Paul Goggins: The Home Office and Probation Areas are working to improve public understanding and knowledge of community sentences and the benefits they can bring to society in terms both of reducing re-offending and payback to the community. A communications campaign through print and broadcast media aims to demonstrate that community sentences can be tough and demanding and involve offenders putting something back into the community. A national visibility scheme for community work is also in place.
The reparation marque 'Making Amends' identifies locations that have benefited from community work. In February/March, we will undertake a 'Clean Up' campaign whereby local people will be given the opportunity to have a direct say in what compulsory unpaid work is carried out by offenders as part of their community punishment. This initiative aims to improve public confidence in community penalties and make compulsory unpaid work by offenders more visible.
We will also aim to generate media coverage of the new community sentences created in the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including Custody Minus and the new generic community sentence as they come on stream.
In addition, Probation Areas are active members of Local Criminal Justice Boards and, as such, are working to raise confidence in all aspects of criminal justice, specifically with victims and minority ethnic communities.
|Average sentence length in months
(excluding life sentences)
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length of custodial sentences given to (a) females and (b) males convicted of theft was in the last period for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins: The average custodial sentence length imposed on females sentenced for offences of theft and handling stolen goods in England and Wales in 2003 was 3.3 months, and for males, 4.3 months.
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost per annum of supervising an individual on a curfew order with an electronic monitoring condition in England and Wales was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins [holding answer 10 January 2005]: In the financial year 200304, the average cost per annum of supervising an individual on a curfew order with an electronic monitoring requirement was £7,005 for those aged 16 and over and £8,886 for those aged 10 to 15.
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) sex offenders and (b) other offenders have absconded from (i) HMP Leyhill and (ii) HMP North Sea Camp since 1999. 
|2004 (to date)
|HMP North Sea Camp
|2004 (to date)
Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what review process applies to the use of anti-terrorism legislation; and if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of that legislation. 
Mr. Charles Clarke
[holding answer 16 December 2004]: The powers in both the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT) and the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCS) are subject to review processes. Section 126 of the Terrorism Act 2000 requires the Secretary of State to lay a report before Parliament on the working of the Terrorism Act at least once every 12 months. This report is produced by the independent reviewer, currently Lord Carlile, and considers whether the Act has been used fairly and properly during the reporting period, taking into account the need to ensure that there are effective powers to deal with terrorism and adequate safeguards for the individual.
11 Jan 2005 : Column 496W
Lord Carlile additionally produces separate reports on the Northern Ireland specific powers within the Terrorism Act and the part 4 detention provisions of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, in order to inform the annual renewal debates for those parts of the legislation.
In his most recent review of the Terrorism Act, published in April 2004, Lord Carlile concluded that overall the powers in the Act are necessary, that the provisions are functioning satisfactorily and that it continues to be fit for purpose. His latest report on part 7 of TACT, published in January 2004, recommended that the powers be renewed.
In his report on the operation of part 4 of the ATCS Act, published in February 2004, Lord Carlile concluded that the Secretary of State had certified persons as international terrorists only in appropriate cases and that he had exercised independent judgment in each case. He recommended that continuing scrutiny be given to possible alternatives to detention.
Additionally, the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act provided for a secondary review, of the Act as a whole, under section 122, to be conducted by a committee of Privy Councillors. This committee, chaired by Lord Newton, reported in December 2003.
On 25 February 2004 the Home Secretary published a response to the recommendations made within the Privy Counsellor Review in a discussion paper entitled "Counter Terrorism Powers: Reconciling Security and Liberty in an Open Society". Issues concerning the effectiveness of the ATCS Act raised by Lord Newton's committee were also debated in both the House of Commons, on the day of the above publication and the House of Lords on 4 March 2004.
As part of the discussion paper the Government launched a consultation process inviting contributions on the way forward on counter-terrorism measures over the longer term. The responses to that consultation exercise, together with the implications of the recent House of Lords judgment on the current ATCS Act part 4 powers, are currently under consideration and the Government have announced that they intend to bring forward their proposals early next year.
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the changes to UK law which would be required in order for the Government to be able to ratify the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000). 
Mr. Browne: The United Kingdom was involved in the drafting process of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons and was one of the first countries to sign the protocol. We are committed to its ratification.
The principal legislative requirement of the protocol is the criminalisation of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour and the removal of organs. We have introduced legislation to criminalise these forms of trafficking. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 includes offences covering trafficking into, within and
11 Jan 2005 : Column 497W
out of the United Kingdom, for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Offences covering trafficking for other forms of exploitation, including trafficking for the purposes of forced labour and removal of organs, are included in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004.
We consider that, taken together with existing United Kingdom law, these offences mean that we fully comply with our legislative obligations under the protocol. However, ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, is a pre-requisite to ratification of the protocol. We have identified a need for primary legislation to comply with the requirements of the Convention on the forfeiture of the instrumentalities of crime. Provision for this is included in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
Mr. Browne: The Home Office-funded POPPY Scheme is being independently evaluated. Funding for the scheme has been agreed until March 2005 pending the outcome of the evaluation. Decisions about future Home Office funding, capacity issues and entry criteria for the scheme will be taken in light of lessons learned since the pilot was established in March 2003 and evidence from the final evaluation report, which we expect to receive very shortly.
Mr. Browne: We have introduced legislation to criminalise trafficking comprehensively. Sections 57 to 59 of the Sexual Offences Act criminalise trafficking for sexual exploitation. These offences came into force on 1 May 2004. Trafficking for other forms of exploitation, including for forced labour and organ removal, are criminalised by section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Bill which came into force on 1 December 2004.
Data on numbers of prosecutions under these sections will be collected in the usual way and published in Home Office criminal statistics. Given that the offences came into effect recently, there is not any information yet held centrally about number of prosecutions.
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance has been issued on cases where trafficked children are appealing for exceptional leave to remain and there is evidence to suggest that they may be re-trafficked if returned to their country of origin. 
Mr. Browne: No specific guidance has been issued on cases where trafficked children are requesting permission to remain in the UK. The granting or refusal of leave to enter is governed by the immigration rules HC 395.
However, guidance is issued to caseworkers on the criteria for assessing asylum claims, humanitarian protection and discretionary leave. Any assessment of asylum or human rights claim will include consideration of the future risk an applicant will face if returned to their country of origin.
If there was evidence that care arrangements were seriously below the standard normally provided in the country concerned or that they were so inadequate that the child would face a serious risk of harm if returned, consideration would be given to abandoning enforcement action.
Where there was evidence that a child had been trafficked to the United Kingdom, very careful consideration would be given to the child's circumstances in its country of origin before enforcement action was pursued. Where it was considered that removal would place the child at risk of further harm or abuse, such action would be abandoned.