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7 Feb 2006 : Column 1091W—continued

Citizenship

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that those seeking UK citizenship are required (a) to know the words of the National Anthem and (b) to have knowledge of the flags and patron saints of the nations of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [48856]

Mr. McNulty: The questions for the Life in the UK Test are based on the information in chapters two, three and four of the handbook Life in the United Kingdom: A journey to Citizenship." Details of National days and patron saints of the four nations are included in Chapter 3.

Both the playing and participation in the singing of the national anthem is encouraged at Citizenship Ceremonies, but is not compulsory.

Community Support Officers

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers are employed in each police force. [45973]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is as at 30 September 2005 and is contained in the following table.
Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) strength by English Government office regions and Wales (full-time equivalents)(11)—September 2005

Full-time equivalent
North East300
Cleveland86
Durham72
Northumbria143
North West680
Cheshire77
Cumbria19
Greater Manchester264
Lancashire159
Merseyside161
Yorkshire and the Humber647
Humberside20
North Yorkshire69
South Yorkshire125
West Yorkshire433
East Midlands390
Derbyshire43
Leicestershire119
Lincolnshire78
Northamptonshire38
Nottinghamshire112
West Midlands450
Staffordshire62
Warwickshire56
West Mercia86
West Midlands247
Eastern563
Bedfordshire43
Cambridgeshire92
Essex193
Hertfordshire135
Norfolk67
Suffolk33
London2,067
London, City of14
Metropolitan Police2,053
South East568
Hampshire23
Kent103
Surrey102
Sussex231
Thames Valley109
South West377
Avon and Somerset146
Devon and Cornwall75
Dorset56
Gloucestershire62
Wiltshire38
Wales282
Dyfed-Powys24
Gwent81
North Wales61
South Wales116
Total PCSO strength6,324


(11) This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between totals and the sums of the constituent items.


 
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Correspondence

Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, of 21 December 2005 on behalf of Basma Rahman, wife of Mazen Abdul Kareem Kadoora (Home Office Reference K1149709, acknowledgement reference MS7216). [49853]

Mr. McNulty: I wrote to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood on 3 February 2006.

Criminal Appeal Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the operation of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. [47384]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Criminal Appeal Act 1995 amended provisions relating to appeals and references to the Court of Appeal and established the Criminal Cases Review Commission as a non-departmental public body . The Act sets out the structure of the Commission, the number of Commissioners and conditions of their appointment. It lays down circumstances where the Commissioners may refer a case; where they should conduct an investigation; their supplementary powers, their access to documents or materials, their power to appoint investigating officers; the conditions under which the Commission is able to disclose information; and makes detailed provision for the appointment of the Chairman and Commissioners and staff and the production of Annual Reports and Accounts. There are no current plans to amend the substantive provisions of the Act.
 
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DNA Database

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of additional profiles which are likely to be added to the National DNA database as a result of the extension of police powers of arrest under section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. [47564]

Andy Burnham: The provisions governing the taking of DNA samples in section 63 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), as amended, provide that the police may take a non-intimate sample without consent from all persons who have been arrested for, charged with, informed that they will be reported for or convicted of a recordable offence. Section 24 of PACE as amended by section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 provides a single power of arrest for all offences but does not affect the above power which allows a DNA sample to be taken only from persons arrested, charged or convicted of a recordable offence. It is not expected to have any significant impact on the number of persons who may have a DNA sample taken and added to the national DNA database.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he (a) has made and (b) plans to make to the recommendations in the Select Committee on Science and Technology's Seventh Paper, Forensic Science on Trial, HC96 2004–05, that the Government commission a cost-benefit analysis of the possibility of moving the national DNA database from a 10 marker system to a 16 marker system. [47541]

Andy Burnham: The Home Secretary responded to the Committee's recommendations in oral evidence given by Andy Burnham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, to the Select Committee on 23 November 2005. The Home Secretary remains open to commissioning a cost-benefit analysis of the possibility of moving the National DNA Database from a 10 marker to a 16 marker system but considers that a necessary preparation for this analysis is the development of a strategy which ensures that any move to a system using more markers in the UK is compatible with similar moves in other European countries, to avoid closing off options for international co-operation in use of DNA in crime fighting in the future.

This has been agreed with Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of DNA profiling.

