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19 Jul 2005 : Column 1609W—continued

Domestic Violence

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) men and (b) women have been (i) charged and (ii) convicted of offences relating to the making of false allegations concerning domestic violence in each of the last five calendar years. [12434]

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Fiona Mactaggart: Statistics on persons charged with an offence are not centrally collected. Neither is it possible to identify those defendants on the Home Office court proceedings database convicted of offences relating to the making of false allegations concerning domestic violence, as circumstances surrounding an offence are not collected.

Drug Rehabilitation

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-charitable organisations the Hertfordshire probation area administers for the provision of (a) drug treatment testing orders and (b) drug rehabilitation requirements. [11133]

Fiona Mactaggart: There are four non-charitable organisations involved with the provision of drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs)/drug rehabilitation requirements (DRRs) supervised by Hertfordshire probation area. These are all community drug and alcohol teams (CDATs), which deliver clinical services i.e.prescribing, clinical and psychiatric assessments to offenders on DTTOs/DRRs in Hertfordshire.

English Wine

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that English wine is made available at dinners, receptions and parties he hosts at which hospitality involving wine is appropriate (a) during the EU presidency and (b) generally; and if he will make a statement. [9160]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office has enquired into procuring English wine for events in the past, however it has proved to be more cost effective to continue to use a diverse range of wine. Our procurement is in line with the EC's procurement rules to obtain value for money for the Department and where possible British products are used.

Full-time Staff

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time equivalent staff there were in (a) Home Office Central, (b) the Prison Service, (c) the United Kingdom Passport Service, (d) the Forensic Science Service and (e) the Fire Service College in (i) 2000–01, (ii) 2001–02, (iii) 2002–03, (iv)2003–04 and (v) 2004–05. [12093]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The numbers of civil service staff on a full-time equivalent basis can be found in the following table. They are taken from the Home Office Departmental Report 2004–05 (Cm 6528).
Home Office Central13,20413,20414,90917,97619,316
Prison Service41,60942,05742,57044,43146,015
UK Passport Service1,6902,1322,8452,7362,772
Forensic Science Service1,4692,3762,5062,5702,399
Fire Service College(45)160(46)113

(45)Fire Service College ceased to be part of the Home Office following the machinery of Government changes of 8 June 2001.
(46)The figures given for 2001–02 are end-period FTE actuals. Other figures are calculated on a five quarter moving average.

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Identity Cards

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of times in a year (a) police, (b) security services and (c) tax officials will be provided with information from the national register associated with the identity card; and if he will make a statement. [13168]

Andy Burnham: Work has been conducted with the police, HM Revenue and Customs and the Security Service to identify their possible demand for verification requests and provision of information from the National Identity Register. These estimates have informed the development of the cost estimates published in the regulatory impact assessment on 25 May and the benefits overview published on 28 June. However these estimates remain under review as more detailed work with these organisations progresses and it would not be appropriate to publish them at this stage.

Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has evaluated on the impact of identity cards on tackling crime in countries which have identity cards. [4167]

Andy Burnham: Most countries with identity cards have had schemes in place for many years and they are therefore not in a position to evaluate the impact they have on crime. However, it is clear that schemes in other countries do help in the fight against crime, for example the Spanish police have stated that identifying nearly all of the terrorists involved in the Madrid bombings was made significantly easier by their identity cards scheme. Identity cards were also used to identify the victims of the bombings quickly.

Biometrics are being used to more strongly tie a verified identity to an individual. In this way, biometrics can be used along with an ID card to verify that identity against the record held for that card. Other forms of authentication, such as PIN numbers and passwords can be stolen along with a card so are much weaker at linking a person to an identity.

All the Schengen states will be required to use biometrics in passports under Council Regulation 2252/2004. Fingerprint biometrics (rather than just fingerprints) will be introduced within three years of adoption. Non- Schengen states may choose to follow the requirements, although they would not be bound by the timetable.

Other EU member states which issue identity cards are considering introducing biometrics to increase security and some, for example Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, already collect one of more fingerprints as part of their national identity card schemes.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost of equipping (a) the Prison Service and (b) other Home Office premises to which the public have access with identity card readers. [9754]

Andy Burnham: The Home Office has been working to identify areas where the identity cards scheme could provide business benefits. On 28 June 2005, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary placed in the Library a paper containing the latest estimates of benefits of the identity cards scheme which shows that the benefits
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outweigh the costs once the scheme is fully operational. In one area of Home Office business alone—the processing of Criminal Records Bureau disclosures—processing times could be cut from four weeks to three days.

The cost of equipping Prison Service and other Home Office premises will depend on the nature of the use of the identity cards scheme and the type of identity check(s) necessary to deliver the business benefits.

In some cases, benefits could be realised without the use of card readers and the cost of installing any readers needs to be considered alongside future plans to refresh or upgrade IT systems.

As the design of the scheme matures, during and after the procurement exercise, so will our understanding of where the scheme will be of most benefit which will allow us to further refine our estimates of benefits and the costs of realising them.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of methods of fooling biometric readers using (a) thin laminate stuck to fingers for fingerprints and (b) contact lenses for iris recognition. [9918]

Andy Burnham: The Home Office has consulted biometrics experts, Communications and Electronic Security Group biometric spoofing and anti-fraud experts and scientific literature in our assessment of fooling biometric technologies and is working with these and other experts to address any risk. We are also in communication with other schemes that are now using biometrics with ID cards, to learn from their experiences.

We are working on process methods to reduce the likelihood of fake biometrics being successful, for example selecting a random finger for verification, from those available, rather than using only one fingerprint on all occasions. This also gives flexibility around issues arising from short term damage to fingers, such as a cut.

In enrolment situations the process would be supervised thereby reducing the risk of fraudulent use of biometrics. In verification situations, the individual would need to have obtained a stolen card as well as a copy of all of the fingerprints in order to attempt this exercise. Further process measures are being developed but in order to protect the integrity of the National Identity Register, it is not possible to disclose them.

The systems proposed by the various manufacturers during procurement, to meet the scheme business requirements, will be rigorously tested to ensure risks from fake biometrics are adequately mitigated and allow the scheme to achieve official security accreditation.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects that the police facial images national database will be operational. [9938]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The facial images national database should be operational by December 2006.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the business case for the facial images national database. [9942]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: At present the outline business case for the facial images national database is commercially confidential. The Police Information Technology Unit (PITO) are currently working on the outline business case which may be made available soon after the tender process has been completed and a contract has been let.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the error rates of the identifiers proposed in the Government's identity card scheme. [11044]

Andy Burnham: Neither the technology for doing biometric checks or the implementation of that technology or the way in which different biometric checks may be combined together and with other checks has been finalised. These choices will affect the accuracy attainable from biometric checks and so a definitive answer is not possible at this point in time.

The performance of one particular identifier or technology is not the key determinant. During enrolment in the scheme we will make a biometric check against all previously enrolled biometrics. Any matches with one particular biometric which may be 'false' would be resolved by other biometric matches or by inconsistencies with the information held about the applicant and the record against which it had been matched.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the 30-minute questionnaire given to the sample of people interviewed for the identity cards trade off research, mentioned on page 3 of the interim report published on 28 June. [11663]

Andy Burnham: A copy of the questionnaires used with UK citizens and verification service users as part of the identity cards trade off research will be placed in the Library. A full report of the identity cards trade off research will be published in quarter three 2005.

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