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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps (a) to ensure that the law relating to drunken driving is fit for purpose, (b) to evaluate recent cases where defendants have been acquitted on technicalities and (c) to ensure the law is properly enforced against all those convicted of drink driving. 
Mr. McNulty: The operation of the law on drink driving is kept under continuous review by the Home Office chaired Drink Drug Drive Working Group. We have taken steps to assist police in their enforcement activities by making it easier for them to conduct tests for the presence of alcohol in a suspected drunken driver. Charging and prosecution are for the police and Crown Prosecution Service; decisions in individual cases, including decisions on the appropriate penalty, are matters for the courts.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of people charged with drink driving had not gone to trial within (a) three months, (b) six months and (c) 12 months of being charged in the last year for which figures are available. 
During 2005, the estimated proportion of drink -driving cases which had not been listed for trial in the magistrates courts within three months of charge (in charged cases) or laying of information (in summonsed cases) is less than 0.3 per cent.
The following table shows the estimated proportion of drink driving cases which had not been completed in the magistrates courts within three, six and twelve months of charge or laying of information.
These figures are estimates taken from the Time Intervals Survey for criminal cases in the magistrates courts. The survey covers all adult and youth cases completed during two one-week sample periods in March and September 2005. The figures shown are for all cases where the most serious offence was either driving after consuming alcohol or drugs, or being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle.
|Initial plea||Percentage of cases not complete||Margin of error( 1)||Number of cases in sample|
|(1) 95 per cent. confidence limits for the overall percentage of cases not complete during the year, expressed in percentage points. (2) Includes cases subsequently withdrawn.|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer to Question 88959, on fires in London, how many prosecutions have been brought for arson and arson -related offences in each London borough, broken down by (a) age and (b) sex. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 5 September 2006]: Data from the Court Proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform showing the number of persons proceeded against for arson offences in 2004, broken down by London Court Area, sex and age, is provided in the following table. It is not possible to identify court proceedings for other offences involving arson because the individual circumstances of offences are not held centrally. Data for 2005 will be available in the autumn.
|Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for arson offences by sex, age and London court area 2004( 1, 2)|
|Offence: Arson endangering life||Offence: Arson not endangering life|
|Statute: Criminal Damage Act 1971 S.1(1)||Statute: Criminal Damage Act 1971 S.1(2)|
|London court area||10-17||18-20||21+||10-17||18-20||21+||10-17||18-20||21+||10-17||18-20||21+|
|(1) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.|
(2 )These data are provided on the principal offence basis.
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