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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2895W—continued

Drunk and Disorderly

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many assaults recorded in the last five years in (a) London, (b) Havering and (c) Romford alcohol consumption was a contributing factor. [33918]

Paul Goggins: From the information collected on recorded crime it is not possible to identify those assaults which are alcohol-related. Such offences are not
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specifically defined by statute and details of the individual circumstances of offences do not feature in the data series.

Economic Crime Units

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the size is of the Economic Crime Unit of each police force in England. [37428]

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Hazel Blears: This information is not held centrally. It is for the chief officer of each force to determine how to allocate the resources, including staff, at his/her disposal, taking into account local and national policing priorities.

EU Criminal Intelligence

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the development of an EU criminal intelligence model. [35523]

Paul Goggins: The criminal intelligence model being developed in the Council of the European Union is a cyclical intelligence process based on Europol's organised crime threat assessment. The Government are pleased that during the United Kingdom's presidency of the EU agreement has been reached that Europol will produce a first threat assessment by April 2006. This will provide a new basis for Ministers in the Council to set strategic organised crime priorities.

It will also provide operational leads that member states can pursue through initiating major cross-border investigations to disrupt significant criminal activity. The intelligence cycle will be completed with the results and intelligence generated by cross-border investigations being recycled to support the next round of the threat assessment.

European Commission (Anti-crime Measures)

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the European Commission's proposals to establish a specialised investigation or prosecutorial body for dealing with the investigation of cases linked with organised crime. [36321]

Paul Goggins: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 December 2005, Official Report, column 1527W.

General Group Managed Migration Directorate

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's target is for (a) an acknowledgement of and (b) a substantive response to correspondence received by the General Group Managed Migration Directorate. [36885]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) receives well over 1 million pieces of correspondence each year. The IND's policy is to acknowledge the receipt of all immigration, asylum, asylum support and citizenship applications either by sending a letter or issuing a form. We aim to acknowledge all new applications within one week of receipt. If there is a problem with the payment in connection with an application, the applicant will receive a reply rather than an acknowledgement. Other casework-related correspondence is not at present routinely acknowledged. General Group deals with casework correspondence as part of substantive consideration of applications. Service standards for decisions depend upon the type of application made and are published on the IND website.
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Influenza Pandemic

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2005, Official Report, column 1061W, on the influenza pandemic, if he will (a) publish the assessment and (b) place a copy in the Library when it is put to Ministers. [38008]

Paul Goggins: I anticipate that draft guidance will be circulated to stakeholders early next year: a copy of the draft guidance will be placed in the House Library.

Licensing Act

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what extra resources he is providing to (a) police authorities and (b) other bodies to implement the Licensing Act 2003. [34163]

Hazel Blears: On 5 December 2005 I announced the provisional funding settlement for Police Authorities in England and Wales for 2006–07 and 2007–08. Government grant and central spending on services for the police will have increased by 56 per cent. or almost £4 billion between 2000–01 and 2007–08. Allocation of resources between activities is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, in the context of local police authority plans.

Streamlining administrative licensing processes by the police under the Licensing Act 2003 should lead to a saving of up to £15million annually. The Act gives the police further powers to tackle alcohol related disorder, for example, by allowing temporary or permanent reductions in trading hours. Through the Violent Crime Reduction Bill we are also introducing further powers for the police to help them tackle the problems of alcohol related crime or disorder.

We have also recently announced funding of £2.5 million to boost a range of operations to crack down on alcohol-related disorder; the sale of alcohol to under-18s and drunks; and the closure of problem premises.

Mobile Speed Cameras

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the mobile speed camera LTI 2020; and if he will make a statement. [33008]

Paul Goggins: The version of the LTI 20.20 speed meter that is type-approved for use by the police underwent very rigorous field and laboratory testing prior to the grant of type approval. It is self-calibrating and has an internal fault reporting system. All speed cameras are also subject to an annual check to ensure their continuing reliability.

I am satisfied that the device operates to a high degree of accuracy when used in accordance with the code of practice issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Motor Vehicles (Safety Equipment)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) males and (b) females have been (i) charged with and (ii) convicted
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of offences under section (A) 1 and (B) 2 of the Motor Vehicles (Safety Equipment for Children) Act 1991 in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement on the operation of the Act. [29299]

Paul Goggins: Statistics on the number of persons charged with a crime are not centrally collected.

There are no offences under The Motor Vehicles (Safety Equipment for Children) Act 1991.

The Motor Vehicles (Safety Equipment for Children) Act 1991 enables regulations to be made about the type of restraints (e.g. car child seats) to be used by children in motor vehicles. It also covers the information to be provided on the installation and use of such restraints.

No such regulations have been made. Instead, provisions for child restraints are included in the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993 (SI 1993 No 176) and the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) Regulations 1993 (SI 1993 No 31) made under sections 14 and 15 (as amended) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Those Regulations refer to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986 No 1078) which demand that child restraints satisfy the requirements of the British Standards Institute or the international requirements of EC Directive 77/541/EEC or Regulation 44 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. In addition to performance standards, these include requirements for installation instructions to be provided with new restraints.

National Firearms Register/National Identity Card Project

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the budget is for (a) the National Firearms Register and (b) the National Identity Card project for each year from 2002–03; and how many staff from his Department are working on each. [33241]

Hazel Blears: The Police Information Technology Organisation's (PITO) budget for the National Firearms Licensing Management System for 2002–03 was £997,000 (8), 2003–04 was £1,625,000 (5) and for 2004–05 it was £1,400,000 (5).

The Project Manager and Project Support Officer are the only people employed on this project full time. All other areas of PITO contribute time as and when needed. The figure in brackets represents the number of full time equivalents for each year.

The Identity Cards Programme expenditure for 2002–03 was £280,801.94, for 2003–04 it was £1,035,717.55 and for 2004–05 it was £12,376,637.77.

A total of 49 Home Office staff are employed on the Identity Cards Programme. Within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) there are 6.9 people (full time equivalent) working on the ID cards project. A number of people at United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) work on the ID cards project, although none exclusively, in terms of full-time equivalent there were 3.2 UKPS staff working on the ID cards project.
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