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Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to return all passports and original documents by recorded delivery or registered post. [8068]

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Angela Eagle: The Integrated Casework Directorate (ICD) in Croydon deals with the majority of passport and document returns to applicants and their representatives throughout Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND). This year they began returning passports and original documents to applicants by recorded delivery.

However, ICD's Nationality Group in Liverpool ceased this service five years ago on the basis that the increased cost would add significantly to the cost of applications. Furthermore, the great majority of passports returned by ordinary post would reach their destination safely. However, any applicants who are concerned about the return of their documents can send in recorded delivery or registered post envelopes at their own expense.

Security Checks

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will monitor the length of time the security services take to complete security checks on those applying for (a) settlement in the UK and (b) naturalisation. [8099]

Angela Eagle: The Integrated Casework Directorate's (ICD) Nationality and General Group already monitor the length of time the Security Services take to complete checks on those applying for settlement in the United Kingdom and naturalisation.

Mr. Alan Bayle

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what correspondence he has received from Mr. Alan Bayle concerning his decision to resign from the Metropolitan Police Service; and what measures he has taken to address professional representations concerning training and supervision of the collection of forensic evidence. [8079]

Mr. Denham: My Department has not received any correspondence from Mr. Alan Bayle concerning his decision to resign from the Metropolitan Police Service.

In England and Wales, the collection of forensic evidence is the responsibility of Crime Scene Examiners and Assistant Crime Scheme Examiners, who are also responsible for forwarding such evidence to other departments or agencies as appropriate.

Training is provided in-force or at specialist centres such as the National Training Centre for Scientific Support in Durham, or the Metropolitan Police Service Scientific Support College.

Training and deployment are operational matters for individual chief constables and not ones in which it would be appropriate for Ministers to intervene.

Police Working Conditions

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his proposals for reform of police working conditions. [9723]

Mr. Denham: The police reform programme is about making the police service more effective in catching criminals and reducing crime and the fear of crime. To help ensure that the police service has the support it, managers and officers need to deliver these outputs, we are today presenting the Police Negotiating Board (PNB)

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with the outcomes we wish to achieve in respect of relevant police conditions so that it can explore and agree how best to deliver them. I have placed a copy of the outcomes paper presented to PNB in the Library.

Special Constables

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to extend the role of special constables. [8566]

Mr. Denham: As part of the police reform process the Government are looking at measures to increase the size of the special constabulary. We are also currently looking at means of improving the management of special constables to ensure that they are deployed effectively to provide an increased visible police presence in our communities.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many special constables there were in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000; [7716]

Mr. Denham: The number of serving special constables in England and Wales from 30 September 1997 to 30 September 2000 is set out in the table.

Total strength(16)19,16317,29615,72713,487
Strength in Wales1,1401,047940811

(16) England and Wales

Home Office funded research into the premature wastage of special constables, completed last year, found that the primary reasons for leaving were often external to the service. However, the research identified some underlying management factors contributing to the decision to resign.

Recommendations aimed at reducing the wastage included making improvements to: the flexibility of duties and hours offered; the management structure within which specials operate; the quality of training provided locally; and local efforts to monitor and prevent wastage.

The Government are committed to increasing the special constabulary and as part of the police reform process we are looking at radical improvements in the management, welfare and deployment of special constables.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of refugees into the EU from (a) Iran, (b) Iraq and (c) Afghanistan entered the UK in (i) 1990, (ii) 1995 and (iii) 2000. [8241]

Angela Eagle: It is not possible to provide information on how many refugees entered the United Kingdom in any given period, because some refugees arrive clandestinely and subsequently claim asylum in-country rather than claiming on arrival at United Kingdom ports. Information on the numbers of application for asylum in the United Kingdom from the specified nationalities as a percentage of European Union (EU) applications is given

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in the table. However, only a minority of applications results in the granting of refugee status under the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention.

Applications for asylum to the EU and UK from nationals of Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, 1990, 1995, 2000(17)

UK (Percentage)n/a728
UK (Percentage)n/a931
UK (Percentage)n/a928

(17) All data are provisional and rounded to nearest five. Dependants have been estimated where necessary.

(18) EU excludes Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Greece.

(19) EU excludes Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Greece.


IGC Secretariat

"Welcome to the Asylum"

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his response is to the recommendations contained in "Welcome to the Asylum" by Harriet Sergeant; and if he will make a statement. [8464]

Angela Eagle: We have studied the report "Welcome to the Asylum", and its four recommendations, and we have noted its conclusions and recommendations. The Government have clear immigration and asylum policies which are based on honouring our international obligations, and dealing quickly and firmly with those who have no right to be here. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State intends to make an announcement on asylum policy later this month.


Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases foreign Governments have asked for assistance in returning fugitives resident in the UK (a) generally and (b) for terrorist offences in each of the last five years. [9621]

Angela Eagle: Reliable records are available for only the last four years. In those years, the number of extradition requests received by the United Kingdom is as follows:

Number of requests received

It is not possible to say with precision how many of those cases involved charges of terrorism. That is because the fugitive may have been accused of non-terrorist

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charges committed in furtherance of alleged terrorist acts. Of requests currently outstanding, nine involve suspected terrorist activity.

Criminal Records Bureau

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make funding available to voluntary bodies for the costs of starting up and administering a registered body disclosure service with the Criminal Records Bureau. [9606]

Mr. Denham: Having announced that standard and enhanced disclosures will be issued free of charge to volunteers, we are in the process of considering representations which have been received on the case for financial support for bodies involved in administering the disclosure service. We will announce our conclusions as soon as possible.

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