Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Feb 2006 : Column 1436W—continued

Identity Cards

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2005, Official Report, column 594W, on Identity Cards, whether the Identity Cards Programme has now mapped the impact of the proposed scheme on efforts to defeat money laundering and organised crime. [50318]

Andy Burnham: As noted in the answer of the 8 of December 2005, Official Report, column 1527W, work to identify benefits to fight organised crime and money laundering with law enforcement agencies and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs as well as with organisations like the Financial Services Authority will be ongoing up to and beyond the launch of the Identity Cards Scheme so that, along with planned activities, its potential to assist any emerging threats can be assessed.

Thus, there is no definitive end date for this work. However, as stated in the answer of the 30 of November 2005, Official Report, column 594A, the results of this work feeds into the development of the Identity Cards benefits case, an overview of which was published on 27 June 2005.

In general, the work continues to show that the Identity Cards Scheme can disrupt and impede the activities of criminals, improve the intelligence picture available to the law enforcement agencies, establish greater certainty in establishing the identity of individuals involved in large cash transactions, will have an additional deterrent effect in terms of money laundering and will assist in investigations.

London Bombers (Surveillance)

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the nature was of surveillance carried out in relation to (a) Sidique Khan and (b) Shahzad Tanweer before 7 July 2005; when any such surveillance commenced; and when it finished.

Mr. Charles Clarke: It has been the established policy of successive Governments to neither confirm nor deny speculation about covert operations or to comment on on-going police investigations.

National Identity Register

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 21 November 2005, Official Report, column 1755W, on the National Identity Register, whether a decision has been taken on the type and quantity of biometric data to be held for each person on the National Identity Register on the basis of the Bill as it stands following amendment in the House of Lords. [50319]

Andy Burnham: It is currently envisaged that 10 fingerprints, two irises and a facial image will be recorded on each person's entry in the National Identity Register, subject to personal circumstances. There have been no amendments to the Identity Cards Bill in the Lords that have affected that assumption. Final decisions will depend on the outcome of the procurement stage and will be constrained by the legal framework set out in the Bill.

Police National Computer

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have access to the Police National Computer (PNC); what safeguards exist to prevent unlawful access to the PNC; what audit arrangements are in place to monitor inappropriate access to the PNC; what penalties exist for unlawful use
9 Feb 2006 : Column 1437W
of the PNC; and what guidance has been issued on the appropriate course of action if officers are found to have misused the system. [47570]

Hazel Blears: We take the security of the Police National Computer (PNC) very seriously. Ownership of all the police data rest with chief constables. Each force's security and access protocols must be in accordance with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) Information Systems Community Security Policy that also governs usage of the Police National Computer (PNC). Security of the PNC is also governed by an Accreditation Document Set, which contains security countermeasures specifically relating to the PNC. Similar arrangements are also in place for the agencies that have been given authorised access to the PNC.

For security reasons I am not in a position to describe the arrangements that are in place to prevent or detect unauthorised access to the PNC but I am satisfied that these arrangements are adequate.

Misuse of the PNC is controlled by legislation and it is for the chief officer to determine the action for redress through the courts or by internal police disciplinary procedures via the police discipline regulations.

The fact that forces control PNC access locally means that I am unable to provide you with information on the number of people authorised to have access.

Police Officers

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers resigned from police forces in England and Wales in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [47789]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is provided in the following table. More resignations are to be expected as there has been record growth in police service staffing over the last five years.
Total number (headcount) of voluntary resignations from police forces (2001–05)

Police officers
As at 31 March 2001(22)1,468
As at 31 March 2002(22)1,674
As at 31 March 2003(23)1,969
As at 31 March 20042,187
As at 31 March 20052,109

(22) In 2001 and 2002 these data were collected by HMIC
(23) Total excludes one force

Public Appointments

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 who have since been appointed to public bodies by his Department, broken down by party; and who is responsible for making each appointment. [36686]

Mr. Charles Clarke: There were no Members of Parliament who left Parliament in 2005 and who have since been appointed to public bodies by the Home Department.
9 Feb 2006 : Column 1438W

Race-related Crime

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to tackle race-related crime; and if he will make a statement. [48557]

Paul Goggins: In recent years the Government have strengthened the criminal penalties for offences such as incitement to racial hatred. The Government have also introduced racially aggravated and religiously aggravated offences. The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill introduces an offence of using threatening words or behaviour with the intent to stir up religious hatred.

In May 2005, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Home Office published a Hate Crime Manual: Hate Crime: Delivering a Quality Service." The manual aims to provide tactical and practical guidance to police forces and authorities on the handling and investigation of hate crime including racially and religiously motivated offences.

In July 2003 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published a policy statement which made a clear commitment to prosecute racist and religious crime fairly, firmly and robustly. The publication of the CPS Racist Incident Monitoring Annual Report 2004–2005 shows the achievements of the CPS in bringing offenders to justice.

Under the terms of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime on reporting and recording racist incidents, victims of racially or religiously motivated offences are defined as vulnerable and will receive an enhanced service.

The Race Relations Act places a statutory general duty on public authorities to promote good relations between persons of different racial groups and in July 2005 the Commission for Racial Equality produced Promoting Good Race Relations; A Guide for Public Authorities."

Additionally, in 2002, the Home Office issued guidance to crime reduction partnerships on tackling racist antisocial behaviour. This included a Racist Crime and Harassment Toolkit.

Home Office officials are currently working with a small number of key stakeholders to take forward a range of work to tackle race, faith and homophobic hate crime more effectively. It is envisaged that this work—will include projects to improve the local response to hate crime, increase victim confidence in the criminal justice system, increase the proportion of victims who report hate crimes and the proportion of those crimes that are brought to justice, and improve the evidence base on hate crime.

Next Section Index Home Page