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Mr. Marshall-Andrews: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers were held in custody at the latest date for which figures are available; and how many were families with children below the age of 18. 
Mr. McNulty: Information on the number of persons detained solely under Immigration Act powers is available from a snapshot taken on the last Saturday of the quarter and is published in the Quarterly Asylum Statistics publications.
Mr. McNulty: Pregnant women are not normally considered for detention under the Immigration Acts unless there is a clear prospect of early removal from the United Kingdom and medical advice suggests no question of confinement prior to this. In addition, women in the early stages of pregnancy may be detained briefly at Oakington Reception Centre as part of the fast-track asylum process and Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre.
The latest available information on persons detained solely under Immigration Act powers relates to 24 September 2005. As at that date, there were less than five women in detention who were known to be pregnant, all of whom were at the Yarl's Wood immigration Removal Centre.
Information on the number of persons detained, as at 24 September 2005 are published in the Quarterly Asylum Bulletin, on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the purposes for which his Department uses automatic number plate recognition; and how many convictions have resulted from its use in each of the last five years. 
The Home Office is developing automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to target terrorism, serious and organised crime and 'volume' crimes such as burglary and theft of, and from, vehicles. Evaluation of the technology, which is currently being used by all 43 forces in England and Wales, shows that
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officers engaged in ANPR operations made over nine times more arrests and brought, on average, three times more offences to justice than general patrol officers.
The number of convictions resulting from the use of ANPR in the last five years is not collected centrally, however police forces that have participated in the three stages of the ANPR pilot have recorded nearly 30,000 arrests in a 32 month period.
Hazel Blears: I have had no specific discussions on this issue. Decisions about funding interventions that help reduce crime and the fear of crime such as such as the provision of burglar alarms are taken by crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs) in the light of local assessments of priorities.
During 200506, CDRPs have received £74 million in funding for crime reduction and community safety programmes through the Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF). This has been the primary source of funding to CDRPs for a number of interventions, including amongst others, tackling burglary and vehicle crime, violent crime, drug-related crime and youth crime.
Hazel Blears: The Home Office has in place performance management arrangements to ensure the effectiveness of Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) in Wales and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) in England.
Under these arrangements challenging targets for crime reduction have been agreed with each CSP and CDRP and progress against them is regularly monitored. Under-performing partnerships are offered support and assistance to improve delivery. Our
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approach to performance management is to work with local partners to bring the performance of all CSPs and CDRPs, to the level of the best.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) consultants and (b) special advisers were employed by his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of each was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
The best information available for the financial year 200304 from interrogation of the Business and Accounting Strategic System (BASS), indicates that the cost of external consultants to the department in 200304 was £106.8 million.
The best information available for the financial year 200405 from the interrogation of the Adelphi Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system Accounts Payable Module indicates that the cost of external consultants to the department was £46.9 million.
The Department awards contracts in open competition according to the EU procurement regulations based on best value for money. The use of external consultants in the Home Office provides the Department with specialist knowledge, skill, capacity and technical expertise that is not otherwise available in house.
Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister on 21 July 2006, Official Report, Columns 158162WS. Information on the numbers of special advisers prior to 2003 was provided at regular intervals and this information will be available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Every effort is made to handle all correspondence effectively and efficiently. All correspondence from hon. Members and Peers is handled in accordance with the principles set out in 'Handling Correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, MEPs and Members of Devolved Assemblies: Guidance for Departments'. The same principles apply when handling correspondence from members of the public.
The department aims to respond to correspondence from the public within 20 working days. The Home Office responded to 92 per cent. of 9,788 items of centrally received public correspondence received in the period June to September of this year within target. Not all correspondence received from the public is tracked, for example correspondence relating to casework is not monitored.
The computerised correspondence tracking system has now been operational since 2003. The department has reviewed processes for the handling of correspondence and introduced measures that mean cases reach the appropriate drafting officer promptly.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter dated 28 November 2005 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Miss Sabrina Williams. 
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