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23 Mar 2006 : Column 601W—continued

Deaths in Custody

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Independent Police Complaints Commission regarding deaths in custody; and if he will make a statement. [57773]

Hazel Blears: I met with the chair of the IPCC in January 2006 to discuss, among other things, deaths during or following police contact. The meeting considered making best use of lessons learnt from deaths and adverse incidents during or following police contact. That work is being taken forward with staff from Home Office, the IPCC, police and other stakeholders.

Driving Licence (Penalty Points)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drivers in (a) England, (b) the Tees Valley and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency have lost their driving licence as a result of obtaining the maximum number of penalty points in each of the last three years. [59924]

Paul Goggins: Latest available information taken from the 2003 Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform shows that, as a result of 'totting up' of points under s. 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, there were 29,997 disqualifications in England. More local data are only available by police force area and for the Cleveland police there were 809.

2004 data will be available end of March 2006.

Drug Classification

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the misuse of methylamphetamine on (a) individuals and (b) levels of crime; and what assessment he has made of trends in abuse of the drug. [49351]

Paul Goggins: These issues were covered in the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' methylamphetamine report published in November 2005.

The prevalence of methylamphetamine is relatively low in the UK, however the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will continue to monitor the situation and further advise the Government within 12 months.
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Drug Offences

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were fined between £1,000 and £2,500 for possessing (a) cannabis, (b) heroin and (c) cocaine in each year since 1993. [48443]

Paul Goggins: The information requested is given in the table as follows.
People fined between £1,000 and £2,500 for drug possession offences1, 2 England and Wales

Drug type

(54) HM Revenue and Customs data not available. Figures derived from police and court data.
(55) Offenders are included in this table if they are fined for their principal offence i.e the offence for which they were given the most severe penalty.


Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many penalty notices have been issued in relation to the illegal use of fireworks in Suffolk since the relevant legislation was introduced. [58509]

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 Suffolk 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, Suffolk police force area 2004 and January—September 2005 provisional figures

Police forceThrowing fireworksBreach of fireworks curfewPossession of a category 4 fireworkPossession by under 18 of adult firework
January—September 2005(56)2

(56) Provisional.
RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform

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Forced Marriages

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to ensure proper training for relevant professionals in respect of guidance published on forced marriages. [60470]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

We work hard to distribute the guidelines on dealing with cases of forced marriage as widely as possible to police, education professionals and social workers. This year, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) will also be producing guidelines for health professionals and registrars. As part of its core work, the FMU conducts an extensive programme of outreach work with statutory agencies. One of the objectives of this programme is to contribute to training on handling forced marriage cases and to support the implementation of the guidance documents.

We are working with our colleagues from the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Centre for Policing Excellence to look at how we monitor the implementation of the guidelines for police. Forced marriage is already built into the risk assessment framework for police. This is being supported by training and adopted by police forces around the country, within the domestic violence portfolio.

Forensic Medical Examiners

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the role of forensic medical examiners. [57775]

Hazel Blears: Forensic medical examiners, together with other healthcare professionals, have a key role in relation to the care and welfare of those detained in police custody, victims and police officers injured on duty. As well as considering clinical needs they may be asked to provide forensic input to the investigative process by documenting and interpreting injuries or taking forensic samples. They may also be required to advise the police in a range of circumstances; for example, as to whether a death presents any suspicious circumstances.

Home Curfews

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on drug testing arrangements for home detention curfew detainees. [59301]

Fiona Mactaggart: Offenders released from custody on home detention curfew (HOC) who are also subject to supervision by the probation service (licence or notice of supervision for 18–21 year olds) may be drug tested if they are:

Prolific or other priority offenders (PPOs) as defined by the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership for the area in which they live

23 Mar 2006 : Column 604W

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the report of Tim Gbedemah into allegations of corruption within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate concerning the allocation of visas. [60000]

Mr. McNulty: I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement which was laid on 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 96WS, along with a copy of the report.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long he expects it to take to complete the investigation into the member of staff in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate accused of sexual misconduct with a visa applicant. [60001]

Mr. McNulty: An investigation into the allegation is now being conducted by IND's security and anti-corruption unit (SACU) as a priority but I cannot estimate how long it might take at this stage.

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