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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many under-fives entitled to free nursery places on the Sure Start scheme are on waiting lists in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (b) Lewisham borough. 
Since April 2004, local authorities have had a statutory duty to secure sufficient nursery education places for all three and four-year-olds whose parents want one. The free nursery education entitlement consists of a minimum of 12. 5 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year and will be extended to 15 hours a week by 2010. By that time, parents who wish to do so will also be able to access the free entitlement flexibly across a minimum of three days.
Provisional national figures show that, in January 2006, almost all four-year-old children benefit from some free provision. The figure for three-year-olds is 96 per cent. The provisional figures for January 2006 were published in Statistical First Release 17/2006 Provision for children under five years of age in EnglandJanuary 2006 (provisional) on 27 April 2006 and are available on my Departments website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/
|Number of free nursery education places( 1) taken up by three and four-year-olds, Lewisham local authority|
|Position in January||Maintained nursery and primary schools( 2)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers||Total 3-year-olds||Maintained nursery and primary schools( 3)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers||Total 4-year-olds|
|(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 or 100 as appropriate. (2) Headcount of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Annual Schools Census. (3) Headcount of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Annual Schools Census. Notes: 1. Part-time equivalent number of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Annual Schools Census. 2. Part-time equivalent number of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Annual Schools Census.|
|Number of free nursery education places( 1) taken up by three and four-year-olds, Lewisham, Deptford parliamentary constituency|
|Position in January each year||Maintained nursery and primary schools( 2)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers( 3)||Total 3-year-olds||Maintained nursery and primary schools( 4)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers( 5)||Total 4-year-olds|
|(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 or 100 as appropriate. (2) Headcount of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Annual Schools Census. (3) Part-time equivalent number of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Annual Schools Census. (4) Headcount of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Annual Schools Census. (5) Part-time equivalent number of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Annual Schools Census.|
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions there have been for drug offences in Peterborough city council area in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Coaker: Drug offenders data cannot be broken down to local authority level. Available information relates to persons found guilty of drug offences at Peterborough's crown and magistrates courts. There were 137 in 2000,156 in 2001,160 in 2002, 220 in 2003 and 147 in 2004. Many offenders convicted in Peterborough courts will not be resident in the area covered by Peterborough city council.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the amount of heroin trafficked into the United Kingdom in 2005 which came through Scotland. 
Mr. Coaker: We estimate that about 25 to 35 tonnes of heroin enters the UK each year. The bulk is believed to enter through the English Channel ports and is subsequently distributed to all parts of the UK, including Scotland. Small amounts of cocaine are believed to be imported directly into Scotland, but there are no reliable estimates of the amounts.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of his Departments employees have taken early retirement due to ill-health in each of the past five years for which figures are available. 
Joan Ryan: The figures from the centrally managed Home Office and the Agencies, Identity and Passport Service, Public Sector Prison Service Agency, and Criminal Records Bureau are in the following table.
|Number of staff taken early retirement due to ill-health|
|(1) Less than 5.|
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that the biometric technology to be used in the proposed identity cards will prevent fraudulent copies being made. 
Joan Ryan: One of the main uses of biometric technology in the National Identity scheme is to make it much easier to detect unauthorised attempts by an individual to register more than one identity with the scheme.
The Government are taking specialist advice with regard to the specification for and implementation of biometric technologies. We are working with leading biometric experts from a number of world-leading institutions in the field, including the US National Institute for Standards and Technology, Cambridge University, San Jose University, the UK National Physical Laboratory and staff from the Communications-Electronic Security Group (CESG, part of GCHQ). This work is further supported by experience gained from colleagues in other schemes internationally, such as those in Hong Kong and the Philippines, as well as those parts of UK Government already using biometric technology, such as the Police Information Technology Organisation and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
In addition, there is an assurance process to ensure that advice taken on biometrics is robust and appropriate. Sir David King, the Government Chief Scientist, chairs a Biometric Assurance Group which includes other specialists in the biometric field that reviews such matters in relation to the National Identity scheme. Biometric processes will be supervised as well as supported by other more traditional security
procedures. For example, during the enrolment process, biometric checks are supported by checks on public and private databases to verify the information provided by applicants. A number of pieces of key supporting documentation may also be examined for consistency by trained examiners equipped to identify forgery. A fraud investigation unit will exist that will supervise enrolment and work with law enforcement agencies to investigate suspicious activities. It is the combination of both biometric technologies and such more traditional checks that will provide greater assurance of identity than exists today.
