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24 Feb 2004 : Column 370W—continued


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the benchmark street price for cannabis used when calculating the value of seizures by his Department was in each of the last five years; what changes have been made to this figure in the last six months; and what the reasons for those changes were. [155559]

Caroline Flint: According to data collected by the National Criminal Intelligence Service the UK average street price for cannabis has been as follows over the last five years.

£ per ounce

As at DecemberHerbal CannabisCannabis Resin

In August 2003 the figures were £74 and £66. We are not aware of any other changes in recent months.


Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Manchester, Central dated (a) 16 September 2003 re: Mrs. MG, references PO14031/3 and G1057225/2 and (b) 29 October 2003 re: Mrs. FA, references 0/988549 and A544430. [154487]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 12 February 2004]: The information is as follows:

(a) I wrote to my hon. Friend on 12 February 2004.

(b) The Immigration and National Directorate (IND) wrote to my hon. Friend on 19 February.

Crime (Havering and Romford)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to reduce levels of youth crime in the London Borough of Havering. [154854]

Ms Blears: The Government are supporting a wide programme to tackle youth crime in all areas to prevent children being drawn into crime in the first place, with more targeted initiatives focusing on those young people most at risk, supported by effective youth justice interventions to reduce reoffending.

The programme in Havering sees a number of agencies, including the Youth Offending Team, the police, education, health, housing, community safety, and the youth service working together to reduce youth crime in the borough, by supporting a range of preventative and diversionary schemes. Specific programmes include the Positive Activities for Young People programme targeting young people during the school holidays; the London Connexions Truck which visits venues on a two-week basis to provide intensive

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outreach work with young people at risk; the introduction of a Youth Inclusion and Support Panel to target those eight to 13-year-olds most at risk of both offending and anti-social behaviour; a dedicated outreach worker to provide drugs awareness and education information to young people; and the local "U" Project, working with year 11 school leavers who are not in education, training or employment.

There is also a clear focus on reducing reoffending by young people, including through the expansion of the Intensive Supervisions and Surveillance Programme which is targeted at the more persistent young offenders in order to tackle their offending behaviour.

Crime and Disorder Partnerships

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the crime and disorder steering groups that include hon. Members; and if he will make a statement on the involvement of hon. Members on crime and disorder groups. [154314]

Ms Blears: We recognise that hon. and right hon. Members are in a unique position to reflect community concerns as a result of their dealings with their local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships.

At a national level, there are two key groups that engage Ministers, who are Members of this House and another place, and drive forward the Government's crime reduction agenda. These groups are CJS(CR) and my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister's regular stocktakes.

The Ministerial Committee on the Criminal Justice System Sub-Committee on Crime Reduction (CJS(CR)) oversees the Government's programme to reduce crime. In addition, the Prime Minister has regular stocktakes with Ministers, officials and stakeholders to consider the pressing issues relating to crime reduction.

Criminal Intelligence

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines his Department has issued to police forces on the use of (a) criminal pattern analysis and (b) comparative case analysis. [154635]

Ms Blears: No formal guidelines have been issued although research studies have been published relevant to this area.

The Department has supported the roll out of the National Intelligence Model and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has produced a set of minimum standards for the model. These were circulated to forces in 2003. The National Policing Plan expects forces to adopt the model to these minimum standards by April 2004. The standards include the creation of four intelligence products that inform the setting of local and force priorities and the making of tactical resourcing decisions. The four intelligence products are informed by nine analytical techniques, one of which is Crime Pattern Analysis (analysis of the criminal would form the basis of one of the model's intelligence products). The techniques are used by trained intelligence analysts operating at both Basic Commend Unit and force level.

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Crime Pattern Analysis informs Comparative Case Analysis. Comparative Case Analysis is a standard analytical technique of the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) of the National Crime and Operations Faculty at CENTREX. The technique is predominantly utilised for, and suited to, serious crime and a code of practice on Serious Crime Analysis Compliance is nearing completion.

Criminal Records

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many volunteers working in athletics have (a) applied for and (b) been approved by Criminal Records Bureau checks in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [154129]

Ms Blears: I am unable to answer the hon. Member's question about the number of applications submitted by volunteers working in athletics to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in each year since 1997 because the Bureau does not hold information in that format. Nor can I provide details of the number of applications from volunteers working in athletics that have been approved by the Criminal Records Bureau. It is outside of the remit of the Bureau to do so.

The Criminal Records Bureau will process an application that has been submitted for a pre-employment check on an individual and issue a Disclosure that may or may not contain details of criminal convictions or other information that might be pertinent to the position sought. The information is presented to an employer, who will make a decision on the applicant's suitability.

Hen Harriers

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for persecution of hen harriers in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years. [154728]

Ms Blears: Information collected centrally by the Home Office on court proceedings under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 does not enable the type of bird involved to be identified.

Identity Cards

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he will ensure that (a) human rights and (b) civil liberties will not be violated under the proposed identity card scheme. [155340]

Beverley Hughes: As set out in "Identity Cards: The Next Steps" (Cm 6020), data held on the National Identity Register will be basic identity information. Only Parliament would be able to change the statutory purposes of the scheme or the information that could be held by the scheme. Organisations using the National Identity Register to verify identity will not be able to get to other personal information, for instance health or tax records via the register.

Police and other organisations will not have routine access to data stored on the National Identity Register. Access would only be authorised in specific circumstances. Such access would be subject to legal and

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procedural safeguards and independent oversight. There will be no new power for the police to stop someone and demand to see their card.

Research suggests that a majority of people in minority ethnic communities overwhelmingly support the idea of a national identity card scheme and do not feel that the proposals would be discriminatory; however, we will continue to work with organisations like the Commission for Racial Equality to ensure this in practice.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he will ensure that the central register used in the identity card scheme will be more (a) accurate and (b) transparent than existing databases. [155342]

Beverley Hughes: The central register, the National Identity Register, will be built from scratch using information provided by individuals as they are issued with identity cards and will not rely on other sources of data that may have historical or other errors. However, before an entry is confirmed, it will be checked against other databases such as passports, driving licences and immigration records to establish a person's historical footprint. The register will also link each individual's record to biometric information that is unique to that person. This will help prevent multiple registrations and people's identities being stolen. The National Identity Register will therefore be a single, highly reliable record of a person's identity. By establishing in statute the National Identity Register, there will be transparency in the purposes of and in the data held by the scheme, which could only be changed by a decision of Parliament.

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