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9 Nov 2005 : Column 538W—continued

Colombia (Drug Traffickers)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to stop drug traffickers from Colombia selling drugs in the UK. [22954]

Paul Goggins: UK law enforcement authorities work closely with their international colleagues in Colombia, and in other countries along the supply route, in order to reduce the amount of cocaine trafficked into the UK. From 1 April next year this task will become the responsibility of the newly formed Serious Organised Crime Agency.

In 2003–04 23 tonnes of cocaine which was destined for consumption in the UK was taken out of the supply chain and 175 organised crime groups responsible for supplying class A drugs to the UK were disrupted or dismantled.
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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Minister for Immigration will respond to the letter of 19 September from the hon. Member for Banbury regarding Miranda Alia, Ref No A1034158. [18135]

Mr. McNulty: My hon. Friend, the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, (Andy Burnham) wrote to the hon. Member on 12 October.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many investigating officers were appointed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission during the period from 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2004; and how many cases were investigated during this period. [21727]

Fiona Mactaggart: As at 31 March 2004 the Criminal Cases Review Commission had 47 case review managers (CRMs) in post. Two CRMs were appointed between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004 and there were five departures. During the period, 901 cases were completed and 885 new cases were received. The Commission also appointed five investigating officers under section 19 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2004 to investigate six cases. There was also one ongoing investigation in the same period which involved one investigating officer investigating three cases.

Diplomatic Immunity

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list offences committed in the UK in 2004 by persons holding diplomatic immunity, broken down by nationality. [16702]

Mr. Straw: I have been asked to reply.

I shall issue a written statement within this parliamentary Session, which will contain a list of offences allegedly committed by persons holding diplomatic immunity in the UK in 2004. The list will not be broken down by nationality because disclosure of this information could damage our relations with the countries concerned and affect their willingness to cooperate with us in future when dealing with alleged offenders.

Forensic Science Service

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress towards the Forensic Science Service becoming a public-private partnership. [26677]

Andy Burnham: The Government's intention is that the Forensic Science Service will become a Government-owned company in December 2005. A public-private partnership remains an option for the future, and no irrevocable decision about the future status of the organisation will be taken before December 2006.
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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress with the transformation of the Forensic Science Service from a trading fund to a wholly owned Government company. [26678]

Andy Burnham: The target date for vesting as a government-owned company remains December 2005.

Identity Cards

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what he expects the cost of the registration and issuing of a biometric passport and biometric identity card to be. [19169]

Mr. McNulty: The current best estimate for the unit cost of an adult passport/ID card package for UK citizens valid for 10 years is £93. The actual amount charged to a person will depend on future policy decisions on charging within the scope allowed by the Identity Cards Bill.

Illegal Immigrants

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the number of people living illegally in the United Kingdom (a) through overstaying visas, (b) as illegal immigrants and (c) as failed asylum seekers; and if he will make a statement. [22843]

Mr. McNulty: No government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately, and that remains the case.

Although it is impossible to determine accurately how many people are in the UK illegally the Home Office published a report which included an estimate of the size of the illegal migrant population in the UK in 2001. A copy of the RDS On-line report 29/05—Sizing the unauthorised (illegal) migrant population in the United Kingdom in 2001" can be found at:

It's Your Call Campaign

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many police forces have introduced an It's Your Call Campaign; and if he will make a statement; [21932]

(2) what assessment has been made of the It's Your Call Campaign; and if he will make a statement. [21934]

Hazel Blears: It's Your Call" campaigns have been introduced in 47 areas around the country. It has been for the individual area to decide on how the It's the Call service should be implemented and which of the services might take the lead for responding to the initial call. This initiative is part of the commitment made by Action Areas to raise levels of action and to make services more accessible to the public. The campaign seeks to encourage the community to play their part in reporting antisocial behaviour and for feedback to be communicated on the actions taken.
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An early evaluation of the campaign focused on callers from eight of the first 25 areas showed that the campaign had been a success. Four out of five callers (82 per cent.) would recommend it to a friend or neighbour and two thirds (66 per cent.) had their problem resolved after just one call. Nearly three in five (57 per cent.) said they were satisfied with this new service.

The 'It's Your Call Antisocial Behaviour Hotline Evaluation Survey' can be found by visiting the TOGETHER website at

Knife Crime

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent knife crimes were recorded in each year since 1997 in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England; and how many led to convictions. [23696]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally. Violent crimes involving the use of a knife cannot be separately identified in the recorded crime statistics.
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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Ogmore of 10 October 2005, Official Report, column 168W, on police force structures, what guidance he has given to chief officers and police authorities on the criteria they should adhere to in drawing up proposals for the restructuring of police forces. [18665]

Hazel Blears: The Home Secretary wrote to all Chief Officers and Chairs of Police Authorities on 22 September to set out his views on the development of options for force restructuring. The letter outlined the key design criteria which forces and authorities should consider when developing options for force restructuring. The criteria is outlined in the table.

To complement these criteria and to support the development of proposals for change, a toolkit and guidance to help forces with evaluating options for change has been sent to all forces and authorities.

The Home Secretary's letter, the criteria and the toolkit and guidance are available on the Home Office website.
SizeTo what extent do the proposals for restructuring create units of sufficient size (the HMIC report gave an indicative figure of a minimum of 4,000 officers, 6,000 total staff) to provide the necessary capacity and resilience in the provision of protective services to meet both current and future demands for such services?
Mix of capabilityMix of capability—and reduction in risks- to what extent do the prospective partnerships bring together forces with complementary strengths in addressing volume crime and the provision of protective services? To what extent will they enable performance in relation to both to be improved?
Criminal marketsTo what extent do the proposals take cognisance of the underlying criminal markets and patterns of cross-boarder criminality in the areas concerned?
GeographyTo what extent do the proposals recognise and take account of particular challenges posed by the geography of the proposed force area and the transport links and worrying patterns within it?
Co-terminosityTo what extent do the proposals respect established political and partners boundaries or, alternatively, support the case for the realignment of the boundaries of other partner agencies so that the benefits of co-terminosity can be preserved? The very strong starting presumption will be that any new force areas should not subdivide an existing force area between two or more new forces and that the new forces areas should not cross Government office regional boundaries (it follows that very compelling arguments would need to be submitted in support of any merger proposals which went contrary to these presumptions).
IdentityTo what extent do the proposals build on strong historical or regional identities?
Clarity of command and control and accountabilityTo what extent are the proposed governance arrangements for any new entity clear and unambiguous.
PerformanceTo what extent do the proposals for restructuring minimise any risks to current performance during the transitional period and support further improvements in performance over the medium-term? (assessments under this heading should be made against the statutory performance indicators).
Costs and efficiencyTo what extent will the proposals minimise the cost of change and maximise efficiency savings?

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the grant to West Mercia police authority on a per head of population basis differs from the neighbouring police authority areas. [25337]

Hazel Blears: Government general funding for police authorities is based on the relative need of each police authority area for police services, calculated by the police funding formula. To identify the pressures satisfactorily, the formula uses a range of socio-economic indicators. Funding is not, and never has been, distributed on a simple per capita basis.

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