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1 Mar 2004 : Column 735W—continued

Child Poverty

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to achieve the Government's targets of (a) ending child poverty by 2020, (b) halving it by 2010 and (c) reducing it by a quarter by 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [154385]

Paul Goggins: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 12 February, Official Report, column 1590W.

Child Trafficking

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what resources are available under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to promote best practice in service provision for child victims of trafficking; [152342]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 26 February 2004]: The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduces offences covering trafficking for sexual exploitation, and will come into force in May 2004. No resources are available explicitly to promote best practice in service provision for child victims of trafficking. However, the Home Office has published a best practice toolkit for those who deal with illegal immigrants and the victims of trafficking. The toolkit will help those who come into contact with victims of child trafficking to identify and deal with them appropriately. The Immigration Service is also starting specialist training for around 600 operational members of staff nation-wide, which will have a positive impact on their ability to identify and assist trafficked children.

Correctional Service

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Prison Service will be meeting the Correctional Service Accreditation Panel to obtain advice on the extension of the FOR resettlement programme. [155344]

Paul Goggins: The Prison Service will be meeting with the Correctional Service Accreditation Panel from 15 to 19 March 2004. Decisions about the extension of the

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FOR (Focus on Resettlement) programme will be taken in the light of the advice provided and resourcing available.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his oral statement of 6 January, Official Report, columns 170–87, on Correctional Services, what definition he uses of contestability. [147353]

Paul Goggins: Contestability is the principle that best quality and best value for money in the supervision, punishment and care of offenders will be achieved through ensuring that all services are opened up to competition.

We aim to encourage the public, private, voluntary and 'not for profit' sectors to compete to provide services to offenders, both in prison and in the community, that are the most effective and efficient that can be provided. At the same time we want to encourage partnerships between different sectors to make sure that we make best use of the different strengths and qualities each can bring.

We intend to build on the successful experience of the Prison Service's market testing programme, which has demonstrated that public services can compete successfully with the private sector. We also want to maintain the impetus created by the Performance Improvement Programme which has led to dramatic improvements in regimes and cost at some of the most challenging public sector prisons.

Crime Victims

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the suitability of trusts as a means for victims to retain their eligibility for benefits after a compensation pay-out. [155347]

Paul Goggins: No such assessment has been made. I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to her on 26 January 2004, Official Report, column 202W.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis was for his decisions on the amounts to be levied on those guilty of victimless crimes to be used for compensation for victims of other crimes. [150779]

Paul Goggins: Few, if any crimes, are truly victimless. Many crimes perceived by some as victimless, such as drug dealing, fraud, vandalism and damage can blight the lives of people, create an unpleasant environment and impose a cost to society.

The proposed surcharge, ranging from £5 to £30, on criminal convictions and on fixed penalty notices for criminal offences is one of a series of proposals set out in the consultation paper 'Compensation and Support for Victims of Crime', published on 12 January 2004. The surcharge has been proposed at a level intended to encourage the maximum number of offenders to pay, and to be proportionate taken alongside the penalty imposed by the courts, or the fixed penalty notice.

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Estimates for the rates of payment with and without enforcement are based on existing data on collection of fixed penalty notices and financial penalties imposed by the courts, and calculations that informed the Courts Act 2003.

In the consultation paper, among other questions, we specifically invited views as to whether the suggested levels of the surcharge were right.

No decisions about the surcharge proposal, or any of the other proposals, will be taken until all the responses to the consultation exercise have been carefully analysed.

Crime/Disorder (Seaside Towns)

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the overall crime and disorder rates were for each ward in each principal seaside town of England and Wales in the latest month for which figures are available, listed in descending order according to level of crime and with figures for Welsh seaside towns disaggregated; and if he will make a statement. [154963]

Ms Blears [holding answer 23 February 2004]: Recorded crime statistics are collected centrally at Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) level. CDRPs were set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and are broadly Local Authority Areas. They include representatives from police, health, probation and other local agencies and provide strategies for reducing crime in the area. Figures for six key offence groups are collected at CDRP level. They are violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary in a dwelling, theft of a motor vehicle, and theft from a vehicle. There are currently 376 CDRPs in England and Wales.

Financial year figures for 2001–02 and 2002–03 for all CDRP areas, for six key offence groups are, available in Excel format on the Home Office Research Development Statistics website:

CDRP figures are not available on a monthly basis.

Detention and Training Orders

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances magistrates can impose a detention and training order on an offender aged 12 to 14 years who has been convicted of breaching an anti-social behaviour order. [150993]

Paul Goggins [pursuant to his reply, 9 February 2004, Official Report, c. 1256W]: It has come to my attention that the answer to the above question was not printed in full. I apologise for this and provide the full answer as follows.

A court sentencing an offender aged 12–14 for breach of an anti-social behaviour order can make a Detention and Training Order in the same circumstances as for other criminal offences attracting custody: That is, where:

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In addition, the court must have reached the view that the young person is a persistent offender.

Driving Offences

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the laws governing the sentencing of unlicensed drivers whose driving results in a fatality; and what plans he has to change the present laws. [156317]

Paul Goggins: Where a fatality results from a driving incident where the driver is believed to be at fault, the CPS will charge an appropriate offence such as causing death by dangerous driving or manslaughter. On 27 February the Government increased the penalty for three fatality offences—causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by careless driving when under influence of drink or drugs; aggravated vehicle-taking where, owing to the driving, a death results—from 10 to 14 years; and the maximum for manslaughter is life.

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