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Paul Goggins: The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) pilot evaluation report, Driving Crime DownDenying Criminals the Use of the Roads" highlighted inadequacies in the accuracy of various intelligence databases available to the Police Service. Not only does poor quality data lead to police time being wasted but it can also detract from the real aim of ANPR, which is to deny criminals the use of the roads.
Work is advancing to improve the timeliness of the Driving Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) databases that are used by ANPR. The DVLA will shortly have Criminal Justice Extranet (CJX) (this provides police forces with telephony, internet access and a secure extranet) accreditation to allow full electronic updating to police forces on a regular basis. In addition, bar coding of Vehicle Excise Licenses at point of issue and vehicle documentation registration improvements should further improve matters during the coming year.
Mr. Austin Mitchell:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of (a) the error rate and (b) the durability of (i) fingerprint
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identification, (ii) retina identification and (iii) facial mapping; and what assessment has been made of the effects of (A) age and (B) seasonal work on the accuracy of fingerprint identification. 
Andy Burnham: We have taken a number of steps to assess the accuracy of biometric readings: we have closely reviewed leading scientific evidence in the field; we have consulted biometric experts from academia and industry and we have sought to build on the experience and knowledge of other organisations, such as Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) and Communications-Electronic Securities Group (CESG).
With regard to the effects of age and durability of biometrics, the Home Office has consulted expert opinion which has concluded that fingerprint and iris biometrics do not generally change over long periods, once adulthood is reached. We have reviewed leading studies on facial mapping and continue to review the likely performance of future technologies in this field to make a more detailed judgment on its durability.
Some occupations cause damage to fingerprint biometrics and this may, in some instances, limit the ability of an individual to use this biometric. However, face and iris image biometrics would still be available for these people.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the citizenship tests will contain; who will sit them; and what will happen to an applicant who fails the citizenship test. 
Mr. McNulty: I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement of 15 June 2005, Official Report, column 14WS, which sets out the steps we are taking to introduce the requirement that all those applying for naturalisation will need to demonstrate knowledge of life in the United Kingdom. The statement also sets out the two ways in which prospective citizens can demonstrate their knowledge. A person who fails the test is advised to study the source material further before attempting it again.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government have commissioned research into the usefulness of citizenship tests in helping people to settle in the UK. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of computer (a) hacking, (b) fraud and (c) theft his Department recorded in each year since 200102; and for each year on how many occasions computer systems have been illegally accessed by computer hackers (i) within and (ii)outside his Department. 
Paul Goggins [holding answer 15 June 2005]: As has previously been announced, changes to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 will be required in order to implement the requirements of the European Union Framework Decision on Attacks Against Information Systems and the related provisions contained in the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention. These measures will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to reply to the letter of 14 January, from the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire, regarding the application of Edward Salmon of McDonald Drive in Irvine for a British passport. 
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reason was for the delay in the reply to the letter dated 29 October 2004 from the hon. Member for North Down in relation to the impact of immigration on security in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. McNulty: The delay in responding to the hon. Member's letter was not acceptable. It was received on 4 November by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's (IND) MP's Correspondence Section, whose responsibility is to allocate MP's letters to the appropriate part of IND to draft a reply. Unfortunately, the hon. Member's letter was then misallocated within the Home Office on a number of occasions and was also overlooked in one department for a number of months. Once the correct department had been identified, a draft reply was prepared immediately. Existing procedures have been streamlined and are being enforced, and more staff have been recruited, to ensure that this situation is not repeated.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer the letter dated 1 June 2005 from the hon. Member for Woking concerning Mr. Ahmed (references A581078/3 and PO7892/04). 
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to answer the letter to him dated 3 June from the hon. Member for North Down in relation to Mr. James Milsom Boland. 
[holding answer 30 June 2005]: My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Home Office, the member for Leigh (Andy Burnham) wrote to the hon. Member on 29 June 2005.
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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the average cost per year of a prisoner held in (a) PFI-funded and (b) non PFI-funded prisons in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Prior to 1 April 2003 costs for public and contracted prisons were not separated. In financial years 200102 and 200203 the average cost per prisoner for the whole prison system was £23,105 and £24,241 respectively. In 200304 the average cost per prisoner was £25,377 for contracted prisons and £25,718 for public sector prisons.
Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office Court Proceedings database is unable to distinguish offences of credit card fraud from other types of fraud, as the circumstances of individual offences are not collected centrally.
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