Previous Section Index Home Page

21 Mar 2005 : Column 586W—continued

Radio Frequencies

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of
21 Mar 2005 : Column 587W
(a) the effectiveness of Radio Frequency Identification projects and (b) their implications for (i) privacy and (ii)civil liberties. [220770]

Mr. Browne: The Home Office invested £5.5 million in launching the Chipping of Goods Initiative in March 2000. The UK was the first country in the world to embrace the use of Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) or 'electronic tagging' to deal with property crime.

The programme was led by the Police Scientific Development Branch and the Business Crime Team and was established as a result of the need to reduce the incidence and cost of property crime and to reduce the burden on police resources in tracing the ownership of stolen goods. It was also established to show the clear business benefits that can be gained from adopting such technology.

Case studies for each of eight demonstrator projects were carried out, each one showing how the business benefited from the use of RFID. Manufacturers, retailers, consumers, the police and other enforcement agencies will all benefit from the wider adoption of this technology.

The eight demonstrator projects are world class implementations and have already received five awards for technical excellence and outstanding achievement, including 'Retail Technology Team of the Year' and the 'European Supply Chain Solution of the Year'.

Within the Identity Cards programme there has been investigation of the capabilities of contactless smartcard interfaces. However there has been no investigation of Radio Frequency Identification technologies which imply the ability to communicate with devices at much greater distances, nor it is envisaged that this would ever form part of the requirements for the Identity Cards scheme.

Regional Offender Managers

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated staffing requirement for each of the regional offender managers is. [221579]

Paul Goggins: Regional Offender Managers will have a total of four staff working to them in the first instance. It is expected that as Regional Offender Managers' roles expand they will require further staff.

Turkish Cypriots

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Turkish Cypriots have been granted (a) an entry visa and (b) a work voucher for entry into the United Kingdom in each of the last three years. [221548]

Mr. Mullin: I have been asked to reply.

UKvisas does not hold statistics on the numbers of Turkish Cypriots who have applied for visas. However, entry clearance statistics on applications received at our visa issuing post in Nicosia in the last three years for which they are available can be found on the UKvisas website at—Entry Clearance: Facts and Figures".
21 Mar 2005 : Column 588W

Workers Registration Scheme

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long on average registration under the Workers Registration Scheme has taken since the scheme was introduced. [222337]

Mr. Browne: Since the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) was introduced on 1 May 2004 it has taken the WRS Team on average 10 calendar days to register each applicant.


Marine Pollution (County Down)

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions have taken place between his Department and (a) North Down borough council and (b) the National Trust in relation to tackling the sewage washed up at Orlock, County Down. [222932]

Mr. Spellar: The Chief Executive of Water Service (Mrs. Katharine Bryan) has been asked to write to the hon. Lady.

Letter from Mrs. Katharine Bryan to Lady Hermon, dated 18 March 2005:

Parades Commission Chairman

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what official appointments and posts are held by the current Chairman of the Parades Commission. [222872]

Mr. Pearson: Sir Anthony Holland's public appointments are a matter of record and are listed prominently on, for example, the websites and publications of the Parades Commission and the Standards Board for England.

Police Service

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people applying to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) categorised as (a) Protestants, (b) Roman Catholics and (c) non-determined (i) have been regarded as suitably qualified, (ii) were suitably qualified but were unsuccessful and (iii) have been successfully recruited to the PSNI since its establishment. [221680]

21 Mar 2005 : Column 589W

Mr. Pearson: In PSNI Trainee Constable competitions, individuals are appointed from the pool of suitably qualified candidates at an equal ratio of those who are determined to be from a Catholic community background and those from a non-Catholic community background.

I am advised that, as at 28 January 2005, 3,243 candidates from a non-Catholic community background have reached the pool of suitably qualified candidates; of this number 2,427 have been unsuccessful and 816 have been appointed. For the same period, 1,089 candidates from a Catholic community background have reached the pool of suitably qualified candidates; of this number 279 have been unsuccessful and 810 have been appointed.

Of the 2,706 candidates deemed suitably qualified but not appointed, only 408 were rejected because of the policy of equal recruitment. The remaining 2,298 applicants would still have failed to be appointed had the temporary 50:50 provisions not been applied.

The appointment process is ongoing and these figures remain subject to change.



Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has used funds (a) to provide alternative employment for workers previously employed in the poppy industry and (b) to purchase poppy crops in Afghanistan since 1997. [222196]

Mr. Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary if State for International Development gave him on 9 March 2005, Official Report, columns 1801–02W.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not, as part of its programme, purchased any poppy crops in Afghanistan.

Department for International Development activity in this area forms part of the UK's support for the Afghan 2005 Counter Narcotics Implementation Plan, details of which are contained in my written statement of 10 March 2005, Official Report, columns 121–23WS.


Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action is being taken to conserve the historic huts used by the British explorers Scott and Shackleton in Antarctica; and if he will make a statement. [222491]

Mr. Rammell: As my right hon. and noble Friend the Minster of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean said on 11 October 2004, Official Report, column 6, in another place, New Zealand has territorial responsibility for the Scott and Shackleton huts located in the Ross Dependency in Antarctica. The British Government, through the British Antarctic Territory, provide an annual donation of £12,500 to the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, which in turn supports the conservation
21 Mar 2005 : Column 590W
of the Ross Island huts. In 2002, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, again through the British Antarctic Territory, donated £70,000 to support the proposed Ross Sea heritage restoration project to undertake major preservation work on the huts in question.

Next Section Index Home Page