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DNA Databases

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the likelihood of chance matches of DNA samples from degraded or limited samples; and if he will make a statement. [63146]

Andy Burnham: The National DNA Database (NDNAD) currently uses SGM Plus profiling technology which tests for 10 areas of DNA (known as short tandem repeats or STRS) at each of which there are two markers (i.e. a total of 20 markers). The Government have every confidence in the SGM Plus profiling system but recognises that it should keep its reliability and level of discrimination under review.

The NDNAD contains the profiles of over 3 million individuals. We are not aware of any chance match between two full SGM Plus profiles for unrelated individuals having been obtained to date. However, as the size of the NDNAD grows and as more international comparisons are made with other countries' DNA profiles, the probability, although remaining very small, will increase.

Subject samples taken from persons on arrest are very unlikely to be degraded or limited in quantity. The probability of a chance match between full SGM Plus profiles from samples from two unrelated subjects is less than one in a thousand million. If the subjects are related, the likelihood of a match by chance is higher; for siblings it is of the order of one in 10,000.

Approximately half of all crime scene samples yield a partial profile i.e. a profile with less than 10 STR areas. This is because the DNA collected at crime scenes is either limited in quantity or degraded. Developments inDNA technology now allow DNA profiles to be obtained from small amounts of DNA although these may often prove to be partial profiles. The probability of a chance match of a partial crime scene sample profile with a profile from someone other than the true offender will vary, depending on how many markers are present in the partial crime scene profile and whether the innocent person involved in the chance match is related to the offender.
 
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Recent research studies by the European DNA Profiling Group (EDNAP) and the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) have demonstrated that the success rate for analysis of degraded samples (which yield partial profiles) improved by using recently developed tests for markers based on shorter lengths of DNA (mini STRs).

The international scientific community have agreed that the best way forward would be to develop a new test system using 13 or 16 STR areas, including some mini STRs. This would also need to take account of the divergent requirements of the different European countries. The time scale for the development and introduction of a new test system would be a commercial decision by the companies that make the new test system and it is estimated that this development could take around two years. Home Office officials are actively involved in taking forward this work which will help in obtaining fuller profiles from limited or degraded samples, hence reducing the probability of chance matches occurring.

Drug Users (Illegal Income)

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the average annual illegal income of arrested (a) heroin and (b) crack users. [47717]

Mr. Charles Clarke: We do not have the information requested.

However some information on illegal income among arrested drug users in a sample of 16 custody suites is provided in research published by the Home Office in 2004 from the New English and Welsh Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Programme (NEW ADAM). The report of the survey is available on the Home Office website (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/rdsolr1904.pdf)

Easter Celebrations

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of Easter celebrations in prisons in England and Wales in 2006. [67099]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Prison Service—Public Sector Prisons—does not routinely capture the costs of celebrating religious festivals. An answer to this question could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Equal Pay

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are taken to ensure that women in his Department receive equal pay for work of equal value. [65711]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office has since 2003 undertaken regular equal pay audits of its pay systems. These audits are undertaken on an annual basis following the implementation of pay awards. In addition, a more comprehensive equality proofing exercise of reward policies and practices are undertaken every three years. The findings of the equal pay audits and equality proofing exercises are shared with
 
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employee representatives. Where there are any equal pay concerns or issues, these are addressed through an equal action plan which in turn provides a direct input into the normal pay determination process with employee representatives.

EU Nationals

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of nationals of the new EU member states who (a) have worked in the UK since 1 May 2004 for periods of less than 28 days and (b) have spent some time working in the UK since 1 May 2004 and have subsequently left the UK; and if he will make a statement. [67113]

Mr. McNulty: All European economic area (EEA) nationals have a right of free movement and residence in the United Kingdom. Accession state nationals are not subject to immigration control, and if they are working for less than 30 days, have no requirement to register with the workers registration scheme (WRS). As such there are no reliable estimates of the numbers of accession state nationals who have worked for less than 28 days.

The WRS does not measure net migration (inflows minus outflows). Rather, it gives gross figures for the number of workers applying to the scheme. An individual who has registered to work and who leaves employment is not required to de-register, so some of those counted will have left employment and some are likely to have left the UK.

Extradition Act

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether applications to extradite British citizens to the United States under the terms of the Extradition Act 2003 are required to be accompanied by prima facie evidence. [63193]

Andy Burnham: Under the Extradition Act 2003, and the Extradition Act 2003 (Designation of Part two Territories) Order 2003, extradition requests by the United States are not required to be accompanied by prima facie evidence. Instead, requests from the US are required to show information that would justify the issue of a warrant for the arrest of the person concerned. There is no distinction in the Extradition Act 2003 nor in its predecessor legislation between British citizens and those of other nationalities.

Family Deportations

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many families with children detained as a family unit in centres were removed fromthe UK (a) as a family unit and (b) with some family members on different flights in (i) 2005 and (ii)2006; [66515]

(2) in how many cases where a family with children was detained some family members were removed from the UK and others remained in the UK in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006. [66516]


 
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Mr. McNulty: IND does not have a central record of the number of people detained and removed from the UK as part of a family unit. However, given the sensitive nature of family cases, all family removals are handled carefully. Since 23 November 2005, the Immigration Service has sought ministerial authority on every case when the removal of a family or individuals would result in a family unit being separated. Since that date we have sought ministerial authority on five occasions.

Human Trafficking

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what resources of his Department have been allocated to combat human trafficking. [64050]

Paul Goggins: In March 2000 a multi-agency Government taskforce 'Reflex', chaired by the National Crime Squad, was set up to deal with organised immigration crime. Its remit is to co-ordinate the enforcement response to such issues, both nationally and internationally, and to develop the intelligence and strategic planning to underpin this. Reflex continues to receive an annual allocation of £20 million from the Home Office.

Also in March 2003 a Home Office-funded pilot scheme was launched in partnership with Eaves Housing for Women (the POPPY scheme) to provide safe accommodation and tailored one-to-one support for adult female victims who have been trafficked into the UK and into prostitution. The POPPY scheme was established as a small-scale pilot project and has recently been formally evaluated. On the basis of the positive evaluation findings, Ministers announced on 7 April 2006 additional funding of £2.4 million over two years to expand the excellent service provided through the POPPY scheme.


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