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17 Nov 2004 : Column 1592W—continued

National Offender Management Service

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) role, (b) function and (c) salaries of regional offender managers in the National Offender Management Service will be. [197001]

Paul Goggins: The regional offender managers will play a pivotal role in driving forward the major reforms in the way offenders are managed both in prison and by the Probation Service.

In particular they will ensure that offender management is central to the work of both services. We intend that by 2006–07 they will:

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The salaries of the regional offender managers were advertised at £62,400 to £83,384, with the possibility of higher pay for exceptional candidates.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were refused naturalisation in 2003 on the good character grounds. [196357]

Mr. Browne: 885 1 persons were refused naturalisation on the good character grounds in 2003.

Further information on all areas of citizenship can be found in the statistical bulletin "Persons Granted British Citizenship United Kingdom, 2003". This publication can be found on the Home Office website at

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance has been issued on what good character means in the context of the naturalisation process. [196358]

Mr. Browne: Comprehensive guidance on good character is included in Chapter 18, Annex D, of the Nationality Instructions which have been deposited in the Library and which may also be accessed via the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's website at

A summary of the guidance is included in "Naturalisation as a British Citizen—A Guide for Applicants" which accompanies the application form for naturalisation. This too may be accessed on the website.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the guidance given in respect of naturalisation of citizens states that a motoring offence may affect the question of character. [196359]

Mr. Browne: The guide which is sent to applicants for naturalisation states that if the applicant has a criminal conviction which is not yet spent the application is unlikely to succeed. The guide makes clear that all unspent criminal convictions, including convictions in respect of road traffic offences, must be declared.

Anne Picking: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when hon. Members will be eligible to be designated persons in supporting naturalisation applications. [195888]

Mr. Browne: I have written to representatives of all the parliamentary parties represented in this House for their views as to whether hon. Members would favour taking on this function, and will consider their responses before making a decision.

North Yorkshire Police Authority

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been employed in the North Yorkshire police authority area in each year since 1997. [198791]

Ms Blears: The information is set out in the table.
Year (as at
31 March)
Police officer numbers(44)Police (support) staff numbers(44)

(44) Data provided by Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate (RDS).
(45) 31 August.
(46) August 2004 data was collected separately outside of the normal data collection arrangements and has not been subject to the same validation as RDS data.
(47) Not available.

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Number Recognition Cameras

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding his Department is providing in 2003–04 for the installation of number recognition cameras. [153385]

Caroline Flint: The Home Office has not provided funding specifically for the installation of cameras for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) in the 2003–04 financial year. Any such investment in this area would have been for individual police forces to decide and possibly in conjunction with local partnerships. Home Office intends to make £15 million of Capital funding available to police forces in England and Wales to improve their existing ANPR capability. This will fall within the 2005–06 financial year.

Overseas Corruption

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many scoping studies are being undertaken into allegations of overseas corruption. [197961]

Caroline Flint: We are not aware of any scoping studies currently under way into allegations of overseas corruption.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 3 November, Official Report, column 302W, on overseas corruption, what the sources were of other allegations; and if he will make a statement. [198007]

Caroline Flint: The breakdown of the sources of other allegations that answered on 3 November at Column 302W is as follows:
Home Office2
Department for Trade and Industry2
Metropolitan police1
Ministry of Defence police5
City of London police1
Serious Fraud Office2

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It should be noted that the reporting agencies above were those which informed the National Criminal Intelligence Service of the alleged offences and not necessarily the originating source.

People Trafficking

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many cases of trafficking of people were reported to his Department in each of the last three years; [196008]

(2) how many cases of illegal trafficking of women from Moldova were reported to his Department (a) last year and (b) within the last six months. [196009]

Mr. Browne: Until the recent introduction of legislation specifically criminalising trafficking, prosecutions for trafficking have been for a variety of associated offences. These include amongst others facilitation of illegal entry, kidnap, false imprisonment and living off immoral earnings. The UK keeps detailed statistics on all court proceedings in a national database and publishes these on an annual basis. While information on convictions for all these offences is available, it is not possible to determine which of the prosecutions for associated offences related to cases of trafficking.

We have recently introduced legislation to criminalise trafficking comprehensively. We introduced an offence of trafficking for prostitution in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. This was replaced by more wide-ranging offences of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. A new offence, of "trafficking for exploitation", which includes, for example, trafficking for forced labour and the removal of organs, has also been included in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. All these offences carry a tough 14 year maximum sentence. We are starting to see charges brought for the offences in the 2002 Act and 2003 Act but are not yet aware of any successful prosecutions.

We are committed to supporting effective enforcement action against trafficking. Reflex, a multi-agency taskforce, was set up in 2000 to deal with organised immigration crime, including trafficking. Its remit is to co-ordinate the enforcement response to such issues, both nationally and internationally, and to develop the intelligence and strategic planning to underpin this.

