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30 Jan 2006 : Column 196W—continued

Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer the letter to him dated 5 December 2005 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Bakhtyar Ahmed. [45406]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I responded to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Sir Gerald Kaufman) on 25 January 2006.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Immigration and Nationality Directorate will reply to the letter of 7 October 2005 from the hon. Member for Aylesbury about the case of Mr. A. N. T. of Aylesbury (reference N1041456; B23827/5) which was acknowledged on 14 October 2005. [42464]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 16 January 2006]: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate replied to the hon. Member's letter on 23 January.

Corruption

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases are on the register of overseas corruption allegations held by the National Criminal Intelligence Service; and how many of these are being investigated. [46374]

The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.

The Register of Referrals is now maintained by the Serious Fraud Office. The Department has initial responsibility for assessing reports that a United Kingdom national or other entity has engaged in
 
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conduct outside the United Kingdom which may render that person or corporate entity liable for prosecution within the United Kingdom under sections 108 and 109 of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001.

Sixty-six cases have been entered on the register of which six are currently the subject of investigations by the Serious Fraud Office and four by other authorities.

Crime Statistics

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average number of crimes reported per day was in Lancashire in the last year for which figures are available; and what estimate he has made of the incidence of unreported crime in Lancashire over the same period. [45153]

Hazel Blears: The published data relate to the number of crimes recorded by the police in terms of financial years. For the year 2004–05, Lancashire police recorded 152,043 offences. This figure takes into account the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002. Therefore, figures after April 2002 are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.

Estimates of the proportion of crime that is reported to the police can be made at a national level using the British crime survey (BCS), but sample sizes are not sufficiently reliable to estimate reporting rates at the sub-national level. Forty-two per cent. of victims interviewed in the 2004–05 BCS said that the incident had been reported to the police or was known to them. This figure is similar to that for 2003–04 and shows that most crimes (58 per cent. of comparable crimes) are never reported to the police.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of young offenders re-offended in (a) Lancashire and (b) west Lancashire constituency in each year since 2002. [45154]

Fiona Mactaggart: Re-offending rates are not available centrally on a sub-national basis.

National reconviction rates—a commonly used proxy for reoffending—are published on the Home Office website. The data relate to young offenders who were discharged from prison, began a community sentence, or received a pre-court disposal in the first quarters of 2001 and 2002. (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/rdsolr0805.pdf)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent crimes took place in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in each of the last five years. [45253]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is given in the tables. It is estimated that the effect of the introduction of the national crime recording standard (NCRS) in April 2002 was a 20 per cent. increase nationally in recorded violent crime in its first year.
 
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Table 1: Violent crime in the Hammersmith and Fulham crime and disorder reduction partnership area: 2000–01 and 2001–02

Number of offences
2000–015,498
2001–025,845



Note:
The national crime recording standard was introduced in April 2002. Because of this figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.



Table 2: Violent crime in the Hammersmith and Fulham crime and disorder reduction partnership area:—2002–03 to 2004–05

Number of offences
2002–035,856
2003–045,701
2004–056,234



Note:
The national crime recording standard was introduced in April 2002. Because of this figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.


Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the most recent estimate is of the time taken to process (a) a standard disclosure and (b) an enhanced disclosure by the Criminal Records Bureau; and whether the average time taken has changed since the system was introduced. [44900]

Andy Burnham: The Criminal Records Bureau's published service standards are to process 93 per cent. of standard disclosure applications within two weeks and 90 per cent. of enhanced disclosure applications within four weeks. The performance achieved for standard disclosures for December 2005 was 99 per cent. with a 12 month average of 99.4 per cent.

For enhanced disclosures, CRB are expected to complete their part of the checking process in 90 per cent. of cases in 12 days before referring these applications to local police forces for them to complete their part of the checking process against local intelligence databases.

The CRB has consistently exceeded its targets in processing disclosures up to the point at which they are referred to police forces. In December 2005, the CRB processed 95.8 per cent. of valid enhanced applications to the police within six days of receipt. This has provided forces with considerably more time to complete their checks within the published service standard.

The CRB has issued over eight million disclosures since the service was launched in March 2002 and more organisations have access to the service than ever before. Each week it is effectively dealing with over 55,000 disclosure applications. In general, the time taken to process disclosures has shortened, especially those that have been issued at the standard level, due to improvements introduced by the CRB.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken to process Criminal Records Bureau applications was in (a) September 2005, (b) June 2005, (c) January 2005 and (d) the latest period for which figures are available. [45505]


 
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Andy Burnham: The Criminal Records Bureau's performance is measured against a set of published service standards, which are to process 93 per cent. of standard disclosure applications within two weeks and 90 per cent. of enhanced disclosure applications within four weeks. Standard disclosures are processed entirely within the CRB's internal systems and require no referral to external agencies.

The performance achieved for standard disclosures for January, June, September and December 2005 was 99 per cent., 98.7 per cent., 99.9 per cent. and 99.9 per cent. respectively, with a 12 month average of 99.4 per cent. Enhanced disclosures require a further level of check against local police intelligence databases and the CRB are expected to complete their part of the checking process in 90 per cent. of cases in 12 days before referring these applications to local police forces for them to complete their part of the checking process.

The CRB has consistently exceeded its targets in processing disclosures up to the point at which they are referred to police forces. In January 2005, 95 per cent. of valid applications were progressed by the agency to the police within 10 days. In June, the CRB processed 95 per cent. of valid applications to the police within 11 days. During September, the CRB processed 95 per cent. of valid applications to the police within seven days and in December 2005, the CRB processed 95.8 per cent. of valid enhanced applications to the police within six days of receipt.

This has provided forces with considerably more time to complete their checks within the published service standard.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which the rules under which the Criminal Records Bureau can divulge former convictions, including spent convictions, to prospective employees are consistent with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974; and if he will make a statement; [46015]

(2) to what types of employer the Criminal Records Bureau is empowered to reveal the spent convictions of job applicants; in respect of what types of employment; and if he will make a statement. [46017]

Andy Burnham: The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 sets out those occupations and positions exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (the Act). This provides that persons employing individuals in those occupations and positions are exempt from the provisions of the Act and may therefore ask an individual to reveal details of all convictions, both 'spent' and 'unspent', under what is termed as an 'exempted question'.

The positions generally involve work with children and vulnerable adults, work involving the administration of justice and other employment of sufficient sensitivity to warrant a higher than normal level of criminal disclosure on public protection grounds. The Exceptions Order is updated periodically, ensuring that it reflects changes in risk to employers and the public.

The Criminal Records Bureau operates under the Police Act 1997. This provides that when applying for one of the two higher level Disclosures, Standard and
 
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Enhanced, an application must be accompanied by a statement from a registered person that the Disclosure is required for the purpose of asking an 'exempted question'. Accordingly release of conviction information by the criminal Records Bureau is fully consistent with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration detention centre staff are (a) trained in child protection procedures and (b) subject to Criminal Records Bureau checks. [46056]

Mr. McNulty: All Detainee Custody Officers (DCOs) at all immigration removal centres are subject to enhanced Criminal Record Bureau checks. In addition, all DCOs at those centres which accommodate families with children—Yarl's Wood, Tinsley House and Dungavel—receive regular training in child protection procedures.


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