied under the regularisation scheme set up under section 9 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; what their nationalities are; how many applications (a) have been granted, (b) have been refused and (c) are still pending; and how many applicants had been in the United Kingdom (i) more than and (ii) fewer than seven years at the time of application. 
Mrs. Roche: On 13 July, the number of applications received under the regularisation scheme was 1,653. Approximately 175 of these applications have been granted. Most are awaiting substantive consideration. I regret that further information could be obtained only by examination of individual case records and is, therefore, available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in each of the last four years for which figures are available, (a) how many people were detained for more than 24 hours under immigration powers who (i) were and (ii) claimed to be under the age of 18 at the time of their detention, (b) what the average length of time was for which they were detained and (c) what the longest period of time was for which any such person was detained; 
18 Jul 2000 : Column: 166W
(3) in each of the last four years for which figures are available, (a) how many asylum applicants detained for more than 24 hours under immigration powers (i) were and (ii) claimed to be under the age of 18 at the time of their detention, (b) what was the average length of time for which they were detained and (c) what was the longest period of time for which any person was detained; 
(4) in each of the last four years for which figures are available, (a) how many people were detained for more than 24 hours under immigration powers who were subsequently accepted to be under the age of 18 at the time of their detention, (b) what the average length of time was for which they were detained and (c) what the longest period was for which any such person was detained. 
Mrs. Roche: Information on the age of persons detained under Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 powers is not held centrally. Nor is a central record kept of cases where age is disputed, whether or not the person is detained. The information requested is, therefore, available only at disproportionate cost.
Our policy, however, is that where we are satisfied a person is under 18 he or she should be detained only in very limited circumstances. The detention of minors using immigration powers is always regrettable. Unaccompanied children should never be detained other than in the most exceptional circumstances and then only overnight with appropriate care if they, for example, arrive alone at an airport. Where he or she cannot be cared for by responsible family or friends in the United Kingdom, an unaccompanied child should be placed in the care of the local authority while the circumstances of the case are determined.
Children are also sometimes cared for in detention facilities as part of a family unit in preference to separating them from their parents. In addition to existing facilities for detaining families, extra family accommodation has recently been made available at Oakington Reception Centre, where families may be held together for around seven days if it appears that their applications can be decided quickly. Occasionally, the detention of families is necessary to effect the removal of those who have no authority to remain in this country but who refuse to leave voluntarily. In such circumstances, detention should be planned to be effected as close to removal as possible so that families are not normally detained for more than a few days.
Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) for each of the last four years for which figures are available, (a) how many persons under the age of 18 years have been detained with their parents in Tinsley House Reception Centre, (b) what was the average length of time for which they were detained and (c) how many of those persons were (i) 0 to 5, (ii) 6 to 11, (iii) 12 to 16 and (iv) 17 to 18 years old; 
18 Jul 2000 : Column: 167W
Mrs. Roche: I regret that the information held centrally on persons detained under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 powers at Tinsley House Detention Centre is available only in the form of a snapshot at a point in time. Nor is it possible to identify from these data the age of detainees. The information requested is, therefore, available only at disproportionate cost.
The most recent data available for persons detained at Oakington show that up to 2 July 2000, a total of 538 principal asylum applicants and 50 dependants of asylum seekers have been detained at various times since it opened on 20 March 2000. Oakington has accommodated family groups since 10 May 2000. A total of 36 children have been accommodated with one or both of their parents in dedicated family accommodation up to 2 July 2000. Further information regarding the age ranges of the children is available only at disproportionate cost.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|