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Oakington Reception Centre

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used to determine which asylum seekers should be sent to Oakington Reception Centre; what the qualifying nationalities for detention at Oakington are; how many and what percentage of new asylum seekers from each of the nationalities listed in the instructions were sent to Oakington in the last three months for which figures are available; on what grounds the nationalities listed in the instructions are selected; and if he will make a statement. [155568]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 26 March 2001]: Applicants are referred to Oakington where it appears that their application can be decided quickly, including those which may be certified as manifestly unfounded, and there are no other circumstances which would make their claim unsuitable for Oakington. Nationality is a factor, although not the only factor, in deciding whether a case is suitable for consideration at Oakington as the country of origin has a bearing on the likely complexity of the claim. Information on nationalities currently potentially suitable for consideration at Oakington is provided in the table. Operational constraints, for example the availability of interpreters, limit the range of nationalities than can, in practice, be dealt with at Oakington at any one time.

Applications received for asylum in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, and those cases referred to Oakington, December 2000 to February 2001(14)

NationalityTotal applications(15)Cases referred to OakingtonPercentage sent to Oakington
Ivory Coast8500
Czech Republic28016759
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia74511716

(14) Provisional figures

(15) Figures are rounded to the nearest 5. "*" denotes 1 or 2

(16) Recently introduced nationalities


Referrals to Oakington in December 2000 to January 2001 do not necessarily relate exactly to applications in that period

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Criminal Justice Review

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the criminal justice review undertaken by Lord Birt. [155151]

Mr. Straw: The work undertaken by Lord Birt was considered alongside that undertaken by the Home Office, the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Law Officers' Department and Her Majesty's Treasury in preparing the Government's strategy document, "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead" (Cm 5074), which was published on 26 February 2001.

Departmental Policies

(Regent's Park and Kensington, North)

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, including individual statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect upon Regent's Park and Kensington, North of his Department's policies since May 1997. [155351]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of responsibilities is set out in Home Office Annual Reports. A copy of the most recent report, Home Office Annual Report 1999-2000, is available in the Library. The next report will be published shortly. Information on recorded crime and policing is also published. "Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000" and "Police Service Strength England and Wales, 30 September 2000" can be found in the Library. The recorded crime statistics include information on recorded crime by Basic Command Unit and Crime and Disorder partnerships.

The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects, such as recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested although set out are examples relating to the Regent's Park and Kensington, North constituency or the immediate locality:

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was awarded £117,000 for a six-camera system covering two residential areas in North Kensington, Swinbrook estate and St. Quintin Park. The scheme aims to reduce incidents of assault, criminal damage and vehicle crime on both estates.

Youth Offending

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) Youth Offending Team (YOT) covers the entire borough. Its aim is to reduce offending by children and young people aged 10-17. During 2000-01 the YOT dealt with 170 new cases. This represents approximately one in 70 of the youth population. The borough attributes its apparently low offending rate to the success of partnership arrangements aimed at reducing crime including the YOT, as well as the excellence of its Youth Service and Social Services Departments (as evidenced by recent Ofsted and Joint Review inspections). Robbery, burglary and violent

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offences are a priority for the YOT and its partners for 2001-02. The Youth Justice Plan contains objectives to develop intensive supervision programmes for persistent young offenders, develop an anger management programme and to share intelligence with the Police Service in relation to the most prolific young offenders in the Royal borough.

The YOT contracts with the Divert Trust for the delivery of a mentoring scheme. This scheme provides positive adult role models for young offenders. 17 volunteers from RBKC are currently on the scheme. RPS Rainer have been contracted to provide a bail supervision service aimed at reducing offending on bail as well as decreasing non-attendance at court. The YOT is part of the Royal borough's Community Safety Strategy and has specific targets to meet around early intervention work, support and guidance for parents of young offenders and the development of an assessment framework. The RBKC YOT piloted the new assessment framework called ASSET. The team continues to be part of the research programme investigating the efficacy of ASSET. The YOT places a particular emphasis on early intervention. During 2000-01, 70 per cent. of young offenders given a Final Warning took part in a rehabilitation programme, (despite the fact that attendance is voluntary). A sample of 50 cases showed only five occurrences of re-offending. This re-offending rate is lower than the previous cautioning rate. A course for young people at risk of offending or school exclusion called "Chance to Change" is run annually. Last year only one of 12 attendees subsequently re-offended.

In addition to statutory community orders, the YOT operates a groupwork programme for male and female offenders (separately), aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour and improving life skills. The YOT also operates a Youth Inclusion Programme in the north of the borough aimed at providing an intensive programme for the 50 young people in the area most at risk from offending. This programme is run in partnership with the Royal borough's Youth Service. The YOT has operated as a catalyst for developing joint work within partner agencies. Links with the voluntary sector have been strengthened and the incorporation of a victim perspective has brought a whole new dimension to youth justice interventions.

More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Regent's Park and Kensington, North to a greater or lesser extent. For example:

Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website

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Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the National Union of Students regarding the operation of racist groups on college and university campuses. [155452]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have not discussed this matter with the National Union of Students (NUS) nor have I been asked to meet the NUS to discuss this issue. The Government are fully committed to tackling racism and anti-Semitism wherever it occurs. We have laws, such as the law on incitement to racial hatred, to deal with those who seek to stir up racial hatred. The question of whether groups on college or university campuses are breaching these laws is a matter for the police.

Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives his Department is undertaking to monitor websites which contain anti- semitic material. [155451]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government condemn those who use the internet to distribute racist material of this kind. The law on incitement to racial hatred applies to material on the internet which comes within our jurisdiction.

Monitoring criminal activity is a matter for the police. In November last year my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced that the Government were making available £25 million to the police over the next three years to initiate the implementation of a national high-tech crime strategy. That will enhance the capability of law enforcement to investigate crime, including racially- motivated crime, more effectively where new technology is used.

Additionally, the Government are assisting the Internet Watch Foundation to set up a complaint hotline which will enable the public to report racially inflammatory material they find on the internet.

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