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6 Jun 2006 : Column 504W—continued

Road Maintenance

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of roads maintained by the Highways Agency are covered by automatic number plate recognition cameras. [74733]

Dr. Ladyman: The National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC), which operates the majority of automatic number plate recognition cameras for the Highways Agency, currently covers about 90 per cent. of the trunk road network. Over the next couple of years this is expected to increase to around 99 per cent.


Atomic Weapons Establishment

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for changes in the number of scientists working on hydrodynamic testing at Aldermaston. [73816]

Des Browne: In the absence of the ability to undertake nuclear testing given that the UK has signed and ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty, it is necessary to invest in hydrodynamic testing to provide assurance that the existing Trident warhead stockpile is reliable and safe. It is planned to increase the number of scientists working on hydrodynamics testing at AWE from 70 to 95 over the next three years.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Atomic Weapons Establishment has conducted studies into the use of (a) hydrodynamic test facilities at Aldermaston for developing new nuclear warheads, (b) hydrodynamic testing to build a nuclear weapon without having to use underground testing of such a weapon and (c) hydrodynamic test facilities at Aldermaston for developing a new warhead. [73818]

Des Browne: Hydrodynamics testing is essential in underwriting the safety and reliability of the existing stockpile without recourse to nuclear testing. There is no programme at Aldermaston to develop a new nuclear warhead.

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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total capital cost of the new Hydrodynamics Research Facility being considered by the Atomic Weapons Establishment is expected to be. [73820]

Des Browne: A number of options are under consideration. Mature costings are not available.


Identity Crimes

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Solicitor-General what plans he has to improve co-operation between the Crown Prosecution Service and the police in order to bring more prosecutions for identity theft and identity fraud. [74865]

The Solicitor-General: There already is significant cooperation between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service on ID theft and fraud issues.

The CPS is part of the ID fraud Steering Committee. The CPS was active in the setting up of the single point of contact scheme for identity crime issues within Government agencies and police forces in England and Wales. The scheme facilitates the gathering of evidence in order to bring the strongest cases before the courts.

In addition the CPS also has experienced prosecutors to give advice to the police on most charging and related evidential issues 24 hours a day via CPS Direct and local charging centres.

It is a matter for the police whether or not, or how, they will investigate an allegation that is referred to them. The CPS has no power to direct them regarding this. Following investigation, the police will decide whether to seek advice on charge, alternative disposals or to take no further action.

If the police seek advice on charging the CPS will review the case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and decide whether the case ought to be prosecuted and the most appropriate charge.

Information Technology

Chris Huhne: To ask the Solicitor-General how much was spent on information technology (IT) sourced from outside his Department in each of the last five years; who is responsible for such projects in his Department; and what IT (a) expertise and (b) qualifications they possess. [71777]

The Solicitor-General: I am answering this question on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Treasury Solicitors Department (TSol), the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO), HMCPS Inspectorate and my own Department. Figures for the latter two Departments are included in those for the CPS and the SFO respectively. In some cases it has not been possible to differentiate between payments to external companies and internal project costs; and figures for
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2005-06 are, in some instances, provisional as final year accounts are being settled. The figures are shown in the following table.

£ million






















The Director of the CPS's Business Information Systems Directorate is the Department's Chief Information Office (CIO). The CIO has worked in the private sector in IT for about 15 years prior to joining the CPS and her experience is supplemented by an MBA.

The Director of the CPS's Business Development Directorate is the Senior Responsible Officer for the COMPASS programme. The Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Committee provides assurance to the CPS Board that ICT strategies and policies support delivery of the business strategy and PSA targets; provide value for money; and make the maximum contribution to joined-up IT across the CPS.

The CPS Programme and Project Management Centre of Excellence has responsibility for portfolio oversight of all CPS business change programmes and projects and provides expert guidance on programme and project management.

Within TSol the person responsible for IS projects in the IS Division is the Director Information Systems; she holds a Master of Science degree from City University in Business Systems Analysis and Design with many years experience both within and outside central Government.

All SFO projects are led by a Senior Responsible Office, usually at Assistant Director level, and are reviewed regularly under OCG Gateway procedures at critical stages of their lifestyle. The persons within the SFO whose responsibility it is to monitor such projects have extensive IT experience—over 15 years—with the public and private sectors as well as a wide variety of IT related degrees and professional qualifications.

RCPO has recently created a new post, Head of Information Services, and this was filled on 3 May 2006 initially for a six month period, by an IT Professional with 18 years experience in the IT industry and with technical, project management and service delivery expertise. He also has considerable experience in working with UK central Government. As well as receiving a considerable amount of technical and professional training from a previous employee, IBM, he has a Diploma in Business Studies.

Leased Land

Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General what (a) land and (b) property his Department (i) leases and (ii) leased in (A) 1979, (B) 1983, (C) 1987, (D) 1992 and (E) 1997 in (1) the Southend West constituency, (2) Essex, (3) Hertfordshire and (4) the Metropolitan Police area of London. [72131]

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The Solicitor-General: I am answering this question on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, HMCPS Inspectorate, the Treasury Solicitors Department and my own office. The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office did not come into existence until April 2005 and is therefore not covered by the question.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) holds no relevant records prior to 1996. Prior to that date property records were held by Property Holdings, and prior to 1990 such records were held by the Property Services Agency. The CPS holds no land in any of the geographical regions referred to. Nor did it hold any land in those geographical regions in 1997. At present, the CPS holds leases for the following premises by location:

In 1997, the property leases held by the CPS were:

The Treasury Solicitor's Department currently leases offices at One Kemble Street, London, WC2B 4TS which is in (4) the Metropolitan Police area. It previously had a freehold and long leasehold interest in its offices at Queen Anne's Chambers, 28 Broadway, London SW1H 9JS, which is in (4) the Metropolitan
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Police area which it occupied in all the relevant years. It has not held any leases in (1) the electoral constituency of Southend West, (2) Essex, or (3) Hertfordshire.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is based in Elm House, which falls within the Metropolitan Police District. The lease for Elm House started in June 1988 and expires in 2012.

SFO have not held other leases for the years given.

SFO has not held leases for property in Southend West, Essex or Hertfordshire.

HMCPS Inspectorate is based at 26/28 Old Queen Street in the London Metropolitan area. The building is held on a 25 year lease until 2011.

My own office is in leased accommodation at Buckingham Gate, the lease expiring in April 2007.

Ministerial Visits (Accommodation)

David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General what the total cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants and (b) special advisors in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in each of the last three years. [69010]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers' Departments had no special advisers in the period in question.

The total cost of overnight accommodation for civil servants in the years 2003-04 to 2005-06 is provided broken down, where possible, into the requested locations. In some instances the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost because details on location are not always held centrally (Crown Prosecution Service) or overnight accommodation costs cannot be separated from subsistence payments (SFO for 2003-04 and Treasury Solicitor's Department).

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Department/Year Great Britain Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland Other Countries

Crown Prosecution Service







Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office( 1)






Serious Fraud Office









HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate







Attorney General's Office
















(1) RCPO was established on 18 April 2005.

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