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20 Jun 2005 : Column 757W—continued

Criminal Records Bureau Checks

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many care home staff are awaiting clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau; how many care home staff were awaiting clearance in each of the last 18 months; and if he will make a statement; [3976]

(2) what the average waiting time is for a check to be carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau; and if he will make a statement. [4031]

Andy Burnham: The information requested regarding care home staff is not available. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is unable to provide information on Disclosure applications based on specific employment
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sectors. The CRB is planning enhancements to the Disclosure application form which will enable greater analysis in the future.

Based on all applications issued in May 2005, the average waiting time expressed in days from receipt of a Disclosure application form to the issue of a Disclosure is 10.7 days for Standard Disclosures and 28.2 days for Enhanced Disclosures. This includes the time taken for applications that are returned to customers for further information. This provides an average waiting time of 26.3 days for all Disclosures issued in May 2005.

However, it is worth stating that the average waiting time for 95 per cent. of Standard Disclosures was 7.6days and 22 days for 95 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures, resulting in an average waiting time of 20.2days for 95 per cent. of all Disclosures, including the time spent with customers. The CRB has published service standards of issuing 93 per cent. of Standard Disclosures within two weeks and 90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures within four weeks. This service standard does not include the time taken for applications that are returned to customers.

The CRB has consistently achieved the service standard for Standard Disclosures. For Enhanced Disclosures, where an additional check is performed by local police forces for any relevant non-conviction information, the CRB has over recent months failed to achieve the service standard. For May 2005, the CRB issued 88.9 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures within four weeks.

The CRB and the Association of Chief Police Officers are continuing to work together to improve the timeliness of the work conducted within all local police force Disclosure Units.

Dispersal Orders

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many dispersal orders are in force; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of dispersal orders. [2728]

Hazel Blears: We do not normally collect information on the number of areas in which dispersal powers are currently authorised. It is estimated from a specific exercise undertaken last year that dispersal powers were authorised in over 400 areas between January 2004, when the powers came into force and September 2004. We are in close touch with practitioners from both police and local authorities who consider dispersal powers to be a key tool for tackling antisocial behaviour, often used in conjunction with other measures.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many dispersal orders have been issued to Tamworth residents since January 2004. [3908]

Hazel Blears: The chief constable of Staffordshire tells me that no dispersal orders have been issued as no area of Tamworth has been designated under Section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 since January 2004.
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Dr. Jerry Vlasak (Animal Rights)

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the proposed visit by animal rights activist Dr. Jerry Vlasak to the United Kingdom. [3696]

Paul Goggins: I have received no representations about Dr. Jerry Vlasak.


Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions for drink-driving resulted in custodial sentences in 2003, broken down by police authority. [2292]

Paul Goggins: Information taken from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database on convictions and custodial sentences for drink-driving offences by police force area in 2003 is given in the table.
Findings of guilt and immediate custodial sentences at all courts for offences of driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs by police force area, 2003
Number of offences

Police force areaFindings
of guilt
Immediate custody(11)
Avon and Somerset2,666167
Devon and Cornwall2,667121
Greater Manchester4,743437
London, City of2354
Metropolitan police12,621922
North Yorkshire1,19451
South Yorkshire2,089125
Thames Valley3,884159
West Mercia1,797100
West Midlands5,233420
West Yorkshire3,720260
Dyfed Powys99546
North Wales1,32676
South Wales2,840211
England and Wales93,7076,308

(11)Immediate Custody includes sentences of Detention and Training Order, Young Offender Institution and Unsuspended sentences of imprisonment.

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Election Offences

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police forces in England have dedicated teams responsible for investigating election offences; and if he will make a statement. [2736]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally.

EU Immigrants

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people from the new member states of the EU had registered to work in the UK on 1 June. [3629]

Mr. McNulty: The latest management information from the Worker Registration Scheme for the period 1 May 2004 to 31 March 2005 was published on the 26 May 2005. The total number of applicants to the scheme during this period was 176,000. The next set of figures, incorporating the second quarter of 2005 (April to June 2005) will be published in August 2005.

Fixed Penalty Notices

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total value was of fixed penalty notices handed out by the police in the Greater London area in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what percentage of this sum remains unrecovered. [2965]

Hazel Blears: The total value of fixed penalty notices issued is not collected centrally.

Human Trafficking

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his timetable is for adopting the European convention on trafficking in human beings; and if he will make a statement. [334]

Paul Goggins: The UK has not yet taken the decision on whether or not to sign the Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings and has no timetable for adoption at present. There are certain provisions in the convention which present concerns for the UK and which remain under active consideration. We want to resolve these issues before taking a decision on signature. We support fully all of the aims of the convention and we too want to see
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widespread action to tackle this abhorrent trade at source, to protect and support the victims and bring those responsible to justice.

During the UK's forthcoming presidency of the EU the Government intend to treat combating trafficking in human beings as one of their justice and home affairs priorities. We are committed to agreeing a wide ranging EU action plan before the end of 2005 and will jointly host with Eurojust a conference focusing on investigating and prosecuting traffickers. We are considering other ways of highlighting this issue during our presidencies of the G8 and EU, both at ministerial and official levels.

The Government are committed to tackling trafficking in human beings, domestically and internationally, and are determined that the measures we take bring the criminals responsible for it to justice, while protecting the victims of trafficking, but without undermining our ability to control our borders.

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to control the trafficking of human beings into the UK. [3863]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 13 June 2005]: The Government are committed to tackling trafficking in human beings and have a comprehensive strategy including legislation, law enforcement, prevention, international co-operation and support of victims. We provide £20 million annually to Reflex, the multi-agency task force which co-ordinates the law enforcement response to organised immigration crime including people trafficking. Reflex operations continue to result in the disruption of organised crime groups.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency, due to become operational in April 2006, will have a strong focus on tackling organised immigration crime.

We have made human trafficking a priority during our EU presidency. We want to encourage greater police co-operation through EUROPOL and the sharing of best practice on investigations and prosecutions.

To be truly effective, the Government have recognised that they must also tackle trafficking at the source. There are a range of schemes in source countries, involving FCO and DfID, aimed at raising awareness of trafficking. We are also involved in capacity building work in source and transit countries.

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