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9 Oct 2006 : Column 496W—continued

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of people whose DNA records are held on the national police database have (a) a criminal record, (b) been the subject of wrongful arrest and (c) have been given a custodial sentence. [82563]

Joan Ryan: As at 30 June 2006, there were approximately 3,457,000 individuals with a DNA profile retained on the National DNA Database (NDNAD). This figure included 18,056 persons who had provided a DNA profile voluntarily. These figures were obtained from the NDNAD.

Data on arrest and criminal histories are not held on the NDNAD. However, some data are available from the Police National Computer (PNC), but not for all of the individuals with a profile on the NDNAD. Data provided by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) from the PNC indicate that, as at 14 July 2006, 2,922,624 persons on the NDNAD had an entry retained on PNC. The PNC entries relating to the other 534,000 individuals with a DNA profile on the NDNAD had been removed from the PNC for a number of reasons, for example, because they had not been convicted of an offence or because proceedings were discontinued.

Of the 2,922,624 individuals with an entry on PNC, 2,317,555 have a conviction or caution recorded on the PNC—i.e. have a criminal record. The difference between the two figures is attributed to: young persons aged under 18 who have a formal warning or reprimand recorded on the PNC (equivalent to a caution); persons who have been charged with a recordable offence and the proceedings are on-going; and persons who have been arrested for a recordable offence but no further action is taken.

No data are held centrally on the number of persons with a DNA profile on the NDNAD who have been the subject of a wrongful arrest.

Of the 2,317, 555 persons who have a conviction or caution, 636,271 (27percent) have had a custodial sentence.

It is important to note that the data obtained from the PNC do not provide data for all of the individuals with a DNA profile on the NDNAD.


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Energy Security

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent guidance has been issued to chief constables about enhancing the security of strategic energy facilities in their police force areas. [92242]

Mr. McNulty: Details about the security measures taken to protect not only strategic energy facilities but all of the critical national infrastructure are not, and should not be, in the public domain.

EU Association Agreements (Businesses)

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for the right of establishment in business under EU association agreements in ECAA switching cases, in total and by nationality of the applicant, were refused on the grounds that the applicant had used a standard-form business plan. [89933]

Mr. Byrne: Information in the form requested is not available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

False NI Documents

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people working on Home Office premises have been found to have false national insurance documents in each of the last five years. [77074]

John Reid: The information requested is not collected. All applicants for permanent posts in the Home Office are required to declare identity, address, criminal convictions, activities relevant to Home Office work, immigration status and previous employment history. Before appointment all applicants must produce a passport or other proof of identity/nationality/immigration status. Before being appointed to a permanent post, individuals must provide employers’, academic and personal references covering the previous three years. Security clearance is required for all new staff. This includes a criminal record check. Particular areas of the Home Office run specific checks depending upon the nature of their business.

As far as contractors and consultants are concerned, the responsibility for checking that they are able to work legally in the UK rests with their employers. However, in the core Home Office and the immigration and nationality directorate (IND) the immigration status of all staff, including those not directly employed, is checked against the IND databases.

These checks do not include specific checks into the authenticity of national insurance documents. If, however, it emerged that an individual working for the Home Office—or working for the Home Office as a contractor, agency worker or consultant —had false national insurance documents, a decision would be taken in consultation with the departmental security unit on whether to refer the matter to the police or Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.


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Firearms

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearms have been seized in each of the last five years. [92484]

Mr. McNulty: The requested data are not collected centrally.

Foreign Nationals (Visits)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department undertook of the impact increased charges for foreign nationals to visit the UK from abroad would have on the UK’s overseas tourism earnings before revised visa charges were introduced on 1 July 2005; and if he will make a statement. [88781]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

Revised visa charges were introduced on 1 July 2005 as part of a regular review of costs, which UKvisas are obliged to recover from visa applicants. As such, no assessment of the impact increased charges for foreign visitors might have on the UK’s overseas tourism earnings was undertaken. UKvisas’ statistics show that there was no downturn in demand following either of the previous two fee increases in 1995 and 2002.

