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28 Oct 2005 : Column 591W—continued


Biometric Passports

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the UK Passport Service decided the dates for its biometrics road shows; when notice of these events was given to the media; what criteria were used to decide which media organisations and reporters to contact; which media organisations were invited; when notice of each event was given to the public; what the cost was of each road show; and what the (a) dates and (b) venues are of further road show events. [19837]

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Andy Burnham: The series of road shows was developed to build public awareness of the imminent changes to the passport and provide an opportunity for the public to try out the technology which will in time be used.

Decisions regarding the dates of the biometric road shows were dependent on the availability of the venues selected; the dates were agreed and venues booked on 16 August 2005. A wide range of local media organisations were contacted, including newspapers, television and radio stations, according to locality and size of readership/audience. In each case local BBC and commercial television and radio stations were invited to attend, along with the main regional/local newspaper(s). Notice of the road shows was provided to local media the working day before each event.

The dates and locations of the road shows were not released to the public in advance. As is usual practice, Ministers' movements are not confirmed in advance for security reasons. In addition, the road show stand was designed to attract passers-by (e.g. shoppers) and the local media. It would not have been able to accommodate a larger audience, had the road shows been publicised more widely.

A budget of £150,000 was set aside to cover the cost of the road shows. This included the design and build of the stand—a resource that could be used in further events, venue hire, staff costs and transportation/set-up of equipment. Feedback from members of the public who attended was on balance positive. Requests have been received from hon. Members for road show events in their locality, though no decision on further dates have yet been taken.

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme have had their compensation (a) withheld and (b) reduced due to their unspent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [21212]

Fiona Mactaggart: The following information has been provided by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. It relates to cases finalised in the years shown in the table.
CICS awards withheld or reduced on grounds of criminal convictions


Criminal Prosecutions

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) public policy test and (b) evidential test is for criminal prosecutions. [20173]

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The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.

Each case the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) receives from the police is reviewed in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors to ensure that it is right to proceed with a prosecution.

The Code sets out two stages in the decision to prosecute. Firstly, there must be sufficient evidence to provide a 'realistic prospect of conviction'. This is an objective test which means that a jury or bench of magistrates, properly directed in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict the defendant of the charge alleged. If the case does not pass the evidential stage it must not go ahead no matter how important or serious it may be.

If the case passes the evidential stage then the second stage is to consider whether a prosecution would be in the public interest. A prosecution will usually take place unless there are public interest factors against prosecution which clearly outweigh those tending in favour, or it appears more appropriate in all the circumstances of the case to divert the person from prosecution.

The review of a case is a continuous process, which carries on throughout its life and takes into account any new evidence or information which becomes available as the case progresses.

Drug Treatment Centres (Gravesham)

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drug treatment centres there are in the Gravesend area. [20084]

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Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

The National Treatment Agency has advised that there are five drug treatment centres in the Gravesham area.

Pyramid Posters Ltd.

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which prisons undertake work for the company Pyramid Posters Ltd. what the value of such contracts with each prison is; what the (a) start date and (b) duration of each contract is; and if he will make a statement. [20518]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 20 October 2005]: Pyramid Posters Ltd. provide contract work within Ashwell prison and have been trading with HM Prison Service since January 2001.During the current financial year (2005–06) the venture has so far generated £10,000 of income for the prison. It is therefore expected that the total value of the contract will be approximately £20,000 of income receipts for the financial year. The contract is run on a rolling year basis.

Secure Training Centres

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff have been appointed to each of the secure training centres in each year since they opened; and how many have left in each year. [898]

Fiona Mactaggart: The number of staff appointed to secure training centres each year and the number leaving are shown in the table.
Medway Secure Training Centre—opened 17 April 1998

19981999200020012002200320041 January 2005 to 31 August 2005
Custody staff(7)6640391301358836
Custody staff2933364261956621
Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre—opened 3 July 1999
Custody staff(7)(7)(7)109605237
Custody staff(7)(7)(7)31485227
Hassockfield Secure Training Centre—opened 17 September 1999
Custody staff(8)16223165253213
Custody staff(8)1033232625239
Oakhill Secure Training Centre—opened 19 August 2004
Custody staff234106
Custody staff7777

(7)Data not available
219 September 1999 to 31 December 1999
1.At Medway, Rainsbrook and Oakhill, other staff" excludes teachers and healthcare staff, none of whom are directly employed by the STC contractors.
2.Hassockfield's other staff" includes teachers and healthcare staff, as they are directly employed by the STC contractors.
3.The high number of joiners at Rainsbrook and Medway in 2002 and 2003 reflect the expansion of both centres from 44 to 76 beds. (Hassockfield has 42 beds, Oakhill has 80.)
4.Joiner/leaver numbers at all centres include staff who were provisionally appointed but did not actually start work with children because they did not pass the initial training course or did not receive Criminal Records Bureau clearance. These staff did not have contact with children.
5.Rainsbrook introduced a fully automated personnel/payroll system in 2002. Data prior to this period is limited and accuracy cannot be guaranteed, so has not been included.
6.Staff figures for Hassockfield in 1999 are for appointments after 19 September, when the centre opened. Some staff were appointed prior to opening, but figures for these are not available.

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