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22 Mar 2006 : Column 462W—continued

Custody Statistics (Children)

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children were in custody in each year since 1997. [59303]

Fiona Mactaggart: The information regarding the number of children under the age of 18 who are held in custody is provided in the following table.

Information for prison establishments is as recorded on the Prison Service IT system.

Information for Secure Training Centres and Local Authority Secure Children's Homes has been supplied by the Youth Justice Board for the years 2000 onwards, and by the Department for Education and Science for earlier years.
Young persons population in custody at 30 June 1997 to 2005

Local Authority Secure Children's Homes(23)Secure Training Centres(24)15 to 17-year-olds in prison

(23) Figures from 2000 to 2005 from YJB, as at 30 June each year. Figures from 1997 to 1999 from DfES, as at 31 March each year.
(24) Introduced in 2000—figures from YJB

Custody Visitors

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many independent custody visitors in England and Wales have signed the Official Secrets Act 1989 as part of the (a) appointment and (b) re-appointment process; [57124]

(2) what guidelines he has issued on whether independent custody visitors need to sign the Official Secrets Act 1989; [57125]

(3) how many independent custody visiting panels have been asked by their police authority to sign the Official Secrets Act 1989. [57134]

Hazel Blears: Information is not held centrally. Every police authority is required under section 51 of the Police Reform Act 2002 to make arrangements for independent custody visitors in their area and to keep those arrangements under review. Police authorities are responsible for recruiting, selecting and appointing independent custody visitors. It is an operational matter for the police authority in consultation with the relevant chief officer of police to consider the level of vetting and security clearance required in their police area.

Danish Embassy Protests

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been charged with criminal offences as a result of their actions outside the Danish embassy in London on 4 February 2006. [57382]

Paul Goggins: The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has informed me that five men have been arrested in connection with offences believed to have been committed during a demonstration in central London on 3 February 2006. Three have been charged and two have been bailed pending further investigations.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff reductions have been made in order to meet his Department's efficiency savings target since July 2004; and how much his Department has saved as a result of such reductions. [59913]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 82W.

Drug-related Crime (Peterborough)

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to tackle drug-related crime in Peterborough constituency. [47919]

Paul Goggins: Drug related crime is generally defined as crime committed by drug misusing offenders to fund their drug misuse. The Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) was introduced by this Government as a specific response to the problem. It is part of the largest investment ever in addressing the misery caused by drugs in our communities.

The intensive form of programme operates in 97 areas, including Peterborough, with historically high levels of drug related crime and provides a route out of crime and into drug treatment. It brings to bear on offenders a range of interventions such as drug testing and restriction on bail to ensure that drug misusers
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confront their offending behaviour and receive drug treatment—for which waiting times have been substantially reduced over the past three years.

The most prolific of these offenders are also targeted by the Prolific and other Priority Offenders (PPO) Programme. In Peterborough both the DIP and PPO schemes are well managed and effective. They have received additional Government funding to work together to ensure their joint operations and working are properly developed. Working closely with the police, the Nene Project in Peterborough is an excellent example of a multi-agency partnership approach that has contributed to a reduction in acquisitive crime and was highly commended in the Office of Public Management Annual Leadership Awards.

We continue to make the fight against drug related crime more effective—for example, following the 2005 Drugs Act, drug testing on arrest for a trigger offence (and a required assessment for drug treatment) was implemented in three areas on one December 2005 and will be rolled out to Peterborough on 31 March 2006.

As well as programmes such as DIP and PPOs, the police continue to tackle drugs at both level one and two, including recent successful targeted operations combating local drug dealers. In addition, Peterborough police work closely with the force economic crime unit to identify and seize assets of people that profit through
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drug dealing and associated criminality. In 2004–05 Cambridgeshire constabulary obtained confiscation orders of over £2 million.

Nationally, acquisitive crime—to which drug-related crime makes a substantial contribution—is going down and fell by 12 per cent. in the year to April 2005.

Fireworks Offences

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices have been issued for the misuse of fireworks in the Northumbria police force area. [57688]

Hazel Blears: Offences under the Fireworks Regulations 2004 (made under section 11 of the Fireworks Act 2003 for breach of the national fireworks curfew, the illegal possession of category four fireworks and the possession by a person under 18 of an adult firework) attract penalty notices for disorder, as does the offence of throwing fireworks. The offence of throwing fireworks has been included in the penalty notice for disorder scheme since it was introduced nationally during 2004. The offences under the Fireworks Regulations 2004 were brought into the scheme with effect from 11 October 2004.

The numbers of penalty notices issued for these offences in the Northumbria police force area during 2004, alongside provisional data from January to September 2005, are provided in the following table.
Number of penalty notices for disorder issued for fireworks offences, Northumbria police force area, 2004 and January-September 2005 provisional data

Police forceThrowing fireworksBreach of fireworks curfewPossession of a category 4 fireworkPossession by under 18 of adult firework
January-September 2005 (provisional)

RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform

Home Detention Curfew

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many home detention curfew applications which were refused were referred to the Ombudsman in each year since 2001; how many times the Ombudsman asked the board to reconsider its decision in each year; and in how many of those cases the board then granted a home detention curfew order. [59374]

Fiona Mactaggart: The information requested cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

Identity Fraud

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of identity fraud amongst his Department's employees. [59612]

Andy Burnham: I launched the Home Office identity theft leaflet in September 2005. Home Office employees were made aware of the launch through the Department's Intranet, which also included information about the Home Office identity theft website— The leaflet was also distributed to all UK Passport Service offices. The Home Office also supported National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, which took place in October 2005. During the week, the identity theft leaflet was made available to employees and information about identity fraud was communicated through the internal staff magazine, notice-boards, display stand, Intranet and plasma screens. This included advice about what employees can do to protect against identity fraud, what to do if it happens to them and where to get further help.

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