The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and the European DNA Profiling Group have been working on such a strategy and have produced a paper outlining how all current European DNA Databases could move to a 15 marker system by varying routes depending on the technologies they currently use, but substantial further work is needed to develop this in detail. The timescale for the development of a new system would be a commercial decision for the companies which make the profiling technology by was estimated in late 2005 to be 2–3 years.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any police force in England and Wales requests DNA samples from its officers. [47307]


 
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Hazel Blears: Regulation 19 of the Police Regulations 2003 requires that every newly appointed member of a police force shall in accordance with the directions of the chief officer have a DNA sample taken.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases have been examined by the Criminal Case Review Commission in each year since its inception; and in how many cases (a) convictions have been found unsafe and (b) sentences have been found unfair. [47796]

Fiona Mactaggart: Since its inception the Commission had reviewed 7,590 cases by 31 December 2005, including 308 cases which had been referred to the appeal courts. 252 of the 308 referred cases had been heard by the appeal courts which had quashed 156 convictions and reduced 22 sentences. The breakdown by year is set out in the following table.
Number of complaintsNumber of complaints upheld
1997–98117
1998–99152
1999–2000349
2000–016314
2001–026910
2002–037611
2003–04678
2004–056913
1 April-31 December 200544(12)3


(12) Five are still under consideration

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the cases considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in each year since 1996, broken down by (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful applications. [47383]

Fiona Mactaggart: Since April 1997 when the Commission came into existence, it has completed its considerations in 7,590 cases, the outcomes of which are listed in the following table. Of the 308 cases that had been referred, 252 had been heard. Of these, 178 had been successful, 73 unsuccessful and judgment had not been given in the remaining appeal.
Cases completed (not referred)Cases completed (referred)
1997–9829911
1998–9946131
1999–200097936
2000–011,06545
2001–021,16438
2002–0395235
2003–0487130
2004–0578045
31 March-31 December 200571137

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the complaints made by (a) members of the public, (b) hon. Members and (c) members of the House of Lords about the conduct of the Criminal Cases Review Commission in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and what the outcome of each complaint was. [47386]


 
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Fiona Mactaggart: The total number of complaints and their outcomes since the Commission's inception in 1997 are set out in the following table. Most complaints are made by applicants or by family members or representatives on behalf of applicants. Where a Member of Parliament takes up a complaint on the request of an applicant the complaint is treated as if it had been made by the applicant. Complaints made by Members of Parliament are not recorded separately.
Number of complaintsNumber of complaints upheld
1997–98117
1998–99152
1999–2000349
2000–016314
2001–026910
2002–037611
2003–04678
2004–056913
1 April-31 December 200544(13)3


(13) Five are still under consideration


 
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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff were employed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, broken down by (a) sex and (b) grade in each year since 1996. [47387]

Fiona Mactaggart: Figures prior to 2000 are not readily available. Since 2000 the breakdown is as in the following table.
Executive
Case review managers
Administration
DateFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMale
31 March 2000551917211
31 March 2001452225284
31 March 2002542624325
31 March 2003642321334
31 March 2004562324336
31 March 2005562322336

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members of the Criminal Cases Review Commission took (a) voluntary early severance and (b) early retirement in each year since 1997. [47388]

Fiona Mactaggart: No Commissioners have taken voluntary early severance or early retirement since 1997. In 2001 three Commissioners resigned their appointments before their period of appointment came to an end.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many disciplinary actions against officials employed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission were (a) commenced and (b) resulted in a sanction being applied in each of the last five years for which information is available. [47389]

Fiona Mactaggart: There have been two disciplinary actions against staff employed by the Commission. Both resulted in a sanction being applied. One was in 2001 and the other in 2003.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many investigating officers, and at what grade, were appointed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission during the period from 31 March 1997 to 31 March 2005. [47403]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Commission has required the appointment of 27 Investigating Officers to make inquiries to assist the Commission in 36 individual cases between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 2005. One was a deputy chief constable, four were detective chief superintendents, 12 were detective superintendents, six were detective chief inspectors and four were detective inspectors.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the circumstances in which the Criminal Cases Review Commission may refer cases to the Court of Appeal; and if he will make a statement. [47411]

Fiona Mactaggart: The powers and duties of the Commission are set out in detail in sections 9–13 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. The main test in considering whether to refer a case to the appeal court is whether the CCRC consider that there is a real possibility that the conviction, verdict, finding or sentence would not be upheld.


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