Previous Section Index Home Page

28 Jun 2006 : Column 502W—continued

Cash Delivery Crime

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures (a) have been introduced since 1997 and (b) are planned to combat violent crime against cash delivery personnel in (i) rural and (ii) urban areas. [80398]

Mr. Coaker: Since 1997 the security industry and the police have introduced a number of measures to combat cash-in-transit (CIT) attacks. This includes disseminating good practice, increased use of technology to protect CIT deliveries and close working between the industry and the police to share intelligence relating to cash-in-transit robberies.

Earlier this year the then Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety, my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Hazel Blears) met with representatives of the GMB Union, Group Four Security and the BSIA to identify the next steps to address the problem issue of cash-in-transit robberies.

Officials have continued to meet with the representatives as recently as 22 June, and are developing a programme to address a number of issues around CIT attacks. This includes engaging other Government departments on how to implement environmental crime reduction measures, developing good practice guidance in conjunction with ACPO, and examining delivery procedures that expose CIT personnel to the risk of attack. This work will include sending out a strong deterrent message to perpetrators of such crimes.

This is in addition to the continued work to tackle violent crime involving guns and other weapons.


Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use of closed circuit television footage in (a) deterring and (b) prosecuting offenders who commit assaults on the street. [71630]

Mr. McNulty: CCTV can be an important tool in the fight against crime and disorder. However, evidence shows that its potential has not been fully realised and that a national strategy is needed. The Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers are undertaking a review of CCTV, to determine how it may be used more effectively in reducing and detecting crime and terrorism. The review’s findings will be known in the autumn.

28 Jun 2006 : Column 503W

On the subject of deterrence, some work has already been done. In the recent Home Office evaluation of CCTV (Gill, M., and Spriggs, A. (2005) Assessing the Impact of CCTV. Home Office Research Study 292. London: Home Office,, it appears that the likelihood of certain types of offence being committed was affected by the presence of cameras. It is the offences where the offender does a quick target ‘risk assessment’ that tend to be affected by the presence of CCTV.

The Home Office has no figures available on the extent of, or success of the use of CCTV in the context of the prosecution of offenders who commit offences.

Child Trafficking

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received on child trafficking in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [76364]

Mr. Coaker: The consultation exercise on proposals for a UK action plan on human trafficking, which ran from January-April this year, received 180 responses. 65 of these raised issues around child trafficking. A summary of the consultation responses was published on 21 June. The responses will contribute towards the development of the UK action plan on human trafficking which will include actions specific to child trafficking.

Additionally, the cross Government ministerial group on human trafficking is working in partnership with non-Government organisations (NGOs) in tackling human trafficking. A separate stakeholder child trafficking forum, led by the Home Office meets regularly, providing an opportunity for Government officials and NGO representatives to discuss key issues.

Clear-up Rates

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of crimes notified to the police but not cleared up in (a) 1997 and (b) 2004. [80177]

Mr. McNulty: There were 3,340,094 undetected crimes in England and Wales in 1997 and 4,245,654 in 2004. The two figures are not comparable because of changes to the detections counting rules implemented in April 1999.


Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will obtain a reply to the letter of 24 April 2006 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton to Mr. K. Sheehan of the UK Passport Service with regard to Mrs. C. Lim; and what the reason is for the delay in replying hitherto. [80695]

John Reid: The letter of 24 April was received in Kevin Sheehan’s office on 25 April. Unfortunately, due to an administrative error, the letter has been mislaid.

28 Jun 2006 : Column 504W

Mr. Sheehan has personally contacted the office of my right hon. Friend to apologise for the delay and has obtained a copy of the letter. A reply will be sent on 29 June.

Crime Statistics

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made of the impact on public perception and fear of crime of listing separately as public order offences in crime statistics multiple alcohol-related offences committed at night. [55504]

Mr. McNulty: The Home Office has not made an assessment of the impact on public perceptions of the recording or reporting of particular crimes.

The British Crime Survey routinely provides information on crimes where the offender was perceived to be under the influence of alcohol, and separately also provides information on people’s worry about crime, including violent crime. The BCS does not measure people’s perceptions of alcohol-related violence specifically, but does measure people’s perceptions of antisocial behaviour including people being drunk or rowdy in public places. This information is routinely published in the annual volume and quarterly updates for ‘Crime in England and Wales’.

According to the 2004-05 BCS 16 per cent. of people were very worried about violent crime, and 22 per cent. of the people said that people being drunk or rowdy in public places was a fairly or very big problem in their local area. Based on the 2004-05 BCS victims believed the offender or offenders to be under the influence of alcohol in about half of all violent incidents (48 per cent.). This information is available in the Library, and via Home Office website http://www.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of reported crime in the Humberside Police Authority area resulted in a conviction in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [80453]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not available. Recorded crime data are based on offences and court proceedings data are based on offenders. The two data series are therefore not directly comparable.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalty clauses exist in the contract with Capita for the operation of the Criminal Records Bureau; and if he will list occasions on which such clauses have been invoked. [75297]

Joan Ryan: Capita do not operate the Criminal Records Bureau. The disclosure service operates as a contract between the Criminal Records Bureau and Capita Business Services based upon a public private partnership agreement. Under this agreement, Capita are required to perform contractually specified Services
28 Jun 2006 : Column 505W
and to develop, deliver and maintain the technical infrastructure of the disclosure service. This is to enable the Home Office to discharge its responsibilities under part V of the Police Act 1997 and other supporting legislation including the Protection of Children Act, 1999, to make available to approved organisations information regarding the criminal or related background of individuals.

