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Credit Card Fraud

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to tackle debit and credit card fraud. [15124]

Mr. Denham: The Government take the problem of card fraud very seriously and are currently working closely with the finance and retail sectors and the police to establish and promote best practice in protecting cards and introduce ways of preventing this type of fraud.

One major initiative is the planned introduction of microchips into payment cards to help authentication and the introduction of cardholder verification system using a Personal Identification Number (PIN) code in place of signatures to confirm the user is genuine. This commitment to phase in Chip and PIN was given at the third Home Office seminar on reducing cheque and credit card fraud in July. The banking industry anticipates that the phasing in of Chip and PIN technology by the end of 2004 will eliminate more than 80 per cent. of plastic card fraud.

Another initiative currently being considered is the setting up of a pilot dedicated joint police and industry national cheque and plastic card fraud squad.

In addition to this a working group of police and officials has been set up to consider ways of improving the response to all types of fraud.

Data Retention

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Horrocks report on data retention; and when it will be published. [13645]

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Mr. Denham: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Allan) on 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 849W.

Women Prisoners (Pregnancies)

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many women prisoners had a termination to a pregnancy during 2000; [15672]

Beverley Hughes: Information about stillbirths and miscarriages is not available. In 1998–99, the last year for which the relevant data were collected centrally, 17 women prisoners were reported as having been referred for a termination.

Metropolitan Police

(Without Prejudice Payments)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the Metropolitan police paid out, in the latest year for which figures are available, by way of without prejudice payments to individuals who had lodged a complaint against the force; how many individuals received payment; what was the highest payment made; and what was the average payment made. [15188]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 15 November 2001]: The Commissioner informs me that in 2000–01 £2,318,000 was paid by the Metropolitan Police Service as payments without prejudice in response to 220 civil actions or threatened actions against alleged police malpractice. As an action may involve more than one individual it is not possible to give the exact number of individuals that received payment. The highest payment was £200,000 and the average payment was £13,962.

Under-age Drinking/Antisocial Behaviour

Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) Confiscation of Alcohol (Young Persons) Act 1997 and (b) Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 on (i) under-age drinking and (ii) antisocial behaviour; and if he will make a statement. [15330]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Confiscation of Alcohol (Young Persons) Act 1997 gives the police important powers to confiscate alcohol from under-age drinkers in public places. The view of the Association of Chief Police Officers is that these powers have proved to be effective in helping the police to combat disorder and nuisance arising from alcohol consumption by young people in public places. The law was further strengthened by the Licensing (Young Persons) Act 2000, which tightened the position relating to the sale and purchase of alcohol to or on behalf of persons under 18.

The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 includes important new provisions relating to under-age drinking. It will place a duty on retailers to take positive steps to ensure that customers are 18 or over, and it will give the police and trading standards officers the power to undertake test purchasing, using minors, to enforce the

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law against the sale of alcohol to under 18s. We expect these provisions, which we are planning to bring into effect on 1 December 2001, to go further in restricting young people's access to alcohol, which so often leads on to antisocial behaviour.

In addition, sections 12 to 16 of the 2001 Act, which came into effect on 1 September, provide local authorities with an adoptive power to designate public places where it will become an offence to continue to drink alcohol after being warned by a police officer not to do so. This adoptive power replaces, and builds on, the model Home Office byelaw which was adopted by 113 local authorities to restrict antisocial drinking in public places.

Drug Dealers (Seized Assets)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the value was of the assets seized from convicted drug dealers in England and Wales in each of the last five years. [15838]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The receipts realised from confiscation orders in England and Wales made in respect of legislation for drug trafficking offences under the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 and the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 for the last five years for which figures are available is as follows:


Traffic Penalties

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of his consultation on road traffic penalties. [14326]

Mr. Denham: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Rendel) on 31 October 2001, Official Report, column 728W.

Atomic Energy Police Force

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers in the atomic energy constabulary are licensed to use firearms; and what conditions apply to their use of firearms beyond licensed nuclear facilities. [14689]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

The UKAEA Constabulary (UKAEAC) currently has 365 authorised firearms officers. UKAEAC adheres to national standards in the performance of its duties in relation to the carriage and use of firearms both on and off licensed nuclear facilities. Such standards are set out in the UKAEAC instruction manual on the use of firearms which complies fully with guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers of England and Wales, and Scotland.

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IT Management

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the total expenditure on IT management in the NHS Executive in each of the last five financial years. [9403]

Ms Blears [holding answer 22 October 2001]: The policy directorates of the national health service executive all had some interest in information technology management either for central data collection and processing or to support policy initiatives. The overall information management and technology policy was co-ordinated by the information policy unit and before that the information management group. The total expenditure however across the whole NHS executive was not separately collected.

Perinatal Services

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many intensive care perinatal beds there were in each health authority, in each of the past 10 years. [9767]

Ms Blears: Information on the overall number of critical care beds is available in the Library and is available on the Department's website: hospitalactivity. Data on the number of perinatal intensive care beds are not collected.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1241W, how many hospitals have received new radiotherapy equipment in the last two years paid for out of direct NHS funds. [11062]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 29 October 2001]: Information held centrally identifies 19 national health service trusts that have taken delivery of radiotherapy equipment (linear accelerators and simulators) over the past two years excluding those linear accelerators funded by the New Opportunities Fund. NHS trusts may purchase equipment through the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency; however it is not mandatory for NHS trusts to use NHS PASA and the relevant purchasing information in these instances would not be captured. In addition to this, some NHS trusts will have purchased other radiotherapy equipment for which comprehensive information is not available centrally.

Between 2000 and 2003 the Treasury Capital Modernisation Fund will fund at least 40 treatment planning systems and 24 simulators for radiotherapy provision.

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