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HOME DEPARTMENT

Alcohol Misuse

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to combat (a) binge drinking and (b) other forms of alcohol misuse. [50471]

Hazel Blears: The Government have recently introduced a number of measures to combat alcohol misuse, the Licensing Act 2003 is a central component of these measures. (a) Rights and responsibilities are central to the Government's plans to combat alcohol misuse.

Flexible licensing hours as brought in by the Licensing Act 2003 counters binge drinking by not encouraging people to drink as much as possible before last orders, this is backed up by tough enforcement powers that target individuals through increased use of fixed penalty notices, premises through conditional licenses and expedited licensing reviews, and areas through designated public place orders (and drink banning orders which are proposed in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill). The Government are working with the drinks industry to develop a voluntary approach to tackling alcohol misuse.(b)
 
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The Departments of Health, Education and Skills and Home Office are taking forward measures to combat alcohol misuse. Alcohol education is a key component of the national curriculum as part of the healthy schools initiative The alcohol misuse enforcement campaigns target alcohol misuse through increased enforcement of legislation test-purchasing operations. The Government are planning to launch sensible drinking messages later this year in partnership with the drinks industry.

Antisocial Behaviour

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he plans to take to help the public to gain access to services that will help them tackle antisocial behaviour. [50612]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 9 February 2006]: We have already provided guidance and support to local agencies helping them to target resources and powers to protect the public and ensure that antisocial behaviour is tackled, not tolerated. The Respect programme will now take this further so that local services are organised so that they respond swiftly and effectively to the problems that communities face today.

People need to see and feel that a difference can be made. For example, along with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister we are developing a single non-emergency number to provide the public direct access, via a new three digit number to community safety advice, information and action to tackle antisocial behaviour. We are also committed to ensuring that every area will be benefiting from neighbourhood policing by 2008. Local people will know who their police officers are and how to contact them and neighbourhood policing teams will tackle antisocial behaviour as a priority when local communities identify this as one of their key concerns.

We also aim to improve accountability between service providers and the public by giving more power to local communities. The Police and Justice Bill, contains provisions for the Community Call for Action. This is a way for local communities to demand a response from agencies to persistent local community safety or antisocial behaviour problems, via an approach to their ward councillor.

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals were charged with causing criminal damage to property by means of graffiti in (a) Swindon, (b) the South West and (c) England and Wales in each year since 1995. [50915]

Hazel Blears: Data on the number of persons charged with offences are not collected centrally. Also, it is not possible to distinguish offences of graffiti from other types of criminal damage in the Office for Criminal Justice Reform figures for court proceedings as the circumstances of individual offences are not collected centrally

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of local authorities have an antisocial behaviour policy. [50920]


 
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Hazel Blears: All of the 351 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRP) in England and 22 Community Safety Partnerships (CSP) in Wales currently audit the levels of crime and disorder and misuse of drugs (substance misuse in Wales) in their area so as to identify the extent of these problems within their community, and develop strategies that deal effectively with the problems agreed as priorities for action following consultation within their communities.

They must ensure the need to tackle antisocial behaviour is reflected in the way local services are delivered where it is identified as a priority for action. Local authorities as a responsible authority" within the CDRP play a major part, working in partnership with the police, police and fire and rescue authorities and primary care trusts, in addressing and tackling antisocial behaviour.

By 2007 all top tier local authorities in England will have a Local Area Agreement (LAA). LAAs are three year agreements struck between central and local government containing outcomes which address national and local priorities. The requirement for LAAs to contain an outcome on building respect and reducing antisocial behaviour is mandatory.

This underlines the importance of respect and antisocial behaviour as key national priorities. Preventing and tackling antisocial behaviour has also been identified as a key theme in Round eight of the Beacon Council Scheme and this will act as a further incentive for councils to ensure antisocial behaviour is top of their agenda.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been in North Yorkshire for breaches of antisocial behaviour orders. [50988]

Hazel Blears: Antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) breach data held centrally only cover breach proceedings where there has been a conviction. These data are currently available from 1 June 2000 to 31 December 2003 for ASBOs issued since 1 June 2000. During this period, within the North Yorkshire criminal justice system area, notification has been received of eight persons breaching their ASBO on one or more occasions.

Asylum/Immigration

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length of time was that an asylum seeker was detained under the fast-track procedures in the last period for which figures are available. [50637]

Mr. McNulty: Of those detained on 10 February 2006, the average length of time asylum seekers had been detained under the fast track asylum procedure was 56 days for male claimants at Harmondsworth and 47 for female claimants at Yarl's Wood.

The combined average time for the two is 55 days. These figures include claims that are still pending. This information is based on internal management information and as such is not published within the official statistics.
 
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Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fast-track asylum applications were (a) made and (b) refused as at 31 December 2005. [50638]

Mr. McNulty: The latest date for which figures are available is 10 February 2006, at which date 3,494 male asylum claimants had been detained under the fast-track procedure at Harmondsworth since it began in April 2003. Of those male claimants who remained in the procedure, 2,901 were refused asylum at the initial decision stage.

At the same date, 278 female asylum claimants had been detained under the fast-track procedure at Yarl's Wood since it began in May 2005. Of those female claimants who remained in the procedure, 205 were refused asylum at the initial decision stage. This information is based on internal management information and as such is not published within the official statistics.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are detained under the asylum fast-track procedures; and how many of them are children. [50639]

Mr. McNulty: As at 10 February 2006, there were 230 asylum claimants detained under the fast-track asylum procedures. None of those detained were children. Neither asylum seeking children nor asylum seekers with child dependants are detained under the fast-track procedures. This information is based on internal management information and as such is not published within the official statistics.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applicants have broken their bail conditions in each of the last three years. [50644]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested, on the number of asylum applicants who have broken their bail conditions in each of their three years, is not available.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum detainees have had their removal delayed due to difficulties in obtaining travel documents in each of the last five years. [50658]

Mr. McNulty: Figures on delays in obtaining travel documentation are not kept and could be obtained only at disproportional cost.


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