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14 Oct 2002 : Column 469W—continued


Dr. Spink asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many police sub-stations were open in each constabulary in each of the last five years; [62365]

Mr. Denham: I refer the hon Member to the reply given to the hon Member for Maidenhead (Theresa May) on 22 July 2002, Official Report, column 829W on the number of functioning police stations in police forces in each year since 1997.

Information on how many stations are open 24 hours per day is not collected centrally.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average daily number of mobile traffic units operating radar guns in the Metropolitan Police area has been for the last 12 months for which figures are available. [31022]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Radar guns are a type of hand-held mobile speed detection device for use at the roadside. There are also laser devices used in the same way. The Government does not collect information about the use of such devices. The Metropolitan Police estimate that on any given day there are at least seven mobile hand-held speed detection devices for roadside use taken out in police patrol vehicles across London.

Substance Abuse

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding is available through his Department for (a) education on, and (b) prevention of, volatile substance abuse. [73372]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Information about the dangers of volatile substance abuse is provided as part of drug education in schools. This is funded by the Department of Health, for whom volatile substance abuse is also a priority. The Department will, however, be issuing #4.5 million in 2002–03 to support the delivery of Young People Substance Misuse Plans. These plans are developed by all Drug Action Teams to outline how services will be expanded so that all young people requiring drugs services receive them. This will incorporate education and prevention of volatile substance misuse.

Sangatte Protocol

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal immigrants have been returned to France since June 1997 under the terms of the Sangatte Protocol. [63189]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 20 June 2002]: An agreement was signed with France dated 20 April 1995 in relation to the taking back of passengers who are refused admission on arrival in the United Kingdom (Xthe 1995 Agreement").

That agreement covers, among other things, the arrival of persons through the Channel Tunnel and therefore has the effect of qualifying the Sangatte Protocol. But it also relates to passengers travelling between France and United Kingdom via the Channel ports. The 1995 Agreement provided that, in relation to asylum seekers, it would be superseded by the relevant provisions of the Dublin Convention once that Convention came into force. The Dublin Convention came into force on 1 September 1997. Therefore, from that dates in relation to those claiming asylum, the provisions of the Dublin Convention prevail in so far as that Convention determines which State is responsible for deciding the claim.

Figures for illegal entrants returned to France under the 1995 Agreement from June 1997 are not available, but locally collated management statistics from 2001 onwards indicate that, in 2001, 6,828 passengers who arrived at the port of Dover who did not claim asylum and did not qualify for entry to the United Kingdom, were returned to France under the 1995 Agreement. In the first quarter of 2002 that figure was 2,385.

Commonwealth Games (Policing Costs)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out his timetable for deciding whether further special grants will be paid to Greater Manchester Police in respect of the cost of policing the Commonwealth Games. [41411]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 8 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 14 May 2002, Official Report, column 603W.

Entitlement Identity Card

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the efficacy of computer technology in matching fingerprints. [72119]

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Mr. Denham: With the introduction of the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS), all of the fingerprint bureaux of England and Wales now have the ability to access, store and search national databases of both Xten-prints" from arrestees and marks from scenes of crime. The ability to automate the processing of fingerprints is a huge efficiency gain for the Police Service, where previously this was an extremely labour intensive process.

While the main advantage of NAFIS is speed of search, human expertise is still required. At the forefront of fingerprint detection is the multi-disciplined team of photographers, biologists and chemists who are tasked to enhance the retrieval of fingerprint at crime scenes, and the fingerprint Officers who verify matches and make the identification of marks from scenes of crime.

Response times using NAFIS have meant that arresting officers can now definitively identify persons in custody and associate them with any previous criminal history, in under an hour. Scenes of crime mark searching have equally benefited from the introduction of NAFIS and it is possible for fingerprint bureaux to obtain the responses to searches against the entire National database in under an hour.

Trunk Radio Systems

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the possible health implications of the use of the Terrestrial Trunk Radio Systems within the airwave network; and what reports he studied in order to reach conclusions from his assessment. [23182]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 17 December 2001]: British Telecom operate the Terrestrial Trunk Radio (TETRA) systems that form part of the infrastructure which supports the Airwave network. Network operators in the United Kingdom are obliged by law to ensure that all of their installations are compliant with Health and Safety legislation. This legislation is enacted to ensure that all workers and members of the public are protected, in line with National Radiological Protection Board recommendations. There are no unique features of the TETRA systems used in support of the Airwave network that would require special assessment.

The Home Office takes an active interest in Airwave health and safety issues and is sponsoring a programme of work to address the recommendations of independent scientific experts. These recommendations relate to the mobile radio part of the nextwork, which uses TETRA technology. Details of this work are available on the Home Office website.

Security Industry Authority

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Security Industry Authority will enforce training standards for (a) door supervisors, (b) wheel clampers and (c) other sectors within the security industry. [58172]

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Mr. Denham: We expect that training and competency standards for door supervisors and wheel-clampers will be published in April 2003, with those for other sectors following at later dates. Enforcement of those standards will begin with the introduction of personal licensing on a phased basis from late 2003.

Performance Targets

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 49W, on performance targets, if he will list the targets set since May 1997, including the new and revised versions of those targets amended; which have been achieved; what the target date is for each target; and if he will make a statement.[44477]

Beverley Hughes: Tables detailing the target set since May 1997 in the 1998 and 2000 spending reviews (SR) respectively have been placed in the Library.

Public Service Agreement Targets were set in the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review and the 2000 Spending Review. These targets, and performance against them, are published every year in the Home Office annual reports and are available routinely on the Home Office website. Progress made in 2001–02 will be reported to Parliament in this year's Annual Report.


Southern Africa (Food Needs)

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department, in liaison with other donors, is doing to address long-term food security needs in Southern Africa; and if she will make a statement. [69474]

Clare Short: DFID has committed #14 million to help agricultural recovery in the coming maize season in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Jointly with other donors, we are providing sector assistance for agriculture in Malawi and Mozambique. We are also supporting work by the Southern Africa Development Community to facilitate analysis and understanding of food security in the region, to improve national capacity for vulnerability assessment, and to reduce contraints to intra-regional trade in food. ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

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