A specialist team has been employed to prepare both the security principles and requirements across the National Identity scheme, including biometrics. Their work is being supported by internationally recognised bodies from the fields of national security and law enforcement to technical experts in cryptography and electronic security. In particular, we are working closely with experts from CESG on such issues. This group of experts is highly experienced in dealing with processes and systems that require a high level of security. Security risk assessments have been undertaken on issues such as the physical, logical, procedural, personnel and systems aspects of the National Identity scheme as part of this work and such assessments are updated as the National Identity scheme develops.
Finally, the National Identity Register will need to pass an independent security accreditation process under Cabinet Office guidelines before the National Identity scheme can be launched, thus providing a further layer of independent scrutiny .
Joan Ryan: The Government takes the problem of identity fraud very seriously and there is a range of criminal offences in place to combat this problem, such as the deception offences in the Theft Act 1968 and 1978. On 7 June 2006 we also brought into force sections 25 and 26 of the Identity Cards Act 2006 which creates new criminal offences of being in possession or control of false identity documents. These offences relate to a wide range of identity documents, including passports, driving licences, ID cards and immigration documents. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment for an offence of possession with intent to use the document for establishing registrable facts (about the individual), and two years imprisonment for possession without reasonable excuse.
The number of criminal offences committed each year using the identity of a deceased person is not recorded centrally. But identity fraud questions have been incorporated into the British Crime Survey and the results should give us more information on the number of victims and the types of fraud that are being committed. In addition, CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention
Service for the private sector (mainly financial services companies), has conducted research into the extent of impersonation of deceased person fraud and has estimated that there were approximately 17,500 cases in 2001, 35,000 in 2002, 56,000 in 2003 and 70,000 in 2004. The 2004 figure represents 58 per cent. of the estimated 120,000 incidents of identity and impersonation fraud identified by CIFAS members in 2004.
The Government have been working with the public and private sector to look at ways to reduce impersonation of deceased person fraud. An amendment to the Police and Justice Bill was introduced at Report stage in the House of Commons on 10 May 2006, which will allow Registrars General in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to supply timely death registration information in bulk to the police and other organisations for use in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences.
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department further to the answer of 28 March 2006, Official Report, column 908W, on Khalid Rashid, whether an employee of the Government was (a) involved in or (b) present at the removal of Khalid Rashid from South Africa following his arrest on 31 October 2005 in Estcourt, Kwazulu Natal, on immigration grounds; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the reasons for the trend in the rate of knife crime among young adults; and what steps are being taken to reduce the incidence of such crime. 
Mr. McNulty: Lemos and Cranes study: Fear and Fashion: The use of knives and other weapons by young people which was published in 2004, provided an insight into these issues. The Communities that Care Safer London Youth Survey, published in 2005, includes data on the use of weapons by young people. The Youth Justice Board also commissioned a MORI Youth Survey in July 2004, containing information about young people and the carrying of knives.
On 24 May, we launched a nationwide knife amnesty, the first for 10 years. We are also taking steps to tighten legislation through measures in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, which will raise the age at which someone can be sold a knife from 16 to 18, introduce a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon, and give head teachers power to search pupils for knives. We are also supporting community work and education programmes which teach young people about the risks and consequences of knife carrying.
Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not collected centrally. Crimes specifically involving the use of a knife cannot be separately identified in the recorded crime statistics or the court proceedings data.
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