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26 Jan 2004 : Column 236W—continued

Sexual Offenders

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which steps are being taken to avoid offenders on the sexual offenders register (a) absconding and (b) changing their names without informing the police; [149680]

Paul Goggins: The requirement for sex offenders to notify the police of their name and address was introduced in the Sex Offenders Act 1997 and has proved an invaluable tool in helping the police to monitor convicted sex offenders within their area. An offender who is subject to the notification requirements must inform the police within 14 days of using a new name or moving to a new address. A failure to comply with the requirements is a criminal offence, with the maximum punishment set at five years imprisonment. We estimate that compliance with the requirements is currently around 97 per cent.

We are improving the notification requirements through the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Once the Act comes into force, relevant offenders will have to go to their local police station at least once every 12 months to confirm that the details held by the police are correct. They will also have to provide the police with their

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national insurance number and notify any change to their name or address within three days, rather than the current 14 days.

The Sexual Offences Act also includes a new power which will enable the information notified by registered sex offenders to be regularly checked against information held by the Department of Work and Pensions, the UK Passport Service and the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency. The purpose of this is to verify that the information notified by relevant offenders is correct and this will help to identify more quickly those cases where an offender assumes a new name or address without telling the police or where an offender absconds.

Sex offenders who are subject to the notification requirements will also:

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many offenders on the sexual offenders register resident in (a) Cambridgeshire and (b) Huntingdon are classed by the police to be low risk; [149682]

Paul Goggins: On 15 September 2003 I made a Written Statement to the House announcing the publication of the 2002–03 Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Annual Reports, copies of which I placed in the Library of the House. Each of the 42 Areas of England and Wales publish a MAPPA Annual Report and this year's contain a more detailed breakdown of the number of sexual and violent offenders in each area and some of the outcomes of multi-agency public protection work. Cambridgeshire's

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MAPPA report stated that there were 282 registered offenders in the area on 31 March 2003. Statistics are not available for each town in the county.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary has informed me that 42 per cent. of registered sex offenders in the county are classed as "low risk". In line with other police areas, the offenders classed as "very high risk" are visited at least once a month; those classed as "high risk", at least once every two months; those classed as "medium risk", at least once every six months and those classed as "low risk", at least once every 12 months.

Small Businesses

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department uses a database of individual small businesses for consultation purposes. [142476]

Fiona Mactaggart: Yes, the Home Office has used the small firms database supplied by the Small Business Service twice


Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much revenue the Metropolitan Police received from the operation of (a) speed and (b) red light cameras in 2002; and how much was (i) imposed and (ii) collected in fines resulting from (A) speed and (B) red light cameras in London in each of the last five years. [149795]

Caroline Flint: The amount of revenue which the Metropolitan Police received from the operation of safety (speed and red light) cameras in 2002 is not yet known. Police forces receive income from safety camera fixed penalties under the provisions of the national safety camera netting-off scheme. The London Safety Camera Partnership, of which the Metropolitan Police are a member, joined the scheme in July 2002. Partnership performance and revenue received, from this time up to March 2003, will be detailed in the next report on the progress of the national safety camera scheme. The Department for Transport, which manages the scheme, expect to publish this report in March 2004.

Before 2002, the Metropolitan Police received no income from safety the number of speeding and red-light offences detected by cameras in the Metropolitan and City of London Police areas and the estimated revenue for the five years up to 2001 is shown in the table. Information for 2002 will be available in the next few months.

Fixed penalty and court proceedings data for speeding and traffic light offences detected by cameras(64) , (65) , (66) in the Metropolitan Police District (including city of London), 1997–2001

Fixed PenaltiesCourt Proceedings
Offence and yearNumber of ticketsEstimated revenue (£)Number of finesTotal amount of fine (£)Average fine (£)
Speeding offences(65)
Traffic light offences(66)

(64) Automatic cameras until 1998, all camera types from 1999.

(65) Offences under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and The Motor Vehicles (Speed Limits on Motorways) Regulations 1973.

(66) Offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1994.


1. Paid i.e. no further action.

2. Estimate based on £40 fixed penalty charge to October 2000. From November 2000 the penalty was raised to £60.

3. Estimates were made to cover the loss of fixed penalty data by the Metropolitan Police for October 1999.

4. Excludes City of London

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Widows and Widowers

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) widows and (b) widowers have been widowed in such a way that an inquest has been required in each of the years 1997 to 2002. [145978]

Paul Goggins: This information is not collected centrally.

The number of inquests held in each year from 1997 to 2002 is contained in Table 3 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin "Deaths reported to coroners, England and Wales, 2002", a copy of which is in the Library. It is not possible to deduce from this table the proportion of deceased persons represented by those inquests who would have left a widow or widower.

Women Prisoners

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to reduce the number of women held on remand. [142892]

Paul Goggins: The significant increase in the female prison population, and the wider consequences of this in terms of disruption to their families, particularly their children, underlines the importance of using custody as a last resort.

The Women's Offending Reduction Programme (WORP) is a three-year programme that aims to promote a more focused and joined-up response to the range of factors that have an impact on why women offend.

A long-term aim of the WORP is to reduce the number of women in custody. We are particularly concerned about the 58 per cent. of women held on remand who do not go on to receive a custodial sentence. This is why the WORP focuses on the need to maximise the opportunities for diversion at the pre-sentence stage.

Gender specific training and guidance for sentencers, court report writers and bail information staff will be supported by the development of more appropriate community interventions that are better tailored to meet the needs of women, particularly those with mental health and substance misuse problems. Ensuring appropriate housing or bail hostel provision for women will also be key to reducing the use of remand. The

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potential for diversion is likely to be increased by improving the court's confidence in available community provision.

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