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Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the reasons for the decline in the use of home detention curfews during the first five months of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005 and 2004. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: We are aware that the number of prisoners released on HOC has fallen since 2004 and we are monitoring the situation. We aim to release all eligible prisoners who pass the risk assessment but public safety will not be compromised; prisoners who are considered to present a risk to the public will not be released on HOC. Officials are investigating the reasons for the decreasing numbers of prisoners released on HOC. The factors that may contribute to the numbers released on HOC are complex and more work needs to be done to analyse the available information.
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 19 June 2006]: The recently published document Rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the law-abiding majority reflected the results of a review carried out inside Government, informed by experience and research and by consultation with the frontline on how the Human Rights Act impacts on the criminal justice system. This revealed that the Human Rights Act provides a powerful framework to protect the rights of individuals but secure a proper balance with the safety of the law-abiding majority. It gives effect in UK law to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights to which we have been bound for over half a century.
The document stated that where the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg interprets the Convention in a way which prevents the proper application of this balance (in particular the 1996 Chahal case where the Court found the UK Government could not consider the protection as a balancing factor when arguing the case for the deportation of a dangerous person) we will work with European partners to challenge this.
The review also identified the need to do more to ensure that the Human Rights Act is not misinterpreted to prevent action to protect the public. In the light of recent cases such as the tragic murder of Naomi Bryant the Government are conducting a thorough review of how police, probation, parole and prison service balance public protection and individual and collective rights. If necessary we will legislate to ensure that public protection is given priority. In other cases, the review identified instances where organisations are over-cautious in their interpretation of competing rights. To combat this, we will make better practical advice available to practitioners on how rights should be balanced between offenders and the wider community and create an advice service to allow front-line practitioners to obtain fast online access to relevant legal resources.
We will also institute a routine process of review through a scrutiny panel (made up of practitioners and lawyers) reporting to the National Criminal Justice Board (which includes relevant CJS Ministers) which will scrutinise the application of rights and ensure that the approach to administration is robust and fair and propose further changes to the law and guidance where it detects problems or imbalances.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were (a) arrested, (b) prosecuted and (c) found guilty of offences related to human trafficking, in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Coaker [holding answer 20 June 2006]: Reflex, the multi-agency taskforce set up to deal with organised immigration crime, reported the following arrests for human trafficking. The figures that they have available on the number of arrests for trafficking are as follows:
|n/a = Not available.|
Operation Pentameter, a multi-agency initiative aimed at tackling the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation, was recently co-ordinated across the whole of the UK involving all 55 police forces and a number of NGOs. This has led to 232 arrests and 134 people charged for trafficking-related offences to date.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what organisations (a) he has consulted and (b) he plans to consult (i) as part of the public consultation on human trafficking and (ii) prior to the publication of the Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. 
Mr. Coaker [holding answer 21 June 2006]: The consultation document Tackling Human Trafficking - Consultation on Proposals for a UK Action Plan was published on 5 January 2006 and concluded on 5 April 2006. The document was placed on the Home Office website and over 1,400 copies were sent to stakeholders including police, non-governmental organisations, charities, trade unions, judiciary, local councils and other Government Departments.
A summary of responses report to the consultation was published on 21 June 2006. A list of the 206 respondents to the consultation can be found at Annex A of that report and can also be found on the Home Office website.
The responses to the consultation will be considered in the course of developing the UK Action Plan to combat human trafficking. Further consultation with key stakeholders may be required prior to publication of the Action Plan in order to take forward suggestions made in the consultation process.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the practical implications of the European Convention on Trafficking Human Beings in making his decision on whether to ratify the convention. 
In July last year a questionnaire was issued seeking information about the methods of support in place in other European Union (EU) countries. The responses to that questionnaire are now being analysed for evidence on how the automatic granting of reflection periods and residence permits to those presenting as victims of trafficking are operating in other European transit or destination countries where they have been introduced.
The Government are examining how the convention's approach could best be harmonised with effective immigration controls. They are also considering responses to the recent consultation paper on a proposed UK Action Plan on trafficking in humans
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of trafficking of children aged under 10 years into the UK have been recorded in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Coaker: Information related to the number of incidents of trafficked children into the UK, under the age of 10 years, in each of the past five years is not available. As yet there are no centrally collated data on the numbers of trafficked victims into the country.