UKvisas met with tourism stakeholders on 27 June 2005 to explain why fee increases were necessary. It was also agreed that UKvisas would do an analysis covering July to September 2005 to assess whether the fee increases had any impact on visa application numbers. UKvisas’ statistics show that, following the fee increases of 1 July, visa demand for the period 1-6 July 2005 continued at the same level of a 9 per cent. year-on-year increase as it had done for the six months immediately preceding the fee increase. There was therefore no immediate change in demand following the fee increases.

Demand did however drop from 7 July—the day of the London bombings—and was down 7 per cent. overall on 2004 for the July to September period. Non-family visits experienced the biggest fall in demand. A number of factors may have influenced the downturn including the bombings of 7 July. UKvisas does not rule out the possibility that increased visa fees were a factor but there is no conclusive evidence for this. Between November 2005 and March 2006 there was a slight decrease in demand compared with the same period in the previous year. By March 2006 demand had increased.

Foreign Prisoners

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the foreign prisoners released without consideration for deportation who were classified as (a) most serious, (b) more serious and (c) other offenders have (i) committed further offences and (ii) been (A) detained and (B) deported, broken down by the type of offence for which they were originally convicted; and what type of further offence each committed. [89202]


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John Reid: I refer the right hon. Member to the written ministerial statement of 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 19WS. In this statement I explained that the director general of the immigration and nationality directorate (IND) had written to the Home Affairs Committee on 29 June providing the most accurate data available at that time. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library of the House.

This information was collated centrally and quality assured by the Department and is the most accurate and robust data currently available to the Department on the 1,013 individuals who were released without deportation consideration.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ask other countries to take their nationals who are prisoners in British prisons to complete their sentences in their home country. [89887]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The United Kingdom currently has prisoner transfer arrangements with 96 countries and territories. These arrangements require three-way consent; by the sentencing State, the receiving State, and the prisoner. The consent of the prisoner is a requirement of the Repatriation of Prisoner Act 1984 and, as a consequence, is reflected in our prisoner transfer agreements. The Government intends to introduce an amendment via the Police and Justice Bill to remove this requirement. If Parliament approves the amendment discussions will be held with relevant countries about renegotiating existing prisoner transfer agreements and the return of their nationals.

Fraud

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the feasibility of including lower and medium-sized fraud as a separate line item in the British Crime Survey; and if he will make a statement. [90033]

Mr. McNulty: The British Crime Survey (BCS) is a nationally representative survey of households in England and Wales. Its primary purpose is to estimate levels of crime committed against the population of private households and adults living in such households. As such, the survey cannot estimate crimes committed against those outside the scope of the survey, such as commercial and public sector bodies.

Fraud is a complex area and difficult to measure in a self-report survey such as the BCS. On the one hand, some members of the public who had been victims of poor service may perceive themselves to have been de-frauded when this is not the case in law, whereas many of those who had been genuine victims of fraud may not be aware of the fact.

However, a special module of questions has been included in the BCS in recent years focusing on credit and debit card fraud and internet fraud. Results have been reported in the Home Office Online Report 09/06 in ‘Fraud and technology crimes: Findings from the 2003-04 British Crime Survey, the 2004 Offending, Crime and Justice Survey and administrative sources'.

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what classification is used to
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analyse the incidence of fraud by (a) amount of monetary loss and (b) by police authority. [90034]

Mr. McNulty: Data on the monetary loss due to fraud are not collected centrally by the Home Office. Data by police force area are collected for numbers of offences. The classifications collected under the fraud and forgery category are:

The latest information can be found in Home Office Statistical Bulletin number 12/06 ‘Crime in England and Wales 2005/06’ available at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/hosbpubs1.html

Susan Kramer: (1) To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the annual cost of (a) overall fraud and (b) fraud excluding large-scale fraud; [90035]

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost of fraud (a) outside the responsibility of the City of London Police and (b) outside London in the last five years for which figures are available. [90036]

Mr. Coaker: Home Office commissioned research by consultants National Economic Research Associates (NERA), published in 2000, estimated the cost of fraud at £14 billion. It was recognised at the time that this was likely to be an underestimate, and six years on the figure is likely to be considerably higher. This figure was not broken down into large scale and other fraud, nor geographically.

