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7 Dec 2006 : Column 640W—continued

Home Department

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many acceptable behaviour contracts have been made in North Yorkshire in the last six months. [106979]

Mr. McNulty: Data on numbers of ABCs are not collected by the Home Office as they are voluntary agreements and therefore not suitable for central data collection.


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Banking Services

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to encouraging banks to implement the ATM SafetyPIN system or equivalent; and if he will make a statement. [104862]

Mr. Coaker: The Home Office, with the banking industry is constantly looking at crime prevention initiatives which improve the safety of ATM users.

The ATM SafetyPIN system is one of the initiatives currently being explored by the ATM Crime Group, a quarterly forum, hosted by APACS (The Association of Payment Clearing Services) which Home Office officials attend. The group discussed the scheme at its last meeting in November and will be looking at the issue once information on the effectiveness of such schemes becomes available.

Bluewater

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what anti-terrorist measures are in place at the Bluewater shopping centre. [106767]

Mr. McNulty: It is Government policy not to comment upon matters of national security.

CCTV Technology

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with (a) the police and (b) the surveillance industry on the introduction of listening technology with CCTV systems; and if he will make a statement. [106419]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 5 December 2006]: The Home Office, in conjunction with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), has been undertaking a review of CCTV this year, and has been assessing
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how it may be used more effectively in reducing and detecting crime. The review’s findings are expected to be known within the next few weeks and the strategy will reflect discussions with the police and other stakeholders, and will consider the current and future technologies that may be used in conjunction with CCTV.

Any technology used with CCTV cameras will have to comply with current legislation before it could be used operationally. This includes a requirement to observe the Information Commissioner’s Code of Practice on the use of CCTV.

Community Call for Action

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date the Community Call for Action will be implemented. [103853]

Mr. McNulty: In our review, “Rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the law-abiding majority”, published in July 2006, we stated that we would introduce the Community Call for Action by April 2008.

Crime Statistics

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were committed by unlicensed minicab drivers in each of the last three years. [107007]

Mr. McNulty: Data held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform on the number of defendants prosecuted and convicted for certain offences relating to operating unlicensed minicabs in England and Wales, 2003 to 2005, can be found in the following table. Other offences not related to the taxi legislation committed by unlicensed minicab drivers cannot be identified as the data are not collected at this level of detail.

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for certain offences relating to operating unlicensed minicabs, in England and Wales, 2003 to 2005( 1, 2)
Number
Prosecuted Found guilty
Statute Offence description 2003 2004 2005 2003 2004 2005

Town Police Clauses Act 1847 section 40-68 (except the offence of drunkenness under section 61 )

Offences peculiar to stage carriage and public service vehicles

337

292

283

270

248

233

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, section 167

Touting for hire car service without PSV operator’s licence

259

483

597

194

311

422

Total

596

75

880

464

559

655

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(2) 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 the courts and 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.
Source:
RDS Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Criminal Records Bureau

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment the Government have made of the effect of records kept by the Criminal Records Bureau on the ability of those on whom records are kept (a) to find employment and (b) to adopt children; and if he will make a statement. [103586]


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Joan Ryan: I refer my hon. Friend to the response given on 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 770W.

CS Gas

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many serving officers have been injured as a result of exposure to CS gas in the last three years. [104582]

Mr. McNulty: This information is not collected centrally.

DNA Database

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which research projects have been undertaken on the national DNA database. [101006]

Joan Ryan: Data from the national DNA database (NDNAD) have been provided to the following organisations for research purposes.

Forensic Science Service:

Home Office:

Police service:

Merseyside Police:

LGC (forensic services provider):

Requests for research must be approved by the NDNAD Strategy Board. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act lays down that DNA samples and the profiles derived from them can only be used for the purposes of prevention and detection of crime, the investigation of an offence, the conduct of a prosecution or, since April 2005, for the purposes of identifying a deceased person. In accordance with this requirement, the Board would not approve any research unless it had clear operational benefit to the police.

