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5 Apr 2005 : Column 1385W—continued


Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been
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(a) charged and (b) prosecuted for using (i) over-wide and (ii) over-long caravans on roads in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [222999]

Ms Blears [holding answer 18 March 2005]: It is not possible to separately identify offences relating to vehicle limit lengths on the Home Office Court Proceeding database.

Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Office and that for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is for checking the ownership of caravans used by Travellers. [223000]

Ms Blears [holding answer 18 March 2005]: The Home Office does not have a policy specifically to check whether caravans used by Travellers are stolen. Where caravan theft is an issue of local concern, police forces are able to draw on guidance jointly produced by the Association of Chief Police Officers and bodies representing the interests of caravan users.

CCTV (North Tyneside)

Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications his Department has received from North Tyneside council for funding for CCTV cameras since 1997; what the result was of each application; and how many applications are outstanding. [220936]

Ms Blears: Under rounds 1 and 2 of the Crime Reduction Programme, a national competitive bidding process which ran from 1999 to 2003, North Tyneside did not receive any funding.

Under subsequent funding streams, North Tyneside received:

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Under the Building Safer Communities and Basic Command Unit funds, no CCTV projects were planned by the North Tyneside Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) in either 2003–04 or 2004–05. The CDRP is currently determining its plans for 2005–06.

Christmas Cards

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many hours of staff time were taken up in preparation of Christmas cards in 2004; [205106]

(2) how many departmental staff have responsibility for preparing Christmas cards; [205107]

(3) what percentage of official departmental Christmas cards included a contribution to charity in their cost; and which charities benefited from such a contributions; [205108]

(4) what the cost of postage was for official departmental Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; [205109]

(5) what the cost was of purchasing official departmental Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; [205110]

(6) how many official Christmas cards were sent out by his Department in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. [205111]

Fiona Mactaggart: 20,000 official departmental Christmas cards were purchased in 2003 at a cost of £11,750. The original price quoted was £13,630 but because of poor printing quality we were able to negotiate this down. In 2004, 20,270 cards were purchased at a cost of £14,380.47. In both years all cards were sold in aid of Victim Support with 10p per card being donated. The cards are used by the Department's senior managers and sent to external contacts. The information on staff preparation, time and numbers, as well as postage costs is delegated locally and not held centrally. To obtain this information would incur disproportionate costs.

Civil Servants

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff were working for each directorate of the National Offender Management Service on 11 February; and where they are based. [220517]

Paul Goggins: Staff numbers for 11 February 2005 are not available. However, on 22 November 2004, the following full-time equivalent posts were located in each National Offenders Management Service (NOMS) Directorate:
DirectorateFull-time equivalents
Standards and Innovation69.2
National Offender Manager17.0

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In addition, the following full-time equivalent posts were located in units that were working for NOMS headquarters but were not attached to a NOMS headquarters directorate:
Full-time equivalents
Chief Executive's Office7.0
NOMS Programme Office12.0
Office for Contracted Prisons66.0
HR Sub-Programme3.0

The posts in the HR Sub-Programme were based in the Prison Service Headquarters. All of the other posts were based in NOMS headquarters.

Community Support Officers

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many community support officers there have been in (a) the South Tyneside Area Command and (b) Northumbria in each year since their inception. [222553]

Ms Blears: The first community support officers (CSOs) were introduced into Northumbria in 2003–04. I am informed by the Chief Constable that the first deployment of CSOs to the South Tyneside Area was on 10 January when six were allocated to the area. South Tyneside should have 11 CSOs by 1 April.

The table sets out the number of CSOs for the Northumbria police.
Number of community support officers
31 March 2004(14)51
14 February 2005(15)77

(14)Source Police Strength statistics collected by Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
(15)Collection made outside of the normal quarterly collection of police strength data.


Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter dated 13 September 2004 from the hon. Member for Brent, East regarding Mrs. Helen Adumekwe. [215633]

Ms Blears: Unfortunately, there was no record of the hon. Member's letter being received in the Home Office. We have since obtained a copy and I shall reply shortly.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 25 February from the hon. Member for Northavon regarding a visa application by a constituent, Mr. Swaine. [221403]

Mr. Browne [holding answer 14 March 2004]: I wrote to the hon. Member on 5 April 2005.

Credit Card Fraud

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Chip and PIN cards in preventing credit card fraud. [222133]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 16 March 2005]: Chip and PIN is a major finance and retail industry anti-fraud initiative. The introduction of Chip and PIN has been managed by the Chip and PIN Programme Management Organisation, and actively supported by Government.

Following a successful public trial, national roll out of the scheme began in October 2003 with the aim that by 2005 a majority of plastic card transactions should be Chip and PIN. The Chip and PIN programme announced in January that it reached all its 2004 targets for the roll out with customer research demonstrating that 71 per cent. of cardholders expect their next transaction to be Chip and PIN and 45 per cent. now using it for all or most of their card payments.

It is currently too early to assess the effects of Chip and PIN in preventing credit card fraud. The impact of Chip and PIN on card fraud is expected to be seen early in 2005 and hence will first be reflected in the APACS mid-year card fraud figures to June 2005, which will be available in the summer.

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of current efforts to reduce internet based 'card-not-present' credit card fraud. [222134]

Ms Blears [holding answer 16 March 2005]: The Government works with the police and industry to tackle fraud and other online crime through a number of initiatives. A key factor in dealing with online fraud is prevention and education and the Government takes an active role in educating computer users about the risks of fraud committed through the internet. The Home Office website provides advice on avoiding internet fraud and the Home Office has also created, and maintains the 'e-tailing mini site', which forms part of the crime reduction website. The mini site provides information to help both businesses and consumers protect themselves specifically when using the internet.

The Home Office is represented on an industry-led Steering Group which aims to tackle 'Card Not Present' (CNP) fraud (which includes fraud over the internet). We support practical measures being introduced by the industry to increase levels of security for internet transactions. These include Address Verification Services (AVS) and Card Security Code (CSC), which inform merchants' decisions on whether to proceed with an order. AVS/CSC can provide immediate results, with APACS reporting that some merchants have reduced their fraud levels by up to 80 per cent. Card schemes MasterCard and Visa have also introduced the 3D Secure system, known as MasterCard Secure Code or Verified by Visa, which requires password verification for internet transactions. The work of the CNP Steering Group has also led to the production of a manual (Spot and Stop Card Fraud Retailer Pack) which aims to educate merchants on the dangers of CNP fraud and the steps which can be taken to prevent it.

Government are also involved in the development of Project Endurance, an initiative which will launch a computer and internet security public awareness campaign this year. The project is an alliance of public and private sector, which brings together a number of UK Government departments and law enforcement
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organisations with a number of high-profile private sector companies. This campaign is to be targeted at micro businesses and consumers, primarily aimed at helping these users gain confidence in using the internet, and protect themselves and their computer while online.

The Association for Payment Clearing Services (a banking industry body) considers that the recently announced increase in card not present fraud shows growth only in proportion to the increasing number of businesses now offering non face-to-face transactions, in particular over the internet.

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