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Ms Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the European Convention on Extradition contains provisions to refuse extradition if any of the conduct concerned was carried out in the state from which extradition is requested. [97946]

Joan Ryan: Article seven of the European Convention on Extradition (ECE) allows for refusal of extradition where some or all of the conduct was committed in the requested state. The UK chose not to incorporate this safeguard into its legislation when it became a party to the ECE in 1991, a policy which was unchanged in the Extradition Act 2003. Article seven provides only a discretionary ground for refusal, but it carries the danger that a person wanted for possibly serious cross-border offences could escape justice altogether. The UK operates a slightly different safeguard, which is to require that dual criminality is satisfied where a request is considered for conduct committed outside the requesting state. Section 137(3) of the 2003 Extradition Act provides:

Both the 1989 and 2003 Acts however provide that, were a UK authority to mount a prosecution in relation to the conduct for which extradition was sought, the extradition process would be halted, pending the outcome of the domestic proceedings. Where the rules on double jeopardy applied extradition would not take place.


Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish a central record of the numbers of firearms (a) seized and (b) disposed of by police services in England and Wales. [98674]

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Mr. McNulty: The new forensics system, the National Ballistics Intelligence Database, currently being developed by the Association of Chief Police Officers, with support from the Home Office, will provide an end-to-end system for the recording of recoveries of firearms and will also account for their means of disposal. The system is currently in the design and development phase, with commitment to delivery by April 2008.

Food Processing/Agricultural Sectors

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which organisations have been consulted on the decision to exempt the food processing and agricultural sectors from the work permit restrictions applying to Romania and Bulgaria on their accession to the European Union in January 2007; and if he will make a statement. [98167]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 1 November 2006]: It is not that the food processing and agricultural sectors will not have been exempted from the work permit restrictions applying to Romanian and Bulgarian workers Romania and Bulgaria on those countries’ accession to the EU. Bulgarian and Romanian workers’ access to low skilled employment in those sectors will continue to be regulated through Rather, the existing, quota-based Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) and the Sectors Based Scheme (SBS). are pre-existing schemes that will continue beyond 1 January 2007. The ‘standstill clause’ of the Accession agreement with Romania and Bulgaria means that we may not make access to our labour market more restrictive than it was when the Accession Treaty was signed, on the 16 April 2003. Therefore, we must continue make these schemes available to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. The principle of ‘Community Preference’ means that when a job is offered to an overseas national, citizens of member states must be given priority over people from non-EU countries.

Current Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme Operators and the National Farmers Union were consulted to discuss the impacts of Romania and Bulgaria’s accession and to explain how this will affect the existing schemes. We will continue to work closely with these and other interested bodies between now and when Accession takes place on 1 January 2006.

Foreign Criminals

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 643W, on foreign criminals, in what part of the letter to the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee the information requested in the questions is contained. [82996]

Mr. Byrne: I have written separately to the hon. Gentleman about the reply he received on 29 June to his question 67478.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what operations established to find and detain released foreign national offenders have been cancelled; and if he will make a statement. [90834]

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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 11 September 2006]: The Secretary of State for the Home Department explained in his oral statement of 9 October on the prison estate that the Director General of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate had written to the Home Affairs Committee on the same day. This letter contains a progress update on the 1,013 cases released without deportation consideration and also further information on the enforcement resources used in dealing with these cases.

A copy of this letter has been made available in the Library of the House.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals were being held in prisons in England and Wales as of August. [92510]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The number of foreign prisoners held in prison establishments in England and Wales on 31 August 2006 was 10,970.

This figure was drawn from administrative IT systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system, and so is not necessarily accurate to the last whole number.

Government Social Research Service

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of the Government Social Research Service in his Department in each of the last five years; how many projects have been completed by the service in that period; and how many people are employed in the service in his Department. [95850]

Joan Ryan: Government Social Research Service researchers are employed across government departments and in the devolved administrations. Staff are employed by the Home Office rather than the GSR service and GSR members are employed in multi-disciplinary analytic teams across the Department. Therefore it is not possible to separately identify the projects undertaken by the GSR service in the Home Office or their associated costs.

Records of the number of GSR members employed by the Home Office are not available for all the years requested. However the number of GSR members at the end of March 2004 and 2005 is given in the following table.

Members of the Government Social Research Service employed by the Home Office
Number of GSR members





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Home Detention Curfews

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies) of 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 1037W, on home detention curfew, how many offenders released on the Home Detention Curfew scheme did not have an electronic tag fitted at the second attempt; and how many of these (a) were recalled to prison and (b) absconded. [74595]

John Reid: The answer to the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies) stated that a total of 1,244 offenders released on home detention curfew between 1 April 2005 and 30 April 2006 did not have an electronic tag fitted on the day of release. We have now established that the number of offenders was over-stated and should have been given as 1,119. The previous, incorrect, figure arose because of errors in recording and reporting statistics by one of the electronic monitoring companies, G4S.

