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5 Jun 2003 : Column 560W—continued

Police

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those police forces which operate anti-gun crime initiatives similar to Operation Trident in the Metropolitan police; and what funding is available in each case. [109599]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Anti-gun crime initiatives similar to Operation Trident in the Metropolitan police are being run by the following police forces:


General grants for policing are available to be used at the police authority's discretion. Forces deciding to run operations similar to Trident will fund them from resources available to them.

Prisons

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the star system for measuring the performance of prisons was introduced; what criteria it employs; and if he will make a statement. [109521]

Paul Goggins: The Director General of the Prison Service announced the introduction of a performance rating system for establishments in England and Wales on 8 April 2003.

All establishments will be assessed on a performance scale of 1 to 4, with level 4 for a prison delivering exceptionally high performance and level 1 indicating a poor performer. The ratings will be published on the Prison Service website for the first time at the end of June 2003.

PerformanceLevelCriteria
4Exceptionally high performing, consistently meeting or exceeding targets, no significant operating problems, achieving significantly more than similar establishments with similar resources.
3Meeting the majority of targets, experiencing no significant problems in doing so, delivering a reasonable and decent regime.
2Basically stable, secure and providing a limited but decent regime; experiencing significant problems in meeting targets and/or experiencing major operational problems.
1Failing to provide secure, ordered, or decent regimes and/or has significant shortfalls against the majority of key targets.

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The Director General will make the assessment for public sector establishments, in consultation with Directors and Area Managers.

The Commissioner for Correctional Services will make the assessment for contracted prisons. Assessment will be reviewed quarterly and are based upon a range of factors:


The rating system supports a new Benchmarking programme, which introduces new ways to recognise and reward the best prisons and arrangements to improve performance in all others.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Department has taken to publicise its Public Service Agreement targets; and at what cost to public funds. [114448]

Mr. Blunkett: The Department's Public Service Agreement targets were first publicised in the Treasury White Paper "2002 Spending Review: Public Service Agreement Targets 2003—2006" (Cm5571). Since then, the new targets have appeared in a range of Home Office publications (for example, the 'Targets Delivery Report', Cm5754) and on the Department's website. Publicising the Department's targets was not the principal purpose of any of these publications; it had no measurable impact on cost.

Radiocommunications

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many of the Terrestrial Trunk Radio (TETRA) base stations required to provide full national radio coverage (a) have not yet found a site acceptable to landowners, (b) have yet to be subject to a planning application, (c) have been refused planning permission, (d) are proposed to be located in an area with a landscape planning dispensation, (e) are subject to a planning appeal and (f) have been subject to the upholding of a refusal to grant planning approval following an appeal; [114598]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: About 3,000 TETRA base stations will be required to provide the police with an effective radio communications service across the Country. However, the total number of sites required to support the Airwave service has not yet been finalised and it is anticipated that many base stations will use existing facilities and not require new masts.

Acquisition of suitable site facilities is a matter for mm02, the main Airwave service provider. They have indicated to us that they do not maintain statistics on sites not yet found acceptable to landowners. In addition they have yet to start planning procedures for around 1,200 base stations. Owing to uncertainties in the network planning, particularly for Scotland where the roll-out is not due to take place before the last quarter of 2004 figures on the number of sites which have been refused planning permission or that will be located in an area with landscape planning dispensation are not available.

The mm02 have also advised us that the number of pending appeals is currently of the order of 10 and the number of lost appeals in the order of five. These figures compare very favourably with those for mobile phone networks, where the number of controversial sites is expected to be around five per cent of the total.

Stranraer and Cairnryan

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to which locations individuals making asylum applications at Stranraer and Cairnryan ports have been removed, and in what numbers, in each year since 1 January 2000. [115829]

Beverley Hughes: From 1 January 2000 to 30 November 2002—179 asylum applications have been made at the Port of Stranraer and Cairnryan. Of these applications three have been granted exceptional leave to remain and 63 have so far been removed.

The remaining cases are outstanding. Of those removed not all have been removed to their country of origin. Some have been removed to the country where they had a previous opportunity to seek asylum.

Sustainable Development

Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which United Kingom commitments arising from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (a) have been incorporated into the Department's existing delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreements and (b) will be incorporated in its delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreement in advance of the 2004 Spending Review. [113876]

Mr. Blunkett: The Home Office does not have a lead or a contributory responsibility for any of the main United Kingdom commitments arising from the World Summit on Sustainable Development. We will continue to monitor developments and be prepared to contribute should it become appropriate to do so.

The Department does contribute towards sustainable development through the objectives and targets set by the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate. The Framework covers issues such as the implementation of environmental management

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systems, transport emission reductions, water consumption, energy management, waste minimisation, sustainable procurement, biodiversity and estate management.

In common with the Department's other support activities, these are not incorporated in the Service Delivery Agreement (Cm 5754) which addresses activities to deliver the Department's Public Service Agreement targets, which were published in July 2002.

TRANSPORT

Vehicle Licences

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate how many vehicle owners do not have a licence for their vehicle; what his estimate is of the loss of revenue for the last financial year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [116317]

Mr. Jamieson: The National Roadside Survey of vehicle excise duty (VED) evasion held in June 2002 showed that there were approximately 1.75 million vehicles evading VED. There are currently over 30 million licensed vehicles.

The survey indicated the level of evasion as 4.5 per cent. of revenue due which equates to £193 million in 2002–03. This was offset by £110 million in fines, penalties and relicensing revenue recovered through enforcement activities, which brought 819,000 offenders to book.

A range of measures were announced on 22 May to modernise the vehicle registration system. These are designed to improve the accuracy of the vehicle register, help local authorities tackle abandoned vehicles, and reduce vehicle crime as well and reduce VED evasion.

We intend to bring forward secondary legislation to implement powers taken in the 2002 Finance Act to ensure that from 1 January 2004 the registered keeper of a vehicle will be liable for licensing the vehicle until it is notified as sold, scrapped, stolen or exported, or unless a current Statutory Off-Road Notification has been declared to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Under the same powers we will bring forward secondary legislation to provide for a new automatic fixed penalty for those who fail to re-license (tax) on time.

The new measures aim to provide greater protection to honest motorists.

Starting in January 2004:


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To support these measures:



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