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Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were convicted of (a) drunkenness, (b) driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs and (c) causing death by dangerous driving when under the influence of drink or drugs in West Lancashire in each year since 1997. 
Paul Goggins: Data from the Home Office Court Proceedings database on the number of persons convicted for drunkenness, driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs and causing death by dangerous driving when under the influence of drink or drugs in Lancashire police force area, 1997 to 2003, are given in the following table. It is not possible to identify those convicted in the West Lancashire area, as the data are not collected at this level of detail.
|Drunkenness (simple)(23)||Drunkenness (with aggravation)(24)||Driving after consuming alcohol or drugs(25)||Causing death by dangerous driving or careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs(26)|
Hazel Blears: Operational tactics when using firearms are a matter for the police. All police use of firearms is subject to the usual law on the use of force. In particular, the Criminal Law Act 1967 provides that the police may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances to effect an arrest or to prevent crime.
Hazel Blears: The Government are fully committed to tackling arson through the achievement of our public service agreement targets to reduce deliberate fires, crime and the fear of crime and through our continued engagement in the work of the Arson Control Forum (ACF), which is led by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The ACF (established in April 2001) provides the strategic direction for the national fight against arson. The Forum has invested a total of £11.3 million in local arson prevention initiatives since its creation.
We have also recognised the important contribution of the fire and rescue service to multi-agency working. Since 1 April 2003, all fire and rescue service authorities have been statutory partners in local crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs). This is helping to ensure that the fire and rescue services play a full role in community safety and help local communities to tackle arson and the associated areas of crime.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of families who would be affected by the national implementation of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. 
Section 9 enables NASS support to be withdrawn from failed asylum seeking families who are failing without reasonable excuse to take reasonable steps to leave the UK voluntarily, or to place themselves in a position in which they can do so. A lengthy process has been developed which provides oral and written warnings that families' support may be withdrawn if they fail to take steps to leave. Whether support is actually withdrawn depends on the families' reactions, and it is not therefore possible to provide a realistic estimate of the number of families which might be affected by any national roll out of section 9.
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time failed asylum seekers have been detained under the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 before being deported; how many people are being detained under the Act; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 21 November 2005]: Information on the average length of detention prior to the removal or deportation of failed asylum seekers is unavailable. It would be available by examination of individual case files only at disproportionate cost.
Quarterly snapshots are published showing the number of people detained under Immigration Act powers on the last Saturday of each quarter and these can be broken down by the length of detention. The latest published statistics on the number of asylum seekers detained covers the second quarter of 2005. Information on the number of persons detained, as at 25 June 2005 are published in the Quarterly Asylum Bulletin, table 13, on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how his Department (a) monitors, (b) records and (c) budgets for spending on transferring failed asylum seekers between detention centres in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The in-country escorting contract for immigration detainees is monitored by an escorting monitor who reviews performance by means which include regular meetings with the contractor, review of movement and other data and feedback from stakeholders.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to reduce the number of asylum applications to the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: We have already made real progress in reducing the number of unfounded asylum applications. The monthly number of asylum applications have fallen by 75 per cent. between October 2002 and September 2005. This reduction follows the implementation of a range of legislative and operational measures designed to reduce the number of unfounded asylum applications.
We have also dramatically reduced processing times. Around 80 per cent. of asylum claims now receive an initial decision within two months. At the same time the
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number of failed asylum seekers being removed from the UK has risen significantly. In 2004 over 1,000 asylum seekers were removed each month, compared with around 400 per month in 1996.
In February 2005 we published our five-year strategy for asylum and immigration, Controlling our borders: Making migration work for Britain". The strategy set out a range of measures to strengthen our border controls and reform our asylum system. We expect that the deterrent effect of these measures will further reduce the number of unfounded asylum applications in the United Kingdom. The 'New Asylum Model' will introduce faster tightly-managed processes for all new asylum claimants, including: a new screening process for asylum applicants that enables us to put them through a processing track tailored to the characteristics of their claim; a clear contact management strategy for each processing track including compulsory contact management for those not detained; and the introduction of specialist case managers who will manage each asylum case from application right through to integration or removal. Measures to strengthen our border controls include; the roll-out of fingerprinting of all visa applicants; expanding the network of airline liaison officers who advise check-in staff on forged documents; introducing electronic checks on all those entering and leaving the country; and the roll-out of new technology, including the e-borders programme, to create a fully integrated system of immigration control.
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