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13 Jan 2004 : Column 657W—continued

Drug Crime

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent reports his Department has evaluated on methods to reduce drug crime. [146753]

Caroline Flint: As part of the Criminal Justice Interventions Programme, the Government keep the evidence on effective means of tackling drug related crime (both in the UK and abroad) under constant review.

The Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate has, in the past, undertaken evaluations of initiatives designed to reduce drug related crime, and research reports relating to Drug Testing (and Drug Treatment and Testing Orders), Arrest Referral and prisoners' drug treatment have been published by the Department over the past two years.

Forensic Science Service

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the Forensic Science Service is contracted out to private operators. [146537]

Ms Blears: The Forensic Science Service (FSS) does not contract out work undertaken in provision of forensic science services to the police service and law enforcement agencies to private operators. The FSS uses private operators solely for the supply of non-scientific support services unrelated to forensic sciences.

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department where, and for how long, DNA samples are held by the Forensic Science Service. [146203]

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Ms Blears: Retention periods depend on the purpose for which the sample was taken, and are as follows:

In all cases samples are either stored by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) laboratory that dealt with the case or in the FSS central archive in Birmingham.

Gun Crime

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of gun crimes was drug-related in the last year for which figures are available. [146833]

Caroline Flint: Statistics on the proportion of gun crime which is drugs-related are not collected centrally.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) cautioned and (b) prosecuted for possession of (i) unlicensed firearms and (ii) shotguns in each of the last five years; in how many instances in each case the offence was limited to possession and not connected with the weapon's use in other crimes; and how many cases related to failure to renew the appropriate certificate. [147397]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 12 January 2004]: The available information is given in the following table. The statistics collected centrally do not enable those offences limited to possession to be distinguished from those connected with the weapon's use in other offences. Nor is it known how many cases related to failure to renew the appropriate certificate.

Persons cautioned and those proceeded against for possession of unlicensed firearms, England and Wales

Possession of unlicensedfirearmsPossession of unlicensedshotgun
Persons cautionedPersons proceeded againstPersons cautionedPersons proceeded against
2000149(9)272242 (9)109

(9) Excludes figures for Staffordshire.

Statistics for 2003 will be published in the autumn.

Identity Cards

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what expenditure has been allocated for the (a) assessment and (b) introduction of identity cards in each year from 2003–04 to 2007–08; and if he will make a statement. [146009]

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Fiona Mactaggart: In the current financial year, the Home Office budget for work on identity cards, which also includes work on shorter term measures to counter identity fraud, is £2.5 million.

Our current best estimates for the three year set-up costs for a scheme are £36 million, £60 million and £90 million. The timing of this expenditure will depend on Parliament's approval of legislation.

IT Contracts

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list information technology contracts in his Department with a value of above £20 million in each of the last 10 years; what the

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inception date for each system was; when it became fully functional; when it became fully debugged; and what the cost of over-runs has been. [146195]

Mr. Blunkett: I am unable to provide the hon. Member with a complete answer as central records are not held on the information sought, and to obtain the requested information in the time given would incur disproportionate cost.

I am, however, able to provide the following information on information technology contracts let within the last 10 years originally valued at over £20 million by the Home Office and its Agencies (Prison Service, Forensic Science Service and UK Passport Service):

ContractInception dateFully functional
1. National Probation Service Information Systems Strategy (NPSIS): implementation of IT infrastructure and casement management applications. Expired.1994Infrastructure roll out substantially complete in 2001–2002.
2. NPSIS (National Probation Service Information Systems Strategy): implementation of IT infrastructure and case management applications.October 2001Infrastructure service handover December 2001, upgrade schedule for completion mid 2004.
3. Core Home Office infrastructure implementation and services (HOITS)?expired.August 1994November 1994
4. Sirius: successor to HOITS infrastructure services and applications (notably correspondence handling, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and electronic data records management (EDRMS).October 2000Infrastructure service handover February 2001, correspondence handling complete, ERP and EDRMS in progress.
5. Quantum: Prison Service infrastructure services and applicationsFebruary 2000Infrastructure roll out completed mid 2003, application under redevelopment.
6. Casework Programme: Immigration Service infrastructure services and case management system.April 1996Infrastructure service operational. Main casement application failed and superseded.
7. PASS(10): UK Passport service passport management service.October 1998End 1999
8. CRB(10): Criminal Records Bureau, application management, records checking and disclosure certificate generation services.August 2000High level disclosure service started March 2002, low level disclosures pending.

(10) Business service contracts underpinned by IT systems

M6 Toll Road

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who polices the M6 Toll Road; and who is meeting the cost. [146992]

Caroline Flint: The M6 Toll Road is policed by the Central Motorway police group (CMPG), which comprises officers from Staffordshire police, Warwickshire police, West Midlands police, and the West Mercia Constabulary. The cost is met from normal police funds.

Merseyside Crime

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what issues have been specified by Merseyside police as affecting the incidence of (a) domestic burglary, (b) vehicle crime and (c) robbery in their local plan. [146266]

Ms Blears: Merseyside Police's Annual Policing Plan 2003–04 sets out how the force will enhance the use of the National Intelligence Model to target criminals and their networks whose operations have a direct impact on volume crime (burglary, vehicle crime and violent crime, including robbery). Lessons from the street crime initiative have been applied to tackling burglary and vehicle crime. Increased use of police powers to stop and search and targeting known offenders have had a positive impact on both burglary and vehicle crime on Merseyside. In addition, the implementation of new burglary packs issued to officers attending reported burglaries and extra work undertaken by crime scene investigators have contributed to improved performance. Feedback from user satisfaction surveys has also enabled the force to tailor its response to communities' needs.

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