As a result, the figure of 1,039 cases given in that answer where the tag was not fitted because the offender was not present or the monitoring company was refused access is also incorrect. We have re-calculated this figure using the latest figures from both monitoring companies. These take account of earlier recording and reporting errors, and also a re-classification by G4S of the reasons for not fitting the tag in each case. The figure should have been reduced to 708.

The Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Sutcliffe), has written to the hon. Member to apologise for these errors and has placed a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Of the corrected figure of 1,119 offenders, the monitoring companies’ records show that a total of 141 did not have the tag fitted on the second attempt.

We do not collate and record centrally the particular reason for a recall at the level of detail which allows identification of those recalled just for two unsuccessful attempts at fitting the tag. To track these cases through the system, and state definitively how many were recalled to prison for that reason, and how many of that specific sub-set remain unlawfully at large would require a manual check of each case file. This could not be done without disproportionate cost, and would necessitate removing caseworkers from the business of recalling offenders to carry out the work.

The police are routinely notified of all offenders who are subject to recall, and are unlawfully at large.

Humberside Police

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the steps necessary to improve the performance of Humberside Police; if he will make more resources available to the force; and if he will make a statement. [97986]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The Police Performance Assessments for 2005-06 that the Home Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of
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Constabulary (HMIC) published on 24 October 2006 showed that Humberside Police had delivered notable performance improvements against the previous year. Whereas in 2004-05, the force was awarded five “Poor” grades and two “Fair” grades in the overall assessment, in 2005-06 it achieved five “Fair” grades, with better grades seen in three areas—Reducing Crime, Investigating Crime and Citizen Focus.

The Home Office Police Standards Unit and HMIC have agreed a programme of performance improvement work with the force and its police authority, the tangible results of which are evident in the published assessments. The Police Standards Unit continues to provide assistance to the force, both in terms of professional expertise and targeted additional resources (the latter totalling over £2 million to date).

Identity Cards

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the estimated cost is of the implementation of the identity cards system to (a) members of the Association of British National Insurers, (b) members of the UK Payments Association, (c) the Audit Commission, (d) members of the British Bankers’ Association, (e) members of the Building Societies Association, (f) members of CIFAS, (g) the telecommunications sector and (h) members of the Finance and Leasing Association; and what estimate of savings from the potential reductions in fraud arising from the use of identity cards has been made in each case; [93751]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the costs of implementing identity cards to (a) HM Revenue and Customs, (b) the Home Office, (c) local authorities, (d) police services, (e) the UK Passport Service, (f) the Department for Constitutional Affairs, (g) the Department of Work and Pensions, (h) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and (i) Driving Standards Agency; and what estimate has been made of savings arising from reduced fraud due to identity cards in each case. [93768]

Joan Ryan: The Home Office reported to Parliament about the likely future costs of the ID cards scheme on 9 October. The cost of issuing passports and ID cards, including set up costs, is estimated to be £5.4 billion in the 10 years from October 2006. This does not include costs falling to other organisations using ID cards to verify identities. The decision to use ID cards is for each organisation, based on its assessment of the benefits and costs for its particular business. Costs will depend on the types of identity check that each organisation wishes to make and the infrastructure it already has in place or plans to put in place to use identity verification services.

The total quantifiable financial benefits of the scheme once it is fully rolled out that can currently be estimated range from £1 billion to £1.7 billion per annum. The benefits arising from reduced fraud are estimated to be in the range of £550 million to £980 million per annum, of which benefits to private sector organisations are estimated to be in the range of £321 million to £518 million per annum.

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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at what distance identity cards produced under ISO standard 14443A can be read. [96620]

Joan Ryan: The international standards (ISO 14443) do not set out the distances at which cards should be readable but rather set the minimum and maximum power of the magnetic and electric field strengths required to comply with the standards. These field strengths are such that data exchange is possible at a distance between the reader and the card of a few centimetres.

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 19 July 2006, Official Report, column 553W, on identity cards, how much has been spent since May 2006. [97128]

John Reid: £11.9 million has been spent on the identity cards programme since May 2006 until the end of September 2006 which is the latest date for which figures are currently available.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated capital set up costs are of the Identity Card scheme. [97844]

Joan Ryan: The first cost estimates report for the Identity Cards scheme, which was laid before Parliament on nine October, published for the first time resource set-up cost estimates for providing passports and ID cards to British and Irish citizens resident in the UK from October 2006 to October 2016. Capital set up cost estimates were not shown explicitly as they are the most commercially sensitive part of the estimates. These estimates were accounted for in the total costs over 10 years by including in the operating cost estimate the annual depreciation charges for capital investment. Clause 37 of the Identity Cards Act 2006 allows the Secretary of State to exclude any matter from the report to Parliament which appears to him would be prejudicial to securing best value from the use of public money.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated annual cost is of the maintenance and operation of the infrastructure for the Identity Card scheme. [97845]

Joan Ryan: The Identity Cards scheme is being designed to build on the existing infrastructure and processes for issuing passports in the Identity and Passport Service. In order to reduce risk and avoid a “big-bang” implementation, the scheme will be delivered incrementally. This means that the costs of issuing and upgrading passports are very closely interlinked to those of introducing identity cards.

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