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19 Dec 2005 : Column 2355W—continued

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the national targets are for the Criminal Records Bureau; and what the performance of its offices in South Devon has been against those targets. [36891]

Andy Burnham: The Criminal Records Bureau's (CRB) Published Service Standards are to issue 93 per cent. of Standard Disclosures within two weeks and 90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures within four weeks.

The CRB is a national service operating from its headquarters in Liverpool. However, Enhanced Disclosure applications are referred by the CRB to relevant police forces for them to perform a check of their local records. South Devon falls within the remit of Devon and Cornwall constabulary and, in line with the
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other forces in England and Wales, operates to a two week service level agreement with the CRB to complete this work.

Over the last four weeks the Disclosure Unit within Devon and Cornwall constabulary averaged 7.26 days for the work referred to them by the CRB.

Custodial Sentences (Mothers)

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what offences custodial sentences were imposed on mothers in the last 12 months for which information is available; and how many mothers serving custodial sentences (a) have and (b) do not have their child with them in prison. [35808]

Fiona Mactaggart: Information on the number of mothers sentenced to custodial sentences, and the offences for which they were sentenced, is not centrally available. During the period 29 November 2004 to 28 November 2005 the number of women who had a child with them in a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in a prison ranged between 38 and 66 per week and averaged 44 per week. Figures on the number of women prisoners who have children resident in the community are not available centrally.


Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he takes if a deportee is discovered to have suffered an unfair trial, torture or ill treatment, in contravention of the UK's agreement with the receiving country. [31155]

Mr. McNulty: We firmly believe that Governments are entering into these agreements in good faith, and are confident that they will abide by the terms of any assurances given. Any contravention of a bilateral international agreement between Her Majesty's Government and another Government would be a matter of considerable concern.

If there were an allegation suggesting that the terms of an agreement had not been honoured, we would seek an immediate report of the circumstances from the authorities of the receiving state, and would request immediate access to the individual concerned.

Action thereafter would depend on the nature of the breach, and on the remedial action, if any, taken by the authorities in the country concerned; it could include a request for an independent inquiry, and/or a request for the receiving state to take remedial action. Failure to comply with formal political commitments in a Memorandum of Understanding or similar political instrument can seriously damage relations between the signatory states, and the standing of the state concerned in the international community generally.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those countries where there are substantial grounds to believe that a person deported would be subject to torture with which the UK (a) has signed a memorandum of understanding and (b) is in the process of negotiating a memorandum of understanding allowing the deportation of individuals
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who are citizens of that state, including those who pose a threat to national security and public order; and if he will make a statement. [33710]

Mr. McNulty: The Government have signed Memorandums of Understanding with Jordan and with Libya to facilitate the deportation of particular individuals consistent with our international human rights obligations, in particular those in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). We are discussing similar arrangements with Algeria and the Lebanon. We have said we will make public the names of the other countries to which we are talking when the time is right.

Detention Centres (Medical Services)

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons his Department is responsible for the provision of medical services in detention centres for asylum seekers; and what the arrangements are for liaison with (a) the NHS and (b) the local primary care trust on such services. [36141]

Mr. McNulty: The provision of primary health care services in contracted-out immigration removal centres is an integral part of the contractual arrangements for the management and operation of those centres, for which the Home Office immigration and nationality directorate (IND) has overall responsibility.

There is regular liaison between IND and Department of Health officials over issues that will affect removal centres collectively, and removal centres and primary care trusts are being encouraged to work together to develop local protocols to improve the interface between health care services within the centres and the local NHS.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which companies have been contracted to provide medical services to each detention centre for asylum seekers in England. [36148]

Mr. McNulty: Three of the nine immigration removal centres in England are directly managed, being operated by the Prison Service on behalf of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. Primary health care services at the centres concerned (Dover, Haslar and Lindholme) are therefore provided under normal Prison Service arrangements.

The six privately run removal centres are operated under separate contracts. The operators are: Global Solutions Ltd. at Campsfield, Oakington, Tinsley House and Yarl's Wood; Serco at Colnbrook; and UKDS Ltd. at Harmondsworth.

Removal centre contracts include requirements to provide specified primary health care services to detained persons. It is for the individual contractors todecide how to deliver their contractual obligations for the provision of primary health care services, whether through in-house" delivery, via a health care sub-contractor, or a mix of both approaches.

DNA Database

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is provision to remove
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from the National DNA Database details of a DNA sample of a minor who has never been charged or cautioned. [35616]

Andy Burnham: Yes. Section 64 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, as amended, enables the police to retain DNA samples (and profiles) taken from individuals arrested for, informed they will be reported for or charged with a recordable offence and detained in a police station. The police may retain the sample even when the individual has not been convicted of the offence for which the sample was taken. The decision whether to retain or remove a sample is an operational one for the chief constable of the police force which took it. There is no distinction in PACE between samples taken from an adult or a minor.

EU Maritime Border Guard Corps

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the creation of an EU maritime border guard corps to tackle illegal immigration in the Mediterranean. [35749]

Mr. McNulty: The European Commission's Communication of 30 November 2005 on Priority Actions for Responding to the Challenges of Migration notes that the EU Border Management Agency (Frontex) will be requested to launch in 2006 a feasibility study on reinforcing monitoring and surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea, and on a Mediterranean Coastal Patrols Network involving EU member states and North African countries.

The Government support the launch of such a feasibility study, given the need, identified in the Hague Programme, for EU member states to co-operate more closely to combat illegal immigration flows and to prevent humanitarian tragedies occurring in the Mediterranean. A Mediterranean Coastal Patrols Network would not be an EU maritime border guard corps. It would facilitate contact and coordination between member states' sea border surveillance authorities and search and rescue services and proper links with North African countries.

Fraud Trials (Juries)

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in developing the Government's proposals in relation to the use of juries in fraud trials. [36236]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Government's policy remains that certain very serious and complex fraud cases ought not to be tried by a jury and that trial by judge alone, as provided for by section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, represents the best way forward. However, we have offered to discuss alternatives to jury trial with the Opposition parties, if they have concrete proposals to bring forward.

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