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5 Jun 2006 : Column 55W—continued


Correspondence

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the immigration and nationality directorate will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Warley of 17 January on behalf of Mrs. McLeish, Meadow Road, Oldbury. [67205]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the right hon. Member to the written answer given on 2 May 2006, Official Report, column 1407W.

Crime Statistics

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the level of crime in (a) Cornwall and (b) England and Wales in 2005-06. [72777]


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Mr. McNulty: The latest crime statistics for England and Wales were published in Home Office Statistical Bulletin 06/06 entitled ‘Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Update to December 2005’. The publication gives recorded crime statistics for the first three quarters of financial year 2005-06 and is available at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb0606.pdf

Detailed statistics at police force area level for 2005-06 will be published on 20 July.

Deportation

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deportees have returned to the UK because their destination country refused them entry in each of the last five years. [73337]

Mr. Byrne: Such information on returned cases could only be obtained through examination of individual Home Office case files and this would be at disproportionate cost.

Published statistics on immigration and asylum issues are available on the Home Office research Development and statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

Domestic Violence

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he has made to the Sentencing Guidelines Council recommendations on domestic violence. [72505]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The guidelines prepared by the Sentencing Guidelines Council are currently out for consultation and it would be inappropriate to make any comment at this stage.

EU Criminal Proceedings

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of whether the current proposals for a framework decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union would grant new rights to persons arrested in the United Kingdom; and what his policy is on the proposal. [73225]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Member states have not been able to reach agreement on the original text proposed for this framework decision, and a revised text is now being considered. If a revised text were to be formally tabled for discussion it would be subject to negotiation in the usual way. Intimations received as to the contents of a revised text suggest that it will be shorter and less ambitious.

We will lodge an explanatory memorandum on any new text that is referred to the relevant council working group.


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IND (Marriage Visas)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long he expects it will take to clear the backlog at the immigration and nationality directorate for those awaiting marriage visas. [71269]

Mr. Byrne: Certificate of Approval applications are being considered in line with our published service standards (70 per cent. of cases within 20 working days and 90 per cent. within 70 working days). At present these standards are being exceeded.

Intermediate Custodial Sentences

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many defendants received immediate custodial sentences from (a) Wrexham magistrates court and (b) Crown courts to which defendants were committed from Wrexham magistrates court in the last five years for which records are available. [71314]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The information requested is shown in the table.

Defendants sentenced and those receiving immediate custody at Wrexham magistrates court and at the Crown court having been committed from Wrexham magistrates court
Wrexham magistrates court The Crown court (having been committed from Wrexham MC)
Total defendants sentenced Number given immediate custody Total defendants sentenced Number given immediate custody

2000

4,061

190

200

146

2001

3,778

161

138

107

2002

4,780

202

141

98

2003

4,826

171

208

166

2004

5,818

199

159

119

Source: RDS-NOMS 16 May 2006

Mandatory Sentences

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many mandatory life sentences for offenders convicted of violent offences for the second time have been handed down in each of the last five years. [69746]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The information requested is published in Table 2.7 of 'Sentencing Statistics, England and Wales, 2004 (page 28). This publication can be found in the Library and also on the Home Office website, as follows:http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/hosb1505.pdf .

Migrant Workers

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who are likely to come to work in the UK when Bulgaria and Romania accede to the European Union. [68532]


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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 8 May 2006]: The Home Office is reviewing relevant data and research in the area. The final decision on what kind of labour access should be granted to Bulgaria and Romania will be taken once the date of their accession to the European Union is known.

National Asylum Support Service

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to publish details of the recent review by the director general of the immigration and nationality directorate of the operation of the National Asylum Support Service; and if he will make a statement. [70563]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 February 2006, Official Report, column 1276W.

Non-Emergency Crime Line

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost will be to callers of using the new 101 non-emergency crime line. [69368]

Mr. McNulty: The cost of calls to the new 101 single non-emergency number has been set at 10p per call following consultation with a wide group of stakeholders and research with the public. The research showed that a small fixed charge would not put people off calling the service but would reduce the likelihood of the service being abused. The Government, police and local authorities will not profit in any way from the 10p fixed charge for calls to the single non-emergency number. The charge will be retained by telecom providers to offset the substantial cost of carrying calls.

