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Mr. Hussain Ahmed

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will postpone the removal of Mr. Hussain Ahmed (Home Office Ref: A570495) until after his wife gives birth to their child. [8728]

Angela Eagle: Lord Rooker responded to my hon. Friend by letter on 5 October 2001.

Fingerprint Evidence

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the standards used in determining fingerprint evidence. [8606]

Mr. Denham: I have no plans to review the standards used in determining fingerprint evidence. Following extensive consultation with the Lord Chancellor, the Attorney-General and other criminal justice system stakeholders, the Association of Chief Police Officers introduced the change in fingerprint evidential standard from 16 points to a non-numerical system from Monday 11 June 2001.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many PFI transactions have been overseen by his Department in each of the last 10 years; what his estimate is of the cost savings made in each of these transactions in comparison with the public sector alternative; what the outstanding payments to be made in relation to these transactions are for each of the next 15 years; and if he will make a statement. [5732]

Beverley Hughes: From the best information available, I list the PFI transactions overseen in the last 10 years:

Transaction/Project titleEstimated cost saving(20) (£ million) Outstanding payments
Rainsbrook (Onley) Training Centre Expansion10.5
Heat Energy Services Tranche 23.73(21)
Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Ryehill55.0
HMP Dovegate51.0
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)(22)
IT2000 (Sirius Programme)50
Public Safety Radio Communications Project (PSRCP)130.0
Rainsbrook (Onley) Secure Training Centre25.2
Hassockfield (Medomsley) Secure Training Centre29.5
HMP Forest Bank30.0
Her Majesty's Prison Service (HMPS) Heat Energy Services Tranche 13.3
Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution (HMYOI) Ashfield19.0
Passport Application Support System-Front End(23)
Passport Application Support System-Back End(23)
Medway (Cookham Wood) Secure Training Centre(24)21.9
Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) Casework Programme(25)
HMP Parc53.0
HMP Lowdham Grange30.0
HMP Altcourse1.5

(20) Published guidance on Public Sector Comparators notes that: "Accounting Officers should not rely solely on a straight comparison of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) bid to its Public Sector Comparator (PSC), which should never be regarded as a pass/fail test but instead as a quantitative way of informing judgment". (Treasury Taskforce Technical Note No. 5: How to construct a public sector comparator).

(21) Details of individual payments to Contractors under Private Finance Initiative contracts are usually regarded as commercially confidential. Aggregate figures of estimated payments under all Private Finance Initiative contracts for the years 2001–02 to 2025–26 were published in Table C18 of the Budget 2001 "Red Book".

(22) The value of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) contract and therefore that of outstanding payments, is entirely dependant on demand and so cannot be forecast with any greater accuracy. At this stage, before the Bureau has become fully operational, estimated cost savings cannot be calculated.

(23) It is unlikely that there will be any savings compared with the previous passport production operation. Following the passport problems of 1999, United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) embarked on a large number of initiatives to improve the service. These resulted in major changes to the system and associated hardware and the requirement of the PFI partners to increase all their resources to match capacity. The delay to the implementation of the system at all offices has delayed the income stream for both partners.

(24) A PSC was not calculated on the grounds that this was not necessary for projects which would not have gone ahead otherwise, because public sector capital provision was not available. The reasonableness of the bid was tested by comparing it with the nearest public sector example, ie the cost per place of local authority secure accommodation. The estimated cost saving has been calculated by deducting the Net Present Value (NPV) from the average of the PSCs for Rainsbrook and Hassockfield Secure Training Centres (STCs) (both 40 place STCs, similar to Medway).

(25) No PSC constructed. The directorate decided that it would be unrealistic to construct a conventional PSC. Detailed plans for a conventional solution were not available and the bids received proposed packages of risks, costs and benefits which were different from each other and from the ideas for a conventional solution which had emerged from a 1994 review by SEMA.

24 Oct 2001 : Column: 289W

Police Wildlife Liaison Officers

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those police forces with at least one wildlife liaison officer. [8005]

Mr. Denham: [holding answer 15 October 2001]: There is a widespread network of police wildlife liaison officers across police forces but it is for each force to determine how, and to what extent this work is undertaken. Every force has a wildlife liaison capability of some sort although this varies from force to force.

Work recently completed by the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime in July 2001 resulted in the publication of a "Directory of Information Sources" which lists police wildlife liaison officer contacts. Details are recorded for more than 500 officers from forces in England and Wales.

24 Oct 2001 : Column: 290W

Trenchard House

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make representations to the Metropolitan Police Authority to overturn their decision to sell off Trenchard House in Soho. [7938]

Mr. Denham: The decision to sell Trenchard House rests with the Metropolitan Policy Authority. I have no plans to make representations.

Airline Passengers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken at British airports to examine more closely the documentation of transit passengers into and out of the UK; and what guidance he gives relating to screening luggage of such passengers on arrival and departure. [7431]

Angela Eagle: Large numbers of passengers who transit the United Kingdom do not pass through United Kingdom immigration controls if they are proceeding without delay on a flight from the same airport.

24 Oct 2001 : Column: 291W

At times of heightened security airport authorities are required by aviation security directions to route all passengers through immigration controls. This happened for six days after the attacks on the United States of America on 11 September.

Those passengers who are transiting the United Kingdom but depart from another airport or the next day are presented to the United Kingdom immigration controls where they are examined by an immigration officer before being allowed into the United Kingdom.

That examination includes checking personal details against the immigration service warnings index. The warnings index computer system is the primary tool for providing information to staff operating the immigration entry control. All immigration service staff at control points have access to the warning index and portable equipment is available for use elsewhere when needed. All arriving non-European economic area (EEA) passengers are checked against the system.

Aviation security is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and I am advised that the Department does not require screening of incoming baggage on arrival in the United Kingdom. I am, however, advised that all airlines flying from the United Kingdom are directed to screen all departing baggage whether from any passenger transferring through a United Kingdom airport or an originating passenger. In addition, at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration, all passenger baggage on transit flights to the United States of America and Canada is screened at United Kingdom airports.

The Government are putting forward new legislation to counter the threat from international terrorism, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on Monday 15 October 2001, and are looking at the existing legislation on the collection of passenger information and the sharing of that information between the law enforcement agencies.

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