We are seeing successful disruptions and prosecutions of cases of human trafficking including cases which have involved women trafficked from Moldova. In February 2004 three people were convicted of offences relating to the trafficking of women from Moldova and Lithuania to work in the London vice trade. The principal defendant was convicted of controlling prostitutes and false imprisonment and sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Another example is the case of Luan Plakici. Plakici was involved in the trafficking of women from Romania and Moldova into prostitution. He was convicted of facilitation of illegal entry, incitement to commit rape, false imprisonment and kidnapping in December 2003, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The Attorney
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General considered the sentence unduly lenient and appealed to the Court of Appeal. The court agreed and imposed a sentence of 23 years imprisonment.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals the Government is putting forward with regard to taking a more effective joint international approach to (a) illegal migration, (b) trafficking and smuggling of human beings and (c) other cross-border problems. [197686]

Mr. Browne: The UK recognises that illegal migration, trafficking and smuggling of human beings and other cross-border problems are international issues which require international solutions. Depending on the nature of specific problems, the Government takes action bilaterally, or within ED or International fora.

The Government are fully engaged with key EU and international partners in tackling illegal migration. Work in this field includes bilateral negotiations with key source countries for asylum applications and illegal immigrants as part of continued action to reduce illegal flows and tackling the criminals involved. There is also much work under way on illegal migration within the EU.

Within the current EU agenda this includes: the incorporation of biometrics into visas and EU nationals' passports; an EU Border Agency to co-ordinate member states joint action at the EU external borders; development of the Immigration Liaison Officers network and new databases to facilitate sharing of information. These different work strands will enable the EU to adopt a more intelligence-led, outcome-focussed policy towards illegal immigration. The Government supports the direction, which this work is taking, as set out in the new five-year work programme on Justice and Home Affairs (the "Hague Programme").

The Government continues to emphasise the importance of working with third countries to improve the management of migratory flows, addressing the factors that force people to leave their countries and preventing illegal immigration, including people smuggling and trafficking. This requires a coherent and comprehensive approach, working with source and transit countries and EU and bilateral action.

The Government have no current plans to put forward any new proposals in this area—existing measures need to be given time to bed down before new initiatives are put forward.

In 2000, we set up Reflex, a practical multi-agency taskforce to combat organised immigration crime, which includes people trafficking. It is funded by the Home Office and led by the National Crime Squad (NCS). It brings together the key agencies involved in combating organised immigration crime. From April 2003 -March 2004 there were 38 disruptions of criminal networks, and 38 convictions of smugglers and traffickers involved in organised immigration crime at level 3. This Financial year there have been 18 disruptions.

Upstream work is a key part of the Reflex strategy acknowledging that disruption will be most effective as close to source as possible. The expansion of an
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international network of Immigration Liaison Officers in countries that are considered to contain key nexus points for transit to the UK has been a key component of the Reflex strategy, alongside the development of overseas alliances.

In March the Government published a White Paper called "One Step Ahead: A 21st Century Strategy to Defeat Organised Crime". It contained proposals to create the Serious Organised Crime Agency, a powerful new agency bringing together the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), HMCE's investigation and intelligence work on serious drug trafficking and recovering criminal assets, and the Immigration Service's work on organised immigration crime. This Agency is due to be set up by April 2006, and will drive work forward with partners overseas to ensure that our efforts are co-ordinated across borders.

UK diplomatic posts currently hold over 120 UK law enforcement liaison officers who support domestic enforcement agencies by providing a focus for operational co-operation on organised crime. The new Serious Organised Crime Agency will join up NCIS and HMCE liaison networks to allow more co-ordinated working against the whole range of criminal threats to the UK.

The UK also continues to support the work of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Council of Europe and United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in their efforts to tackle trafficking in human beings and other organised international crime. The UK is currently contributing to the work on the Council of Europe's Convention against the Trafficking of Human Beings.

Through its Drugs and Crime Fund, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office funds a range of projects to help source and transit countries build their capacity to fight organised international crime

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action the Government are taking to tackle the trafficking of women and children into the UK. [197701]

Mr. Browne: The Government are committed to combating human trafficking effectively through legislation, effective enforcement action, support for victims of trafficking and prevention in source countries.

We have already introduced legislation comprehensively to criminalise trafficking. The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 made trafficking for the purposes of prostitution a specific offence for the first time. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced new more wide-ranging offences covering trafficking into, out of or within the UK for any form of sexual offence. We have now also introduced offences covering other forms of exploitation, for example, trafficking for forced labour and the removal of organs, in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. All these trafficking offences have a tough maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
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We are also working to tackle the criminal networks involved in people trafficking through Reflex, the multi-agency response to organised immigration crime. Its remit is to co-ordinate operations against organised immigration crime, including trafficking, and to develop the intelligence and strategic planning to underpin them. Between April 2003 and April 2004 Reflex resulted in 38 disruptions and 38 convictions for organised immigration crime, this figure includes those involved in human trafficking as well as people smuggling and related activities. The Reflex figures for the first six months of this year show a further 18 disruptions and over £1 million of assets seized.

We also recognise the importance of providing protection for the victims of trafficking in order to encourage them to co-operate with the authorities. The Government are therefore also working with the voluntary sector and law enforcement agencies to secure support for adult victims of trafficking. In March 2003, in conjunction with the voluntary sector, we launched a Home Office funded pilot scheme to provide safe accommodation and support for adult female victims of trafficking for the purposes of prostitution. Pending full evaluation of the pilot, the Home Office has agreed to continue funding the scheme during 2004–05. We will use the period up to April 2005 to consider in detail the evaluation evidence and to take decisions as to the type and extent of support needed in the future.

Our strategy also encompasses work with source countries to tackle the problem at its root and to build effective international action. The Department for International Development Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are funding prevention projects to educate potential victims of the dangers of trafficking, particularly for women and children, in source countries.

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