This fixed rate charge compares favourably with existing police and local authority non-emergency numbers many of which are charged at 0845 call rates which can cost as much as 10p per minute or more. Calls to 101 will be 10p per call regardless of length which means that callers are protected against additional cost if their call is longer and more complex.

The tariff will be reviewed once the service is in operation and has been evaluated with the aim of making it free to call the number in the future.

Open Prisons (Absconded Prisoners)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the level of absconds by prisoners from open prisons in England. [73501]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There were 702 absconds from open prisons in the financial year 2005-06. This represents the lowest figure for absconds in the last 10 years. However, the Prison Service recognises that this abscond rate needs to be reduced further and continues to drive forward work to meet this aim.


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Parole Boards

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have appealed against parole board decisions in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many were granted legal aid to do so. [69735]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There is no right of appeal as such against a decision of the parole board. The only legal remedy available to a prisoner wishing to challenge such a decision is to apply to the courts for judicial review. The following table, taken from the parole board’s annual report for 2004-05, gives a breakdown of the number of judicial reviews for each of the previous five years. The number of cases granted legal aid is not held centrally and to provide this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Judicial reviews of parole board decisions
Number

2000-01

71

2001-02

52

2002-03

59

2003-04

56

2004-05

56


Passports

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to offer pensioners a special rate for the purchase of (a) a new biometric passport and (b) an identity card; and what plans he has for arrangements for those already entitled to free passports. [71691]

Joan Ryan: There are no plans to discount biometric passports for pensioners. Those born prior to 2 September 1929 who are already entitled to free passports will continue to be eligible for free biometric passports.

The final schedule of fees for identity and passport service products after the introduction of identity cards is not yet settled and is partly dependent on the outcome of forthcoming procurement processes. However, due consideration will be given to current passport fee policies before the schedule is finalised and the Identity Cards Act provides that the first schedule of fees must be approved by Parliament through secondary legislation under the affirmative order procedure.

Persistent Offenders

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persistent and prolific offenders have been identified by the Northamptonshire police force. [72935]

Mr. McNulty: The four prolific and other priority offenders schemes operating in the Northamptonshire police area covering Corby, Kettering, Daventry and Wellingborough are working intensively with 208 such offenders . Across the East Midlands region, a total of 1,296 prolific and other priority offenders are being
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targeted as part of the Government's national programme to tackle the small number of highly active offenders who cause a disproportionate amount of harm to the communities in which they live.

Police

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the sickness absence rate was in the Cambridgeshire constabulary in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [71393]

Mr. McNulty: The available information is provided in the table.

Police Officer Sickness Absence( 1) in Cambridgeshire (2000-2005)
As at 31 March Average number of working days lost per officer Average number of working hours lost per officer

1997

11.1

1998

10.8

1999

11.9

2000

11.8

2001

13.3

2002

12.0

2003

11.4

2004

10.3

92.4

2005

98.3

(1) Prior to 2004, sickness data was recorded in days rather than hours. Figures from 1997-2003 were published in the Annual Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Figures after this time are taken from the Police Performance Monitoring Reports published by the Home Office


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the total costs of the National Policing Improvement Agency in each year between 2005-06 and 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. [71865]

Mr. McNulty: The NPIA will be established on 1 April 2007. The budget for financial year 2007-08 and thereafter has not been finalised.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) purpose and (b) objective is of the National Policing Improvement Agency; what its manpower requirement will be; and if he will make a statement. [71866]

Mr. McNulty: The purpose and objective of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is to deliver a step change in the provision of services to support operational policing and drive further improvements in the service, particularly in front-line delivery to the public. The NPIA will be police-owned and led. The exact staffing levels of the Agency have yet to be determined.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police stations there were in (a) Devon and (b) Cornwall in (i) 2006, (ii) 2002 and (iii) 1995. [72780]


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