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11 Dec 2003 : Column 615W—continued

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been provided with accommodation at public expense in (a) Hampshire and (b) Basingstoke and Deane borough council in each year since 1997; what type of accommodation they were given; and what the nature of the tenancy was in each case. [143139]

Beverley Hughes: The information is not available in the form requested.

Figures in respect of asylum seekers in receipt of accommodation support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) are published at the end of each quarter by local authority area.

Figures for the areas requested as at the end of each quarter since December 2002 are shown in the table:

Statistics on the number of asylum seekers supported by NASS in each region are available on the Home Office's Immigration and Asylum Statistics website:

Numbers in NASS accommodation as at end
Unitary/LocalauthorityDecember 2002March 2003June2003September 2003


Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department will reply to the letter of 16 September from the hon. Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey regarding a constituent, Mr. Dennis Spalding, and his son John Spalding, ref DL2252. [140706]

Paul Goggins: I wrote to my hon. Friend on 27 November 2003.

DNA Database

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals on the national DNA database have not been convicted of a criminal offence; and what criteria are used to determine who should be on the database. [142174]

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Ms Blears: Section 63 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, as amended, provides powers for taking DNA samples from a person in police detention in the following circumstances:

Section 82 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 amends section 64 of PACE and allows the retention of a DNA profile where the person has either been acquitted or against whom charges have been dropped. There are approximately 109,000 such profiles.

In addition, DNA profiles may also be retained from people who have voluntarily given a DNA sample and who have given their written consent to the profile being added to the National DNA Database. This will principally include people who have taken part in an intelligence screening exercise where an offender is believed to live in a particular area. There are approximately 10,500 such profiles.

Female Offenders

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what analysis his Department has undertaken into the variation of sentencing penalties for female offenders imposed by (a) Crown Courts and (b) magistrates courts; [142292]

Paul Goggins: "Statistics on women and the CJS" (published annually under section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991) provides information on the treatment of women across the criminal justice system. It includes a comparison of trends in custody rates at magistrates courts and the Crown Court, for both males and females. Figures on use of imprisonment for adult males and females are provided broken down by offence type as well as court. The next section 95 report containing 2002 data will be published in January 2004.

Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 2001 Supplementary Tables Volume 4 Table S4.1E provides regional sentencing indicators for females in magistrates courts. Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 2001 Supplementary Tables Volume 2 table S2.2 provides figures for females sentenced at each Crown Court centre by type of sentence imposed. Figures for 2002 will be published later this month.

Forensic Science Service

Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a breakdown of the capital investment needs of the Forensic Science Service identified in the Home Office review of the service. [142193]

Ms Blears: The Review of the Forensic Science Service identified a capital requirement of between £20 million and £30 million in order to sustain business

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at its present level. The review team did not undertake a detailed study of the service's capital investment needs, which would be necessary to determine more precise figures.

Identity Cards

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department of the introduction of compulsory identity cards. [142653]

Beverley Hughes: The Home Office has lead responsibility for developing the national identity cards scheme, which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 11 November. A national identity cards scheme will bring significant benefits in areas that are the responsibility of the Home Office. These include strengthening immigration controls, providing a means to encourage legal routes of migration to the United Kingdom, combating organised crime and terrorism and reducing identity fraud. The national identity cards scheme will be built incrementally by strengthening existing forms of identification, some of which are currently issued by the Home Office or one of its agencies such as residence permits and passports.

Immigration and Detention Centres

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines he has issued in relation to racist language and behaviour to staff at immigration and detention centres run by the Home Office and its agents; if he will publish them; and if he will make a statement. [143582]

Beverley Hughes: Under Rule 3(2) of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 operators of removal centres are required to recognise the need for awareness of the particular anxieties to which detained persons may be subject and the sensitivity that this will require, especially when handling issues of cultural diversity.

The contract to operate Yarlswood Immigration Removal Centre, in common with other such contracts, requires the centre operator to have a race relations policy approved by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. In addition, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate issued an Operating Standard on Race Relations to all removal centre operators in December 2002. This Standard sets out the minimum requirements expected of all removal centre operators. Copies of the two documents will be placed in the House Library.

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will investigate allegations of (a) racism and (b) misconduct among staff at the Yarlswood Detention Centre; and if he will make a statement. [143583]

Beverley Hughes: We take these allegations very seriously indeed. It is obviously of the utmost importance that staff at immigration removal centres should carry out their duties professionally and sensitively. Our contractor at Yarlswood Immigration Removal Centre, Global Solutions Ltd. (GSL—formerly Group 4), has launched a full investigation into the allegations. The investigation will be conducted by a senior manager with no line management responsibility

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for Yarlswood. I have instructed the Director General of the IND to institute an independent investigation of the allegations.

Leicestershire Police

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he next intends to meet the Chief Constable of Leicestershire police. [142924]

Ms Blears: The Home Secretary meets the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary at regular intervals in his capacity as the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) representative on the Lawrence Steering Group. The next meetings are scheduled for Wednesday 25 February and Wednesday 26 May 2004.

IRA Terrorism

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on which dates terrorist incidents ascribed to the IRA have taken place in England since 1973. [142754]

Mr. Blunkett: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

The table that has been placed in the Library details the number of incidents in Great Britain ascribed to Irish Republican terrorists on a yearly basis since 1973. Incidents include bomb attacks (including letter bombs), finds of improvised explosive devices, arrests and shooting incidents in Great Britain attributed to all Republican terrorist groups (OIRA, PIRA, RIRA, INLA). All incidents occurred in England except those that are indicated otherwise.

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