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22 Mar 2006 : Column 457W—continued

Property Sales

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many properties have been sold in Coventry South since 1997. [59941]

Ms Harman: No court buildings have been sold in the Coventry South constituency area since 1997.


Domestic Violence

Lynda Waltho: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had with Ministerial colleagues on improving the services offered to women seeking refuge from domestic violence. [51689]

Meg Munn: As Minister for Women, I sit on the Inter-Ministerial Group for Domestic Violence chaired by my noble Friend Baroness Scotland of Asthal which
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manages the performance of the cross-Government National Domestic Violence Delivery Plan by reviewing progress at quarterly meetings. This is the mechanism for improving the services offered to women seeking refuge from domestic violence nationally.

A substantially revised domestic violence Best Value Performance Indicator will help assess overall provision and effectiveness of local authority services designed to help victims of domestic violence.

Equality Audits

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of the merits of equality audits. [52248]

Meg Munn [holding answer 27 February 2006]: The Government encourage businesses to carry out equal pay audits because it will identify if a pay system has any bias based on gender, which will in turn enable the organisation to avoid costly litigation, preserve its reputation and attract and retain the best people. Women are more likely to see businesses as an 'employer of choice' if they can be seen to be committed to equal opportunities.

Equal Opportunities Commission's report Equal pay reviews survey 2005" shows that in 2005, the reason stated by 77 per cent. of large organisations for carrying out an equal pay audit was because they wanted to be seen as a good practice employer.


Active Communities Directorate

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account is taken of gender equality in the work of the Active Communities Directorate. [57243]

Paul Goggins: The Active Communities Directorate (ACD), as part of the Home Office, is dedicated to promoting equality, fairness and respect.

The ACD, through its many consultations with the voluntary and community sector, has endeavoured to seek the views of a wide range of organisations in the development and delivery of all its work.

It also aims to use best practice to assess, consult and monitor the impact of its policies with regards to race equality, disability and gender. The Home Office is running a five year programme promoting the importance of impact assessments and best practice on how to carry these out.

Antisocial Behaviour

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what representations he has received on antisocial behaviour orders from organisations which represent (a) children's and (b) human rights issues; [59737]

(2) what the Government's definition of antisocial behaviour is; how the definition was arrived at; and what assessment has been made of the suitability of the definition. [59747]

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Hazel Blears: We have a number of regular discussions with interested parties including those that represent children's and human rights interests. We have, for example, worked with a wide range of stakeholders on revising our guidance for practitioners.

The definition of antisocial behaviour is contained in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. This is

The definition is broad and allows for a range of activities to be included within it. However, if we were to strictly define antisocial behaviour by certain types of behaviour or break it down into specific categories and sub-categories we would risk excluding some types of
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behaviour which are problematic or including others which may not be. We believe this would restrict action. Antisocial behaviour manifests itself in different ways across different communities and we believe agencies should have the flexibility to determine what constitutes antisocial behaviour at a local level. The current definition was endorsed by the Home Affairs Select Committee in their report into antisocial behaviour published on 5 April 2005.

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was raised by local authorities in fines for antisocial behaviour in each year for which figures are available. [59907]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

The total local authority fixed penalty revenue is:

LitterDog foulingNoiseGraffitiFly-posting

(22) No figures available.

Biometric Passports

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer of 14 March 2006, Official Report, columns 2115–56W, on passport information sharing, what representations he has (a) made to and (b) received from (i) the European Union and (ii) European nation-states on the wholesale sharing of (A) biometric and (B) other details to be contained within biometric passports; and if he will make a statement. [60079]

Andy Burnham: I have made no representations to the European Union or European nation-states on the wholesale sharing of the details contained in UK passports, including the facial biometric, nor have I received any representations.

Carlile Inquiry

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will respond to the recommendations of Lord Carlile of Berriew's inquiry into the treatment of children in penal custody; and if he will make a statement. [59707]

Fiona Mactaggart: My colleague, Baroness Scotland, is meeting Lord Carlile on 29 March to discuss his report. The Home Office and the Youth Justice Board are looking at the recommendations in the report. We will announce in due course any action we propose to take in relation to them.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the chairman of the Cheshire police authority dated 18 November 2005. [49696]

Hazel Blears: A reply was sent on my behalf by the Police Structures Review programme manager on 13 February 2006. The Home Secretary and I also met with Mr. Nurse and other chairs of police authorities and chief constables from the north west region on 6 February.

Crime Categories/Statistics

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances crime against business is recorded as a distinct category; and if he will make a statement. [59270]

Hazel Blears: The Home Office currently publishes annual total crime statistics recorded by the police in England and Wales for the following offences specifically relating to business crime; theft by an employee, theft from shops, theft of an automatic machine or meter and robbery of business property. The most recent figures are available in Statistical Bulletin 11/05 Crime in England and Wales 2004–05" at

We recognise that these figures do not cover all the crimes experienced by the business sector (either directly or indirectly), and that businesses themselves do not report every incident for a variety of reasons. Given this, in July 2005 the Home Office also published the findings of the 2002 Commercial Victimisation Survey. This provided further information on the actual levels of business crime as well as an indication of the proportion of businesses which report the crimes committed against them.

The Home Office Business Crime Team is currently looking at how information on business crime can be enhanced—specifically whether it is feasible to identify crimes against businesses in police recorded crime
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statistics. Findings from crime recording pilots in South Wales and Greater Manchester are currently being considered.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the trends in (a) crimes of violence against the person and (b) drug offences since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [58219]

Hazel Blears: An analysis of Crime in England and Wales, using recorded crime statistics and the results of the British Crime Survey, was published in Home Office Statistical Bulletin number 11/05, 'Crime in England and Wales 2004–2005'. Chapter four contains a section on drug and other offences and chapter five analyses violent crime. The bulletin can be found on the internet site at:

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