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8 Jun 2006 : Column 820Wcontinued
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many shoplifting cases were brought before the courts in each of the last 10 years; how many cases in each year led to (a) an acquittal and (b) a conviction; and how many of those defendants were facing their first criminal charge. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Information held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts, acquitted and found guilty at all courts for theft from shops for the years 1994 to 2004 in England and Wales, are provided in the following table.
It is not possible to identify how many defendants were facing their first criminal charge from the data held on the court proceedings database. Data for 2005 will be available in the autumn.
|Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts, found guilty or acquitted at all courts of theft from shops( 1) England and Wales, 1994-2004|
|Proceeded against( 2)||Found guilty||Acquitted (magistrates court)( 3)||Acquitted (Crown Court|
|(1 )These data are provided on the principal offence basis (2 )The prosecution figures include cases that were discontinued or withdrawn at the magistrates court as well as cases that were committed to the Crown Court but not tried. (3 )Offenders who were discharged or had cases dismissed at magistrates courts Source: RDS-Office for Criminal Justice Reform|
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department has received evidence that the Stansted hijacking was also part of a people smuggling operation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Coaker: We have received no evidence that the Stansted hijacking was part of a people smuggling operation. Our current understanding is that the purpose of the hijack was to claim asylum.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK passports were reported (a) lost and (b) stolen in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. 
Joan Ryan [holding answer 7 June 2006]: It is not possible for the UK Passport Service to identify exactly how many passports were reported lost or stolen in Northern Ireland. However, the Belfast passport office, which serves the Northern Ireland area, processed the following reports of (a) loss and (b) theft of a passport for the calendar years of 2004, 2005 and 2006 to date.
The total figures across the UK for the last three years are as follows:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to revise the Workers Registration Scheme to (a) increase the level of registration and (b) reduce illegal working. 
Mr. Byrne: In developing and implementing the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) we have sought to strike the right balance between the objective of monitoring the labour market impact of enlargement and avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy. The Government believe that the WRS has worked well to date as a means of monitoring impacts and as a safeguard against illegal working and fraudulent access to benefits. However, we will continue to keep the need for the scheme under review.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on progress made in training Afghan police in Helmand province. 
Dr. Howells: The Government of Afghanistan's National Police Reform Programme has not, up to now, reached the southern provinces and training of the National Afghan Police (ANP) in Helmand province has been slow. This has been largely due to the difficult security situation in southern Afghanistan which has hampered the International Community's efforts to provide training and follow-up support. Since the establishment of the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand on 1 May 2006, the UK has been working closely with the provincial government and the Ministry of Interior to accelerate progress. At the beginning of this year there were around 1,700 ANP in Helmand, of varying levels of expertise. Many will need additional training. Approximately 200 additional trained ANP officers have since been redeployed from elsewhere in Afghanistan to reinforce the current force levels while new recruits are trained and equipped under the German/US police training programme. The pay and rank review currently underway will determine the final shape of the police structure in Helmand.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions the British Embassy in Eritrea has had with the Eritrean Government about the imprisonment of Eritrean citizens for belonging to Christian churches not recognised by the Government. 
Mr. Hoon: We remain concerned by reports of state interference in religious affairs and lack of freedom of worship in Eritrea. We monitor closely action taken by the authorities against members of minority religious groups not recognised by the Government of Eritrea.
Officials from our Embassy in Asmara continue to raise these issues with the Eritrean Government. As local EU presidency, the UK also conveys the EU's concerns, including through the EU-Eritrea Political Dialogue on Constitutional and Human Rights. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, wrote to President Isaias on 6 October expressing our concern and has raised this with the Eritrean Ambassador.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Indian Government on the enactment of the Rajasthan Dharma Swatantrata Act in Rajasthan which prohibits religious conversion. 
Dr. Howells: It is for the Indian authorities to decide how to deal with this issue. However we have raised this in response to legitimate UK public and parliamentary interest.
Officials from our High Commission in New Delhi raised this when they called on the Chair of the National Commission for Minorities in April.
Although the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly approved this Act in April, we understand that the State Governor of Rajasthan refused to sign the bill when it was presented to her on 19 May.
We will continue to monitor the situation.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the temporary international mechanism envisaged by the Middle East Quartet will channel humanitarian aid to the Palestinians; and how many public employees' salaries will be paid through that mechanism. 
Dr. Howells: The European Commission is continuing to discuss how the Temporary International Mechanism will operate with international donors, Quartet members and International Financial Institutions. The Mechanism seeks to provide support without funds passing through the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
The payment of allowances to individual Palestinians is one of the areas under discussion. But we must be clear that the Mechanism cannot and does not seek to replace the role of the Palestinian Authority. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian government to pay its employees' salaries. The Government fully supports the Quartet statement of 9 May which said that donors were willing to restart direct support to the Palestinian Authority as soon as the Palestinian Authority government meets and implements the three Quartet principles. The
full text of the 9 May statement can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:
Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on UN Security Council expansion. 
Dr. Howells: The Government supports expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council. This is essential to ensure that the Council remains representative of today's world. We continue to support the candidatures of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil for permanent seats on an enlarged Council, and for permanent African representation.
As my right. hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in his Georgetown speech on 26 May, we want renewed momentum in the debate on Security Council enlargement.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Prime Minister in respect of which official duties he used 32 (The Royal) Squadron for flights on (a) 11 and 12 April 2002, (b) 3 and 4 July 2003, (c) 30 July 2003, (d) 16 September 2004, (e) 29 September 2003, (f) 24 July 1998 and (g) 26 June 1998; what the approximate take-off and landing times were of each flight; whether the carbon emissions were offset in respect of each flight; what other transport options were considered on each occasion; why other transport options were not used; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: I travel making the most efficient and cost-effective arrangements. My travel arrangements are in accordance with the arrangements for official travel set out in chapter 10 of the Ministerial Code, and the accompanying guidance document Travel by Ministers. My visits cover a range of matters including health, education, criminal justice and the economy.
Details of the approximate take-off and landing times are as follows:
(a) 11 April 2002 the flight departed at approximately 3 pm and returned at approximately 5.30 pm; on 12 April 2002 the flight departed at approximately 9 am and returned at approximately 12.30 pm
(b) 3-4 July 2003, the flight departed at approximately 1 pm and returned at approximately 1 pm.
(c) 30 July 2003, 32 (The Royal) Squadron flight was not used.
(d) 16 September 2004, 32 (The Royal) Squadron flight was not used.
(e) 29 September 2003, 32 (The Royal) Squadron flight was not used.
(f) 24 July 1998, the flight departed at approximately 8.30 am and returned at approximately 8.30 pm.
(g) 26 June 1998, the flight departed at approximately 8.30 am and returned at approximately 11am.
Carbon emissions arising from 32 squadron flights are now included in the Governments carbon emissions offsetting commitment. My air travel has been offset for the last year.
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