Previous Section Index Home Page

27 Jan 2005 : Column 474W—continued

Identity Cards and Passports (Forgery)

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals deported from this country have been found to be in possession of forged identity cards in the last 12 months. [207328]

Mr. Browne: We do not record centrally whether individuals removed or deported from the UK possessed forged identity cards on arrival or when detected.

The total number of individuals in the UK found to be in possession of forged identity documents in the 12 months leading up to the end of November 2004, is approximately 10,700, of whom approximately 1,600 were in possession of forged European identity cards. These statistics are based on internal management information, as such information is not published routinely within the official statistics.

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals with forged passports have been arrested or detained in the last three years by (a) Customs and Immigration officers and (b) the police. [207485]

Mr. Browne: The border agencies take the abuse of travel documents seriously and pursue prosecutions whenever possible.

Individuals who provide forged documents can be arrested and detained either by the UK Immigration Service or the police.

Unfortunately the collation of the recorded crime statistics means that it is not possible to separately identify these specific offences which are recorded together with other forgery offences.

Locally collated management information indicates that 215 people were arrested at Heathrow and Gatwick in 2004 for forgery and counterfeiting offences.
27 Jan 2005 : Column 475W


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances would individuals, who are not British citizens, who have received custodial sentences for crimes committed in the UK, not be deported; and if he will make a statement. [208943]

Mr. Browne: Each case is decided on its individual merits. Where there has been a recommendation by the Court for deportation, there is a presumption that, save in the most exceptional circumstances, the recommendation will be enforced. All cases, including those whose deportation is considered to be conducive to the public good, are considered under the provisions of paragraph 364 of HC 395 Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules". This includes age, length of residence and strength of connections in the United Kingdom, personal history, domestic circumstances, previous criminal record, compassionate circumstances and any representations received. Should any one or a combination of these factors outweigh the public interest, deportation would not proceed.

Justice and Home Affairs Council

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the Government's priorities for the Justice and Home Affairs Council during the United Kingdom's Presidency of the European Union will be; and if he will make a statement. [209560]

Caroline Flint: During 2005 the UK will work closely with Luxembourg as current Presidency and with Austria and Finland (whose Presidencies follow ours) to take forward the inherited agenda and handle any new proposals that may be introduced by the Commission or Member States in the JHA Council. Work will continue on the implementation and evaluation of the Tampere agenda, and begin on the new multi-annual work programme (the Hague Programme") which will take forward the development of an area of freedom, security and justice. In line with the Hague Programme, priority will also be given to developing a coherent external dimension of this work through enhanced cooperation with third countries, groups of countries and regions. The Council is expected to receive proposals on the instruments for Freedom, Security and Justice in the context of the Financial Perspective 2007–2013.

A copy of the UK—Luxembourg Operational Programme" (AOP), with details on JHA priorities during 2005 can be found in the Library of the House.

We will work to deliver on the commitments contained in the Action plan on Combating Terrorism, and on the new EU Action Plan on Drugs for the period 2005–2007 (likely to be adopted during the Luxembourg Presidency). We will also continue to develop judicial co-operation in both criminal and civil areas.

On asylum and immigration, key priorities include strengthening the external border; improving the security of travel documents, including the incorporation of biometricidentifiers; improving the EU's performance on readmission agreements; helping countries or origin and transit improve their capacity for migration and refugee protection; and developing best practice in the area of integration.
27 Jan 2005 : Column 476W

On law enforcement, key priorities will be to maximise practical, operationally focused criminal intelligence exchange between Member States, including through Europol, and to step up the co-ordination of investigation and prosecution by Member States of serious crime, making best use of Eurojust. The Council will also focus its work on further measures to be taken in the implementation of the EU Millennium Strategy to combat organised crime, and the fight against organised crime in general.

National Offender Management Service

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the blueprint for the National Offender Management Service was approved by the National Offender Management Service Board before it was presented to the Prime Minister on 18 November. [209386]

Paul Goggins: The proposals for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and how they would lead to a reduction in re-offending was agreed across Government, including with the Prime Minister.

Parliamentary Questions

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what target his Department sets for the maximum acceptable time to respond in full to a parliamentary question; and what percentage of answers given by his Department failed to meet this target in each parliamentary session from 1997–98 to 2003–04. [202563]

Fiona Mactaggart: Departments aim to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and to endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. Unfortunately, this is not always possible but this Department makes every effort to achieve these timescales.

The Home Office does not maintain historic records in a way that enables it to provide all the information in the format requested. The Department has recently introduced a new PQ system, the electronic parliamentary Questions System (ePQS) to better monitor and manage the Department's performance.

Figures obtained from the Home Office Annual reports show that the number of questions answered that failed to meet Departmental targets were 54 per cent. in 2000–01, 61 per cent. in 2001–02 and 63 per cent. in 2002–03. Figures prior to this are not available.


David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what forms passport applicants receive in application packs as part of the UK Passport Service's Personal Identification Project; and what forms applicants are required to complete as part of their application. [209447]

Mr. Browne: A copy of the forms were dispatched to the right hon. Member on 19 January. Two forms are issued as part of the Personal Identification Project.(PIP) the main standard form and the PIP discretionary supplementary form.
27 Jan 2005 : Column 477W

Police Equipment (Tetra)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is his Department's policy to use the precautionary principle with reference to the use of Tetra-based equipment by police officers; and if he will make a statement. [210269]

Caroline Flint: No hazard to health associated with the use of Tetra- based equipment has been identified. However, as recommended by the 2000 Stewart Report (Mobile Phones and Health,), we have taken a precautionary approach to the use of Tetra technology. A report by independent experts was commissioned, and we have taken forward their recommendations. We have stipulated that low power equipment is used. We have also put in place a comprehensive programme of research as part of our continuing commitment to providing the police service with a modern communication system that is safe, secure, efficient and effective.

Next Section Index Home Page