Other services carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau that are not undertaken by Capita are carried out by civil servants and include the sensitive matching of an applicant’s personal details to records held on the Police National Computer (PNC) and other lists held by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills.

A contract schedule sets out the service levels for Capita to meet. A further schedule sets out the service credits that apply should Capita fail to meet the agreed service levels. There is provision within this contract for liquidated damages to be charged in the event of late delivery to agreed changes in the service.

In each year since financial year 2001-02, the following payments have been received from Capita for service credits and liquidated damages:












The hon. Member will appreciate that with a contract of this size and complexity, the CRB would not be able to list and explain the context of each occasion when service credits and liquidated damages have occurred without employing disproportionate resources.

However, as an illustration, between August 2001 and November 2001, liquidated damages were applied due to the delays in launching the disclosure service and some of the associated services. Subsequent service credits were also applied in 2003 for operational delays within the disclosure process. These payments relate to the early years of the service.

The contract was originally estimated at £400 million to run over 10 years. In each year since financial year 2001-02, CRB have paid Capita the following as service payments:

£ million











There have been no performance related-payments made in any of the above financial years.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have received an incorrect assessment from the Criminal Records Bureau in each year since its inception; and if he will make a statement. [77484]

28 Jun 2006 : Column 506W

Joan Ryan: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has issued 8.9 million disclosures since its launch in March 2002 to 31 March 2006. In that time, there have been 2,273 occasions where disclosure applicant details were matched by the CRB to a person with the same or very similar details who has a criminal record and, where the details had been challenged by the applicant, their dispute was subsequently upheld. The following table illustrates the breakdown, in each financial year.

Upheld disputes
Financial year Number of disclosures issued Number Percentage





















These cases are clearly regrettable, but represent a very small proportion of cases—0.025 per cent. of the total number of disclosures issued.

CRB staff use searching and matching techniques and arrangements approved by police forces. As with the police, when making their decision they must bear in mind that the source of much of the information recorded on the police national computer (PNC) database is provided by the individual concerned at the time of his or her arrest. CRB have to consider that the individual may deliberately choose to give or, in the heat of the moment, may be confused and give incomplete or incorrect information. The CRB is acutely aware of the human consequences of making an incorrect matching decision and does not do so lightly.

There may also be occasions when a person’s identity has been stolen or their personal details used when someone else is in contact with the police. It is for these reasons that the CRB must err on the side of caution when an individual has the same or very similar personal details to those of someone who has a criminal record. This is because it is better to be safe than run the risk of letting an inappropriate person through.

When a disclosure is disputed the only safe way to resolve the situation is by asking the applicant to have his or her fingerprints taken at a local police station to help either confirm or overturn the original matching decision. There have been instances where the fingerprinting procedure has confirmed that an individual who has challenged the accuracy or the validity of the conviction information has been subsequently proved to be the owner of that conviction record.

The CRB will always apologise if the original matching decision is later found to be incorrect. In the event of a dispute the CRB notifies the prospective employer who would be aware of the CRB’s code of practice that asks them not to take any precipitative action and defer any employment decision until the dispute is resolved. When a disclosure is disputed the CRB will inform all parties that this is the case, including the employer. Where the information contained in the disclosure is found not to relate to the
28 Jun 2006 : Column 507W
applicant, a fresh disclosure will be issued free-of-charge to both the applicant and the registered body. 90 per cent. of disputes are resolved within 21 days.

A public consultation exercise was conducted in October 2003 about making greater use of fingerprinting at an earlier stage in the application process and to aid the matching and decision-making procedures. The overwhelming response was not in favour of such a measure.

It is worth noting that under the previous police checking arrangements, individuals were not able to see the criminal records information disclosed about them. The information would have been passed only to the prospective employer and not to the job applicant and the prospective employer would have had no obligation to pass on the contents of the information to the individual.

Criminal Records Data

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are in place for sharing criminal records data of individuals from European Union countries admitted to the UK under the Workers Registration Scheme; and if he will make a statement. [79472]

Mr. McNulty: There are currently no arrangements in place for sharing criminal records of individuals from EU member states under the Workers Registration Scheme. The scheme exists to monitor the labour market impact of nationals of the new member states taking employment in the UK. It does not regulate their entry nor their fitness to take a particular job, and those registering under the scheme are not asked to provide details of criminal convictions.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consultation has taken place with law enforcement professionals in the UK on the European Union pilot project on the sharing of EU citizens’ criminal records; and if he will make a statement; [79419]

(2) whether the UK plans to take part in the European Union pilot project on the sharing of the criminal records of EU residents; and if he will make a statement. [79460]

Mr. McNulty: The European Union has put in place a Council Decision on the sharing of criminal conviction information between member states. There has been active consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland) and the Police Service for Northern Ireland to ensure that the UK has arrangements in place to comply with the Council Decision.

It is proposed for the future enhancement of these arrangements to introduce an electronic method for exchanging criminal record information. To this end there is currently a ‘pilot’ taking place between Germany, Belgium, Spain and France. Further consultation with the relevant parties will be carried out before a decision is taken on whether to join the pilot.

Next Section Index Home Page