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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what upgrades are being made to the hardware and software elements of the Criminal Cases Review Commission's IT system. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The Commission is currently engaged in a project to implement an electronic records management system. This will enable it to discharge its duties under the Public Records Act 1958, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Office of Criminal Justice Reform has also recently agreed additional funding to maintain and approve the Criminal Cases Review Commission's (CCRC) data mining functionality. This is a retrieval system which enables the CCRC caseworkers to use experience gained in similar cases to reduce the time it takes to deal with new cases.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the current average time is from the receipt of an application to the dispatch of an acknowledgement of that application from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority; 
(3) what the current average waiting time is from application to a decision on whether compensation will be paid by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. 
Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 3 November 2005]: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) advise that for the period 1 April 2005 to 31 October 2005: the median average time from the receipt of an application to the dispatch of an acknowledgement of that application was nine days; the median elapsed time from receipt of an application to the issue of a decision on whether compensation would be paid (claims assessment stage) was 293 days; and that for cases finalised with a money award the median elapsed time between the receipt of an application for the particular stage of the process and the issue of the payment was: for the first (claims assessment) decision stage 352 days; for the formal review stage 254 days; and for the formal appeals stage (to the independent Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel) 462 days.
Fiona Mactaggart: All the provisions of part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 have been commenced apart from: section 151, which provides the court with an additional discretionary power for dealing with persistent petty offenders; sections 154 and 155, which provide for an increase in magistrates courts powers when imposing custodial sentences; sections 161 and 266, which make some amendments to pre-sentence drug testing and drug testing for offenders released on licence and extend the provisions to those aged 14 and over; section 181, which introduces a new custodial sentence of less than 12 months (custody plus) and all related provisions to this new sentence; sections 280283, which provide for consequential amendments to penalties in relation to the increase in magistrates courts powers; section 298, which is related to the increase in the maximum sentence for some summary-only offences from six months to 51 weeks; section 300, which provides for the court to impose unpaid work or curfew on fine defaulters as an alternative to prison; and section 301, which provides for the court to disqualify a fine defaulter from driving for a period of up to 12 months as an alternative to custody.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress in implementing the new contracts for electronic monitoring under the Criminal Justice Act 2003. 
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his position on the establishment of an EU grouping of cross-border co-operation, with particular reference to (a) the powers proposed for the grouping and (b) the treaty base under which the grouping is proposed. 
Mr. McNulty: The 'Convention on the stepping-up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration' (commonly referred to as the Prüm treaty) was signed in Prüm, Germany on 27 May 2005. The current contracting parties are Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium. The treaty is open to all EU member states to join if they wish to do so. The Home Office, in consultation with other Government Departments, is currently considering the treaty. The Government have not yet made a decision on whether the UK will accede to the treaty.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Skills Development Plans are internal working documents to help departments identify means of addressing skills gaps and are not meant for the public domain. Cabinet Office and DfES are looking at ways to publicise case studies resulting from this work.
Paul Goggins: In April 2005, intensive elements of the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) expanded to a further 33 police Basic Command Unit (BCU) areas with high levels of acquisitive crime. Intensive elements of the programme include testing for Class A drugs on charge for certain trigger offences. The 33 new BCUs build on what has already been achieved in the 64 earlier DIP-intensive BCUs and are listed.
Areas were selected on the basis of number of acquisitive crimes per 1,000 households and the need to harmonise, as far as possible, with other initiatives such as Street Crime and High Crack Areas.
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1748W
The DIP programme provides a route out of crime and into treatment for drug misusing offenders, using their contact with the Criminal Justice System as an opportunity to engage them in treatment and support. The key elements of DIP are delivered in all areas of England and are presently being rolled out in Wales.
|BCU name||DAT area||Police force|
|Brownhills (West Mids H2)||Walsall||West Midlands|
|Coventry Centre (West Mids M1)||Coventry||West Midlands|
|Coventry NE (West Mids M2)||Coventry||West Midlands|
|Coventry SE (West Mids M3)||Coventry||West Midlands|
|Dudley (West Mids J1)||Dudley||West Midlands|
|Halesowen (West Mids J2)||Dudley||West Midlands|
|Kings Heath (West Mids E2)||Birmingham||West Midlands|
|Solihull (West Mids L)||Solihull||West Midlands|
|Sutton Coldfield (West Mids D2)||Birmingham||West Midlands|
|Walsall (West Mids Hl)||Walsall||West Midlands|
|Wednesfield (West Mids G2)||Wolverhampton||West Midlands|
|West Bromwich (West Mids K1)||Sandwell||West Midlands|
|Wolverhampton (West Mids Gl)||Wolverhampton||West Midlands|
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