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29 Oct 2002 : Column 762W—continued

Home Detention Curfews

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change the home detention curfew period; and if he will make a statement. [78366]

Hilary Benn: On 5 February, Official Report, column 866W, the Government announced plans to lengthen the maximum curfew period from 60 to 90 days. Today we are presenting to Parliament an Order to enact that proposal. The Order will come into force on 16 December 2002, subject to the approval of both Houses. Eligible prisoners serving between eight months and under four years who pass a risk assessment will be released on Home Detention Curfew (HDC) to spend the latter part of their sentence at home for a period of up to 90 days depending on sentence length. There will

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be no change in the maximum curfew length for prisoners serving between three months and under eight months. They will continue to serve between 15 and up to 60 days on curfew. In all cases offenders not statutory excluded will be subject to a risk assessment and released on HDC only where it is safe to do so.

Under the HDC scheme prisoners serve the remainder of their custody period at home under electronic curfew usually from 7pm and 7am. At any one time we expect this measure will remove up to 600 prisoners from prison accommodation in addition to the 2,400 who are already on the scheme. The impact of these arrangements will be kept under close review.

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Illegal Entrants

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal immigrants who were suspected victims of trafficking have been deported from the UK in each of the past five years; from which countries they came; and if he will make a statement. [76788]

Beverley Hughes: The number of people removed as a result of illegal entry action in each of the past five years is given in the table. I regret that the information requested on those removed who were suspected victims of trafficking and the country from which they came is not available.

19971998199920002001(28)
Illegal entry action(28) 4,5405,5855,2256,1156,760
Of whom:
principal asylum applicants(29) 2,6053,0952,6152,8203,775
Of whom:
non-asylum cases1,9352,4852,6103,2902,985

(28) Figures for 2001 have been estimated.

(29) Persons who had sought asylum at some stage. Figures exclude 200 dependants of asylum seekers removed as a result of enforcement action in the period April to December 2001; data on the dependants of asylum seekers removed have only been collected since April 2001.


National Confiscation Agency

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much money, attained through the proceeds of corruption in developing countries, has been confiscated by the National Confiscation Agency each year since 1999; [75074]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: None. Since 1999, no sums have been realised by any of the criminal justice agencies from confiscation orders relating to corruption in developing countries. The Assets Recovery Agency, the body established under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to investigate and recover unlawfully held assets, will not commence operations until early in the new year.

I should add that the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 also brings forward the point at which assets may be restrained to the start of a criminal investigation. At present, restraint is only possible when proceedings have or are about to be instituted which may be too late to prevent assets from being dissipated. The international co-operation provisions of Part 11 of the Act will also enable co-operation to be provided without

the need to designate overseas authorities for assistance, enabling assistance to be given much more readily when cases arise.

In this context I should also note two new provisions which should assist in combating corruption in developing countries. Section 108 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 ensures that foreign agents are covered by the law on bribery and corruption. Section 109 extends UK jurisdiction in respect of acts committed abroad by UK nationals and bodies incorporated under UK law which would amount to corruption offences if committed here. These provisions were brought into force on 14 February 2002. The confiscation provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act will apply to these offences, following conviction of an offender where the offender has benefited from his conduct.

Arrangements exist for the UK to share sums realised on behalf of another jurisdiction following enforcement of an overseas confiscation order. As a general rule the maximum amount which can be shared with a requesting country is 50 per cent. of the sum realised once enforcement costs have been deducted. However, the UK is prepared in principle to return 100 per cent. (following deduction of recovery costs) of any assets that are the proceeds of corruption, and have been the subject of a confiscation order enforced in the UK courts.

In May 2002 a Department for International Development (DFID) conference was held to advise developing countries as to how they could seek assistance from the UK in investigating, freezing and confiscating assets of criminal origin which are believed to be located in the UK.

The UN Corruption Convention, currently under negotiation in Vienna, will also require all UN member states to address the issue of returning the proceeds of corruption to the country of origin. The UK Government is actively proposing, including in EU Common Position, that the UN Corruption Convention should favour the return of assets plundered from state funds by corrupt leaders.

Parent Abuse

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the policy pursued by his Department towards parents abused by their own children; [76889]

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Jacqui Smith: I have been asked to reply.

Incidents of abuse are of huge concern to the Government no matter what the source. As a civilised society we must have the determination to confront abuse wherever it occurs.

As part of our integrated approach to combating abuse we launched our guidance XNo Secrets" on the protection of vulnerable adults in March 2000. Local authorities and other authorities had to develop their own locally based codes of practice and ensure that they were developed and implemented by 31 October 2001.

The Department has had no discussions with groups representing parents who have been abused by their children.

People Trafficking

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many suspected victims of trafficking who have been deported have re-entered the UK in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [77335]

Beverley Hughes: I regret that the information requested on those removed as suspected victims of trafficking and the number who have re-entered the country is not available.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases his Department has granted leave to remain on an exceptional basis to victims of people trafficking in the last five years. [77383]

Beverley Hughes: I regret that the information requested is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case files.

Race Equality (Scotland)

Claire Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will bring forward the Commission for Racial Equality's draft statutory code of practice on the duty to promote race equality in Scotland. [78367]

Beverley Hughes: The Commission for Racial Equality's draft statutory Code of Practice on the duty to promote race equality in Scotland has today been laid before Parliament.

The statutory Code of Practice will offer practical guidance to public authorities in Scotland on how to meet their general and specific duties to promote race equality. Once the statutory Code of Practice is brought into effect it will be admissible in evidence in any legal action, and a court or tribunal should take relevant provisions of the Code of Practice into account.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Child Abduction Unit

Keith Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, if he will make a statement on the number of people in the Child Abduction Unit. [77370]

29 Oct 2002 : Column 766W

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Child Abduction Unit has, since 1992, operated from within the office of the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee. It has two full-time members of staff, a manager with seven years experience of this work and three additional staff to provide cover where necessary. A senior lawyer within the OS/PT office provides legal advice.


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