Mr. Coaker: The crime of trafficking in human beings was put on the statute book by this Government by the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, and the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. The following figures cover the period since the introduction of the relevant Acts. There were 102 arrests for human trafficking offences under Reflex-funded operations in the year 2004-05. The figures for arrests under Reflex- funded operations in the period 2005-06 are not yet available. However, the recent Operation Pentameter led to 232 arrests of people for trafficking or trafficking-related offences.
Joan Ryan: No assessment has been undertaken as it is not yet appropriate to make decisions regarding for example the materials and manufacturing processes which will be used to produce the cards. Any future regulatory impact assessments on the introduction of identity cards will include an assessment of environmental costs and benefits.
Joan Ryan: The Home Office works with the police and law enforcement agencies, including the Serious Organised Crime Agency, other Government Departments and the private sector to consider intelligence, information, surveys, and statistics which provide an indication of the scale of the problem of identity fraud. Evidence from CIFASthe UKs Fraud Prevention Serviceand our updated estimate of the cost of identity fraud to the UK economy, suggest that the problem has grown in recent years, but data covering the timeframe of this question are not yet available.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2006, Official Report, column 1116W, to the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Dr. Strang), on identity fraud, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the fall in the number of detected fraudulent passport applications made using a deceased persons details. 
Joan Ryan: In the view of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) there are two principal factors for the reduction in the number of recorded cases of passport applications made in the identities of deceased persons detected. The figures for the number of passport applications detected in which a deceased identity has been used are a combination of infant and adult death cases. The IPS received the infant death data from July 2001 in a number of tranches. Retrospective checks of the index of passports issued using this data identified a number of passports issued in the identities of deceased children. These retrospective checks significantly increased the number of cases of deceased identity fraud detected and confirmed between 2001 and 2004. Since then the rate of detection is based on the number of new fraudulent applications being detected. Secondly, since IPS started using this data 184 people have been arrested for making fraudulent passport applications. 82 of these people have been convicted of offences and 34 deported. Although deterrence is very difficult to measure, it is likely that this success has deterred other criminals from submitting applications in the identities of deceased persons.
Joan Ryan: The Government are concerned about identity fraud and there is ongoing activity within the EU and the G8 about security of travel documents and borders that will contribute to combating the problem. This includes the work at EU level on enhancing the security of travel and identity documents, such as ePassports (also known as biometric passports) that we began issuing in March 2006. The use of biometric information to link a person to a passport helps to detect counterfeit or manipulated documents and it confirms the identity of the individual.
The G8 Lyon-Roma group has undertaken a number of projects aimed at reducing document abuse. This included a commitment, which has been implemented, to submit data on lost and stolen passports to Interpol. A best practices paper on processing travellers who present lost, stolen or cancelled travel documents has also been approved and transmitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of illegal drug use in (a) non-rural and (b) rural areas among those aged (i) over 18 and (ii) under 18 years in (A) absolute terms and (B) per 1,000 population; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Coaker: Figures from the British Crime Survey 2003-04 show that use of any illicit drug in the past year was reported by 148 per 1,000 adults aged 16 to 59 residing in inner-city areas, 127 per 1,000 of those in urban areas and 99 per 1,000 in rural areas in England and Wales.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals have been (a) arrested and (b) cautioned by the police since 1997; how many of these were found subsequently to be illegal immigrants; and how many were deported. 
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals have been given non-custodial sentences since 1997; how many have been found to be illegal immigrants; and how many were deported. 
Data from the courts proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform show that the number of people convicted under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 39 in 2000 was six, in 2001 was seven, in 2002 was three, in 2003 was two, and in 2004 was four.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) charged with and (b) convicted of illegal money lending in Suffolk in each of the past five years. 
Data from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform show that there were no convictions under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 39 in the Suffolk police force area between 2000 and 2004. However, in England and Wales in 2000 there were six convictions, in 2001 there were seven, in 2002 there were three, in 2003 there were two, and in 2004 there were four.
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