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Brian White: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his policy is towards using open source software; and what percentage is used in his Department. [69318]

Mr. Alexander: It is planned to publish the policy on the use of open source software within the UK Government in summer 2002. The Cabinet Office will implement this policy. A draft version of the policy went out to consultation between December 2001 and March 2002 and is available for viewing on Govtalk ( There are no statistics currently available on the percentage of open source software use in the Cabinet Office.

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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to strengthen the guidelines for judges for sentencing criminals. [57414]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 11 June 2002]: Sentencing is a matter for the judiciary. A review of the Sentencing Framework was established by the Home Secretary on 16 May 2000 and published its proposals on 5 July 2001. The review was asked to consider what principles should guide sentencing decisions and what type of disposal should be made available to the courts so as more effectively to reduce re-offending. Public consultation ended formally on 31 October 2001.

One of the recommendations of the review is for the creation of new, codified guidelines for the use of discretion in all criminal courts, and the establishment of a new body to draft the guidelines and be responsible for monitoring their application.

The Government are considering the options for taking this recommendation forward and will set out final proposals in a White Paper due for publication shortly.

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Violent Crimes

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent crimes were committed in each police authority area in each (a) month and (b) year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [66614]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 2 July 2002]: The available figures for recorded crime relate to quarter years from the beginning of 2000 to the end of March 2001, and are given in the table.

It should be noted that recorded violent crime is subject to changes in reporting and recording. For example, the 2001 British Crime Survey found that, over England and Wales as a whole, reporting to the police of common assault rose from 29 per cent. in 1999 to 39 per cent. in the year 2000. Also, the British Crime Survey has shown that, in England and Wales as a whole, the number of common assaults recorded in the survey decreased by 14 per cent. between the 1999 and 2000 calendar years, whereas common assaults recorded by the police increased by an estimated 9 per cent.

From April 2002 the Home Office has started collecting recorded crime data from the police on a monthly basis. These data will be made available in due course, although the format and frequency of publication has yet to be decided.

Number of violent crimes(17) recorded by police force area by quarter, from January 2000 to March 2001; with 2000–01 total

Police force areaJanuary 2000 to March 2000April 2000 to June 2000July 2000 to September 2000October 2000 to December 2000January 2001 to March 2001April 2000 to(18) March 2001
Avon and Somerset4,9734,5764,5835,2464,66619,071
Devon and Cornwall3,3503,3523,6773,2333,09313,355
Greater Manchester12,27813,65012,96412,51112,79951,924
London, City of138150159162134605
Metropolitan police(19)50,40852,54451,70849,90550,870205,027
North Yorkshire1,3371,4251,3561,2891,3035,373
South Yorkshire2,3382,3602,5142,6462,55710,077
Thames Valley2,0904,4274,4504,4804,59817,955
West Mercia2,2682,2162,0531,9042,5928,765
West Midlands13,67315,30315,66915,51315,81262,297
West Yorkshire5,4265,5825,6115,5715,57222,336
North Wales1,5451,6101,4851,3841,4485,927
South Wales3,4413,3783,6433,5443,69714,262
England and Wales total172,604185,640185,542180,553181,639733,374

(17) Violent crimes comprise offences of violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery.

(18) Financial year total.

(19) Some Metropolitan police areas were transferred to Surrey, Essex or Hertfordshire on 1 April 2000.

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Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people were (a) found guilty, (b) cautioned and (c) imprisoned for drugs offences in respect of (i) cannabis, (ii) amphetamines, (iii) LSD, (iv) cocaine, (v) ecstasy, (vi) heroin and (vii) crack in each year since 1981; [66667]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested on the number of drug seizures and the quantities seized by the police and Her Majesty's Customs is given in the Supplementary Tables volume of the annual Home Office Statistical Bulletin "Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics, United Kingdom". Information on people cautioned or found guilty (including custodial sentences) of drug offences is contained in the main publication volume. Copies of these volumes, together with the Area Tables volume, are available in the Library.

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in the United Kingdom aged (a) 34 years and younger and (b) 35 years and older are estimated to have taken (i) cannabis, (ii) amphetamines, (iii) LSD, (iv) cocaine, (v) ecstasy, (vi) heroin and (vii) crack. [66665]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The most up-to-date estimates currently available are from the 2000 British Crime Survey. Data are only available for England and Wales.

Table 1: Estimates of the number of 16 to 34-year-olds having ever used various drugs in their lifetime, in England and Wales in 2000

Best estimateLower estimateHigher estimate

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Table 2: Estimates of the number of 35 to 59-year-olds having ever used various drugs in their lifetime, in England and Wales in 2000

Best estimateLower estimateHigher estimate

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department succeeded in reducing access to drugs for those aged between 5 and 16 years between 1998 and 2001–02; and if he will make a statement. [66290]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 4 July 2002]: Results from the 2001 Survey of Drug use, Smoking, and Drinking among school children aged 11 to 15 years in England (published in a Statistical Press Notice by Department of Health on 15 March 2002) show that 42 per cent. have ever been offered at least one or more drugs.

A revised method of measuring the prevalence of drug use was introduced in 2001 and the questions used in 2001 provide new estimates of drug use and are not strictly comparable with results from previous years. The results from previous surveys are 34 per cent. in 1998, 35 per cent. in 1999, and 35 per cent. in 2000.

Information regarding younger children is not available centrally.

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