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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1727W—continued

Internet (China)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the scale of (a) internet viruses and (b) attempts at internet fraud emanating from China which aim to obtain data from public and commercial bodies in the UK; what agencies are involved in its detection; and if he will make a statement. [49701]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 February 2006]: The National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) issued an alert last summer warning of concerted Trojan email attacks from the Far East against UK Government and business interests. NISCC described the scale of attacks as almost 'industrial.' NISCC offered mitigating advice and information that allowed the Anti Virus Software community to block the attacks.

Khat

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to publicise the health risks of khat. [47707]

Paul Goggins: The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) report on khat, published on 19 January, described the health risks associated with the plant. The report made a number of recommendations including on making users aware of the risks. All of the ACMD's recommendations were accepted and an implementation plan is currently being constructed.
 
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Lyons Inquiry

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department has sent a written submission to the Lyons Inquiry on local government finance. [47894]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Lyons Inquiry addresses issues which are of significant importance to Home Office business and we are fully engaged with this piece of work. We are working closely with Sir Michael and his team; we have been feeding in views through the Lyons Inquiry High Level Liaison Group; and my officials are currently examining the interim report so we can provide even more input. I will look closely at the implications for the Home Office of any recommendations which the Lyons Inquiry makes when it reports fully at the end of 2006.

Merchant Seamen (Identity Verification)

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff of merchant ships used International Maritime Organisation certificates rather than passports and visas to stay at UK ports in each year since 1999–2000; and whether he has plans to increase the levels of (a) personal identification for and (b) access controls applied to such staff. [49758]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested about the number of staff of merchant ships using International Maritime Organisation certificates rather than passports and visas to stay at UK ports in each year since 1999–2000 is not available.

The United Kingdom currently accepts identity documents, presented by ship's crew for admission to the United Kingdom, which have been issued under the International Labour Organization (ILO) Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention No. 108 in lieu of a passport. We are however currently considering, in conjunction with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department of Transport, ratifying the new ILO Convention No. 185 adopted in 2003 which aims to introduce measures to improve the security of seafarers' identification including proposals for a new seafarers' identity document.

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill contains provisions which will enable the Immigration Service to effectively respond to the risk posed by unscrupulous persons posing as sea crew. The Bill contains a power for the Secretary of State to introduce secondary legislation to enable an immigration officer to require crew particulars to be provided before the arrival of the ship and by a specified means. This will allow the Immigration Service to administer a more effective flexible clearance policy based on a better evaluation of the risk. We envisage that the routine collection of crew data will ultimately be implemented in the longer term as part of the e-Borders programme. In the interim, and following the implementation of secondary legislation we will require details of arriving sea crew to be routinely provided in advance.
 
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Methylamphetamine

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will (a) undertake a public awareness campaign about the impact of the misuse of methylamphetamine and (b) set out the risks associated with misuse of the drug. [49296]

Paul Goggins: The risks associated with the misuse of methylamphetamine were clearly set out in the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) report published in November 2005 and available on the Home Office website, www.drugs.gov.uk. I do not plan to undertake a dedicated public awareness campaign about the impact of the drug at this stage but information is readily available at the Frank website www.talktofrank.com.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what meetings he and his officials have had since 1 January 2005 with representatives of the United States correctional industry. [46516]

Fiona Mactaggart: Central records are not routinely collated. The following meetings are known to have taken place since one January 2005: The GEO Group was represented at the contracted prisons conference sector held on 12 and 13 January 2006. This conference was attended by officials only. The GEO Group also attended a meeting with officials on 23 January 2006 for private companies interested in delivering services for offenders under the National Offender Management Service.

Ministerial Travel

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions since 7 July he has used the London Underground in connection with his official duties. [35022]

Mr. Charles Clarke: All ministerial travel on official business is undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are in the Library. Like all Cabinet Ministers, I have the use of a Government Car. We do not discuss particular transport arrangements for security reasons.

Murderers

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time served was in each year by those convicted of murder and released in the last five years. [47626]

Fiona Mactaggart: Information on the average length of time served for mandatory life sentence prisoners released between 1994 and 2004 can be found in table 10.5 of Home Office Statistical Bulletin 17/05: 'Offender Management Caseload Statistics, England and Wales, 2004'. Copies of this publication can be found in the Library.
 
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National Identity Register

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the public sector databases to which the National Identity Register will be linked. [50276]

Andy Burnham: The National Identity Register will not be directly linked to other public sector database. The Identity Cards Bill provides for the provision of information by and to the Secretary of State for the purposes of administrating and operating the ID Cards Scheme. Achieving this does not require particular public sector databases to be linked to the National Identity Register.

National Offender Management Service

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government have to implement the recommendation of the Chief Inspector of Prisons that the National Offender Management Service, in conjunction with the Department of Health, should develop a national strategy for older and less able prisoners that conforms to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and the National Service Framework for older people. [47567]

Mr. Charles Clarke: With the introduction of the National Offender Management Information System (NOMIS), the National Offender Management Service will continue the current Prison Service policy of assessing prisoners' individual needs. It will require both the public and private sector prison to provide services that meet the needs of older prisoners on a case-by-case basis. The integration of Prison Service health care within the NHS will ensure that the health care provision for older and less able prisoners will be delivered by and become the responsibility of the primary care trusts.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional statutory all-Wales bodies he expects will be established under the National Offender Management Service. [49066]

Fiona Mactaggart: It is not currently envisaged that any new statutory all-Wales bodies will be established under the National Offender Management Service.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made as part of the preparations for the National Offender Management Service of services which might be commissioned in Wales within the 1/4/22 pyramid of templates. [49304]

Fiona Mactaggart: A Pathfinder Project was commissioned by the Home Office with the agreement of the Welsh Assembly Government to examine ways of delivering a reducing re-offending strategy within the specific Welsh context. The outcome has led to the joint launch of Joining Together in Wales: an Adult and Young People's Strategy to Reduce Re-offending on one February 2006 by the Welsh Assembly Government and Home Office Ministers.

The strategy identifies the issues and aims that need to be addressed and forms the basis of a consultation to develop a reducing re-offending action plan for Wales. The outcome of the consultation and the subsequent development of the action plan will help inform future
 
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commissioning by NOMS of services for Wales, taking into account the National, regional and unitary authority levels in Wales to which you refer.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking as part of the preparations for the National Offender Management Service to enable the Wales Offender Manager to engage effectively with stakeholders and partners from the (a) courts, (b) voluntary community and (c) private sectors. [49305]

Fiona Mactaggart: We have appointed a Director for the National Offender Management Service in Wales whose responsibilities include engaging with stakeholders and partners in Wales to tackle re-offending. We are also working closely with the Welsh Assembly Government at both Ministerial and official level to ensure that the development of the National Offender management Service in Wales takes full account of the issues and structures relevant to Wales. There is also a programme of major events being held across England and in Wales to support the effective engagement of all stakeholders and partners.


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