Previous Section Index Home Page

14 Feb 2006 : Column 1964W—continued

Clive Hayes

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will investigate the circumstances which led to (a) the late Clive Hayes being risk-assessed as being suitable for placement in open conditions at Leyhill Prison and (b) the decision to release Mr. Hayes while he was serving a life sentence; and if he will make a statement. [51760]

Fiona Mactaggart: There are no plans at this stage to conduct an investigation into the decisions taken in relation to Mr. Hayes' release or his transfer to open conditions. However, I can say that his case is being reviewed by the probation service in line with the processes in place for addressing those cases where an offender has been charged with a serious further offence. This review will take place despite the fact that Mr. Hayes was not charged with a further offence prior to committing suicide.

It would be inappropriate to address the circumstances leading to Mr. Hayes' transfer to open conditions and his release in 1995. However, it is the case that most lifers normally spend some time in open conditions in preparation for possible release. The process for transferring a lifer to open conditions involves the independent Parole Board considering a comprehensive range risk assessments from a range of prison and other staff covering the lifer's offence, risk factors and progress during sentence. The panel's advice is then considered by the Secretary of State who will take the final decision on the matter. That process was followed in 1993 in relation to Mr. Hayes' transfer to Leyhill open prison.
14 Feb 2006 : Column 1965W

The responsibility for Mr. Hayes' release in 1995 was a matter for the independent Parole Board, not the Secretary of State. The main criterion governing the Parole Board's consideration of his case was whether it was necessary for the protection of the public that he should continue to be confined. The panel that considered his case in 1995 clearly took the view that the level of risk of harm was acceptable and directed his release on life licence.

Closing the Gap Report

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2006, Official Report, column 1266W, on the Closing the Gap" report, whether (a) ministers and (b) officials provided comment to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary as a result of the briefing on Closing the Gap" prior to 13 September 2005. [44292]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 20 January 2006]: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary sought and received comments from various sources as they finalised the Closing the Gap" report. These were taken into account as appropriate prior to publication on 13 September 2005.


Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce imports of cocaine (a) from Jamaica by air and (b) from South America by ship; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of such steps. [44118]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The UK Government initiated Operation Airbridge in June 2002 with the aim of achieving a significant reduction in cocaine smuggling by couriers by measures such as outward passenger screening. HMRC worked closely with the Jamaican Constabulary Force and the measures taken, together with the introduction of a visa regime have contributed to a substantial reduction in the number of couriers from Jamaica targeting the UK.

The UK Government have supported efforts to improve drug detection in South American states by providing equipment and training—for example in the identification of shipping containers that may be used to conceal cocaine. I cannot give further details as to do so would prejudice law enforcement objectives and international relations. The government's approach has produced some good results, including in the first 10 months of 2005 working with international partners to take out almost 30 tonnes of cocaine destined for the European market.

Community Supervision and Support Centres

Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will announce his decision on the locations of the two proposed new women's Community Supervision and Support Centres announced in 2005. [49216]

14 Feb 2006 : Column 1966W

Fiona Mactaggart: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced in March 2005 that £9.15 million would be devoted over a four year period to establish new initiatives to tackle women's offending in the community. In December 2005, Ministers subsequently approved the Together Women Programme being run via two demonstration projects within the two Regional Offender Manager regions of Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West.

The Regional Offender Managers for the regions have been informed of the decision and a formal announcement will be made once proposals for the two projects have further been developed.

Community Support Officers

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers have been introduced in (a) Uxbridge and (b) the London borough of Hillingdon; and what assessment he has made of their impact on crime and antisocial behaviour. [48520]

Hazel Blears: At the end of September 2005 the London borough of Hillingdon Operational Command Unit (OCU) had 49 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Information is only collected at OCU level and is not available for Uxbridge. The deployment of PCSOs within Hillingdon is an operational matter for the Borough Commander (Chief Supt. Mark Toland). Their deployment across London is a matter for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

"A National Evaluation of Community Support Officers" (Home Office Research Study 297) was published on 25 January. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library. PCSOs have been well received by the public. They are helping to restore respect in local communities by providing reassurance and tackling antisocial behaviour and low level crime.


Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions were secured by (a) the Metropolitan Police Force, (b) Greater Manchester Police, (c) West Midlands Police, (d) Merseyside Police and (e) West Yorkshire Police for (i) commercial robbery and (ii) cash in transit crimes in (A) 2003, (B) 2004 and (C) 2005; and how many incidents of each type of crime were recorded by each force in each year. [40969]

Hazel Blears: Information on convictions is not available as the court proceedings database does not break down data for different types of robbery offence.

Data on incidents is not available. The available information relates to the number of recorded offences of robbery of business property and is given in the table. It is not possible to identify cash in transit robberies from the recorded crime data series.
14 Feb 2006 : Column 1967W

Recorded offences of robbery of business property

Number of offences
Police force area2002–032003–042004–05
Metropolitan police3,5453,1632,226
Greater Manchester1,2331,1721,296
West Midlands1,020900863
West Yorkshire493427298


Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Immigration and Nationality Directorate will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, of 4 October 2005 on behalf of Mohamed Ali Sharif (DoB 20/1/1965), husband of Mariam Mahamoud (Home Office Reference MO598z or M1172937). [49852]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

UKvisas, the department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for entry clearance matters arising overseas, replied to my right hon. Friend on 9 February.


Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to allow local authorities to close telephone boxes at night if they are being used by drug dealers. [50921]

Paul Goggins: There are currently no plans to give local authorities powers to close telephone boxes that may be used by drug dealers. The major telephone companies employ police liaison officers who work closely with individual police forces to deal with problems of criminality associated with the use of public telephone boxes.

Next Section Index Home Page