Home Office OLR 09/06 (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/rdsolr0906.pdf) contains information about fraud, using data available from surveys of the public and from administrative sources. The information presented draws together various data collected by non-police sources to describe the trends in, and extent and type of fraud occurring in both the public and private sector.

Annex A to the Fraud Review report, published on 24 July, summarised the various fraud measurement exercises currently undertaken.

ACPO have commissioned work on this area which is currently being undertaken (managed by the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate), entitled ‘The nature, extent and economic impact of fraud’. The broad aim of this research study is to assess and determine the nature, extent and economic impact of fraud across both the private and public sector in the UK. The study is critically reviewing existing estimates of fraud in different sectors. While this work may produce some UK-wide estimates on the costs of fraud, it is not intended that these estimates be seen as definitive due to the limitations of existing fraud data, both in terms of accuracy and coverage. Rather, the main aim of the work is to critically assess the availability and quality of existing evidence on fraud and recommend an
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appropriate strategy to facilitate the comprehensive and consistent recording of data on fraud in the future. The study reports later in the autumn.

Hit-and-Run Accidents

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hit and run accidents there were in (a) Southend, (b) Essex, (c) the Metropolitan police area of London and (d) England and Wales in each year since 2004; in how many cases the drivers were taken to court and (i) fined, (ii) imprisoned and (iii) acquitted; and what percentage of fines remain unpaid. [89693]

Mr. Coaker: Available information taken from the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform and given in Tables A to D2 show the number of offences proceeded against by result for the offence of “failing to stop after an accident” under the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 170(4) for 2004 (latest available). 2005 data will be available early in 2007. Table E, provided by the Department for Transport, details data for those accidents classified as hit and run. Fines are collected by the court. However, the DCA are unable to break down fine payments by offence category.

Table A: Court proceedings for accident offences( 1) within Southend-on-Sea magistrates court by result, 2004
Number of offences

Total proceedings

317

Charges withdrawn/dismissed(2)

77

Total findings of guilt

205

Immediate custody(3)

9

Fine

118

(1) Aiding, abetting, causing or permitting accident offences under the RTA88 s.170(4). (2) Includes cases under Magistrates Courts Act 1980 s.9 (when court, after hearing the evidence, decide the defendant is not guilty). (3) Includes Detention and Training Order, Young Offender Institution and unsuspended sentence of imprisonment.

Table B1: Proceedings at magistrates courts for accident offences( 1) dealt with by Essex police by result, 2004
Number of offences

Total proceedings

1,141

Charges withdrawn/dismissed(2)

338

Total findings of guilt

703

Immediate custody(3)

41

Fine

383

(1) Aiding, abetting, causing or permitting accident offences under the RTA88 s.170(4). (2) Includes cases under Magistrates Courts Act 1980 s.9 (when court, after hearing the evidence, decide the defendant is not guilty). (3) Includes sentences of Secure Training Order, Detention and Training Order, Young Offender Institution and unsuspended sentence of imprisonment.

Table B2: Proceedings at the Crown court for accident offences( 1) dealt with by Essex police by result, 2004
Number of offences

Total proceedings for trial

11

Acquitted

2

Total findings of guilt

8

Immediate custody(2)

Fine

2

(1) Aiding, abetting, causing or permitting accident offences under the RTA88 s.170(4). (2) Includes sentences of Detention and Training Order, Young Offender Institution and unsuspended sentence of imprisonment.

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