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Dr. David Kelly

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on what date the police inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly was closed; [12847]

(2) on what date the police investigation into the death of Dr. David Kelly was closed. [23157]

Hazel Blears: Thames Valley police were investigating the death of Dr. David Kelly on behalf of the Coroner for Oxfordshire. The Coroner declared on 16 March 2004 that he accepted Lord Hutton's conclusion and that he would not re-open the Inquest.

Drug-related Offending (Braintree)

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests for suspected drug-related offences have been made in the Braintree constituency during the last five years. [21812]

Hazel Blears: Data on number of arrests for suspected drug-related offences are not collated in the format requested.

Statistics for arrests for drug offences, such as possession of drugs or possession with intent to supply, are available by police force area. However, it is known that many other crimes may be drug-related, such as burglary or shoplifting, which are often carried out in order to obtain drugs. Information on the number of
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arrests for some of these offence types is also only available by police force area. Details of both can be found in the annual publication 'Home Office Statistical Bulletin, Arrests for Notifiable Offences and the Operations of Certain Police Powers under PACE' which is published on the Home Office website.

The total number of persons arrested for drug offences and other acquisitive offences, a significant proportion of which are likely to be drug-related, in the Essex police force area since 2000 is shown in the following table.
Number of persons arrested for notifiable offences by offence type, Essex police force area

Drug offences2,1081,6431,8501,585
Theft and handling stolen goods9,8158,4868,4698,260
Fraud and forgery7801,6718111,112

Electronic Tagging

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what monitoring his Department carries out of contractors required to regulate offenders' electronic tagging; and what contractual obligations the contractors have to report curfew breaches by offenders wearing such tags. [20334]

Fiona Mactaggart: The electronic monitoring contracts in England and Wales are monitored by a dedicated team within the Home Office National Offender Management Service. The two companies with responsibility for delivering electronic monitoring are required to meet a number of service standards. Performance is rigorously monitored and robustly enforced, with financial deductions for underperformance.

In respect of breach, the service provider is required to notify the court and secure a hearing date within three working days. Where other agencies have enforcement responsibility there are separate reporting requirements.

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders wearing electronic tags were identified as being in breach of curfew orders in the last year for which figures are available. [20336]

Fiona Mactaggart: In 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, 9,599 offenders were sentenced to a curfew order, of which 1,605 were found by the courts to be in breach.

A very small proportion of this total would have been monitored by alternative means to electronic tagging, as it was not a statutory requirement under the legislation in place at that time. Electronic monitoring must now be used for all adult curfew requirements imposed by the court since the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 on 4 April 2005.

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of performance by contractors in reporting curfew breaches by offenders wearing electronic tags. [20337]

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Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office has recently reviewed the timeliness of reporting curfew violations to other agencies, and they are working with the service providers to improve performance in this area. In the vast majority of cases curfew violations are reported within the agreed time scales.

Equitorial Guinea (Attempted Coup)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the UK police are assisting investigations into the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea; and if he will make a statement. [12974]

Hazel Blears: No requests have been made to the Home Office for UK police to assist in this matter.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the Government's policy is on tackling the possession of firearms among young males. [21062]

Hazel Blears: The Government's approach to dealing with this problem focuses on three main areas. First the legislative framework where we have taken steps to strengthen the laws governing the possession of firearms which are already among the toughest in the world. We have introduced a mandatory five year minimum sentence for anyone convicted of possession of an illegal firearm, made it an offence to carry an imitation or air gun in public without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, banned the sale, manufacture and import of guns that use self contained gas cartridge systems, and strengthened the law on airguns. The Violent Crime Reduction Bill builds on these measures.

Secondly, we have worked closely with law enforcement agencies to strengthen enforcement action.

Thirdly, we recognise the key part played by communities in addressing the wider issue of this underlying gun culture. We have put £2 million from recycled criminal assets into anti-gun crime projects across the country this year. In addition, the Connected Fund launched last year, provides grants to small voluntary groups working on gun crime, knife crime and gang-related issues. This has proved very successful, supporting over 150 community groups across the country to date.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many minors were charged with possession of a firearm in the last period for which figures are available. [21545]

Hazel Blears: Statistics of persons charged with crimes are not collected centrally.

Historical Sex Abuse Cases

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalties are available for journalists who report prejudicial material which may damage an investigation into historical sex abuse; and on how many occasions in the last 10 years these penalties have been used. [20178]

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Fiona Mactaggart: Under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, it is a contempt once legal proceedings are active to publish material that creates a substantial risk that the course of justice in those proceedings will be seriously impeded or prejudiced. This is regardless of whether there is any intent.

The maximum term of committal is two years, and/or a fine; community penalties are not available. Statistics on the use of these penalties are not available. Persons proceeded against for offences under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 cannot be separately identified on the Home Office court proceedings database.

Illegal Immigrants (Kettering)

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employers in Kettering constituency have been prosecuted for employing illegal immigrants in each year since 1997. [22235]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 25 October 2005]: There are no recorded prosecutions in the Kettering Petty Sessions for offences by employers under Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 for the periods in question.

Immigrant Labour

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers in the UK have permission to work; and what proportion of the total number of asylum seekers they represent. [18750]

Mr. McNulty: Between 1986 and 2002 asylum seekers could request permission to work in certain circumstances. That concession was abolished on 23 July 2002. Asylum seekers are not now allowed to work as a matter of routine although, with the introduction of the EU Directive on Reception Conditions for Asylum Seekers an asylum seeker can seek permission to work if their claim for asylum remains outstanding for longer than 12 months without an initial decision being made on it, providing the reason for the delay cannot be attributed to them. Information on the number of asylum seekers given permission to work under the previous concession or as a result of the EU directive is not available centrally and could be obtained only by investigating individual case records.

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