Early-release Scheme

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether prisoners convicted of plotting terrorist offences will automatically be considered for release after serving half their sentences. [104194]


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Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 27 November 2006]: There is a variety of offences which may be committed for the purposes of terrorism and release arrangements are dependent on the sentence passed. Schedule 15 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) contains a list of specified violent and sexual offences. Upon conviction for any of these offences, or conspiracy to commit them, an offender may be sentenced to either an extended sentence for public protection (EPP) or an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP). The schedule includes offences that may be committed as terrorist acts, e.g. using explosives with intent to do bodily injury, putting people in fear of violence, hijacking, hostage taking, offences relating to the safety of aircraft and railways as well as murder and manslaughter.

Offenders serving an EPP or IPP are not automatically released at the halfway point of their sentence, but must have their release considered by the Parole Board, who will only direct release when they are convinced that the risk of re-offending and the risk to the public has been sufficiently reduced.

Specific terrorism offences not contained within the schedule of specified sexual and violent offences would be subject to a standard determinate sentence. These offences include financial offences related to terrorism, membership or support of a proscribed terrorist organisation and withholding or failing to disclose information about terrorist activities. Such prisoners would be eligible for automatic release at the halfway point of their sentence if sentenced under the provisions of the CJA 2003. If sentenced under the Criminal Justice Act 1991, those sentenced to determinate sentences of four years or less are automatically released at the halfway point of their sentence. For sentences of four years or more, prisoners are eligible for parole halfway through their sentence. If parole is not granted then release occurs at the two-thirds point of the sentence (or at a subsequent parole review if earlier).

Football

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Football Association on guidance for police officers on duty at football matches on dealing with homophobic incidents amongst fans. [107504]

Mr. McNulty: We have held no such discussions. The action to be taken against people involved in such incidents is an operational matter for the police or for the clubs.

Fraud

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to incorporate lower and medium-sized frauds, other than credit and debit card fraud and internet fraud, in the British Crime Survey. [104158]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 27 November 2006]: There are no current plans to incorporate lower and medium-sized frauds, other than credit and debit card fraud and internet fraud, in the British Crime Survey (BCS) as other existing administrative and survey
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sources, such as provided by the Association of Payment and Clearing Services and the Commercial Victimisation Survey, provide a better measure than could be obtained from a survey of private households such as the BCS.

Head-cam Equipment

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of head-cam equipment in (a) evidence gathering and (b) reducing the number of complaints against the police. [104581]

Mr. McNulty: The Police Standards Unit of the Home Office is formally evaluating the equipment during the period running from September 2006 to February 2007. A standard procedural manual is being prepared, and good practice identified. The final project report will be published in April 2007, and will consider the effectiveness of the equipment in terms of reduction in levels of violent crime, improved sanction detection rates, savings in officer time, and quality of evidence presented to court (which impacts on whether or not an offence is brought to justice). There already appear to be ancillary benefits in that the use of the cameras is reported to have a deterrent effect, calming the situation and bringing it to swift resolution. Footage can be replayed to offenders immediately, with the result that they are far more likely to plead guilty, or to accept on-the-spot fines or cautions rather than contest the case in court.

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has undertaken of whether Hizb ut-Tahrir are involved with any illegal (a) groups and (b) activities; [103677]

(2) if he will designate Hizb ut-Tahrir as a proscribed organisation; [103678]

(3) what information he has on which countries have banned Hizb ut-Tahrir. [103710]

Mr. McNulty: It is Home Office policy not to comment on groups that are not on the proscribed list.

Muslim Brotherhood

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list (a) proscribed and (b) non-proscribed Islamist organisations assessed as having links with the Muslim Brotherhood. [103795]

Mr. McNulty: The Muslim Brotherhood is not a proscribed organisation.

Human Trafficking

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with EU partners on the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking. [104739]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 4 December 2006]: I have frequent discussions with EU partners on a range of issues including human trafficking and the Council
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of Europe Convention. Officials have been gathering evidence from our European partners about best practice in member states with regard to the convention, the impact of provision of support for the victims of trafficking and any impact that provisions including recovery and reflection periods have had. In July last year we issued a questionnaire seeking information about the methods of support in place in other European Union countries. The responses to that questionnaire have been analysed and the results will assist in a decision on signature.


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