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11 Dec 2006 : Column 833W—continued

Mr. McNulty: Section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as amended by section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, deals
11 Dec 2006 : Column 834W
with all powers of arrest. Section 24(5) allows an officer to arrest, following an offence, if the name or address of the subject is not known, cannot be ascertained, or is believed to be false. The roadside fingerprint check may obviate the need for the officer to make an arrest.

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what protocols his Department is putting in place to ensure that fingerprints taken at roadside tests are permanently deleted from police computer systems. [104500]

Mr. McNulty: The Lantern device has been configured to hold a maximum of 100 sets of fingerprints. This works on a rolling 100 basis so that if a 101st set of prints is taken then the first set would be deleted. In addition, officers have been provided with a button that allows then to delete all prints from the device and they are being trained to use that function at the start and end of their shift. Prints can also be deleted with the subject watching at the end of the encounter. The Lantern device is a tool to aid officers in identifying individuals at the roadside and hence to assist them in deciding how to proceed. Once the encounter has been concluded there is no reason to retain the prints further. No demographic data (i.e. name, date of birth etc.) is input into the Lantern device, so no purpose can be achieved by storing them. Fingerprints taken at the roadside can be deleted with the subject watching. In any event, the device database is purged at regular intervals during the operating day. Fingerprints obtained at the roadside, are not collected with any identifying demographic data, and therefore remain anonymous, so no purpose can be achieved by storing them.

Highly Skilled Migrant Programme

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in the UK who qualify to work under the highly skilled migrant programme scheme will fail to have their qualification renewed unless they find a job paying them more money. [107835]

Mr. Byrne: Information of this kind is not available. In order to qualify for further leave to remain as a highly skilled migrant under the new rules, applicants must now meet robust points criteria based on their qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience. It will also be mandatory for applicants to demonstrate a good standard of English language. The salary that an applicant needs to reach for their previous earnings to qualify for a highly skilled migrant programme extension will depend on the points awarded against the other criteria.

I have also announced transitional arrangements to avoid disadvantaging those who fail to meet the new requirements but are making a useful contribution to the UK. Those working in a skilled job, who do not meet the new criteria, will be allowed to switch into work-permit employment.


11 Dec 2006 : Column 835W

Identity Cards

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department into which Government fund fines generated from offences committed under the Identity Cards Act 2006 will be paid; and for what purposes those funds will be used. [104654]

Joan Ryan: Any receipts from fines imposed by courts for the criminal offences of possession of false identity documents, unauthorised disclosure of information, providing false information or tampering with the register, as set out in sections 25-30 of the Identity Cards Act 2006, will be disposed of in the same way as receipts from all other fines imposed by the criminal courts.

Sums received by the Secretary of State in respect of civil financial penalties imposed under the Act will be paid into the cnsolidated fund, as specified in Section 31(7).

Illegal Fox Hunts

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to prevent illegal fox hunts. [107677]

Mr. McNulty: Enforcement of the Hunting Act 2004 is a matter for the police and the prosecuting authorities. The police have made it clear that they will enforce the Hunting Act 2004 and the Association of Chief Police Officers has issued guidance for police forces on the practical aspects of doing so.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what conferences have been hosted by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in the last 12 months; and what the cost was of each conference. [103551]

Mr. Byrne: During the last 12 months, the IND has hosted the following conferences for external stakeholders (costs in brackets):

These costs are inclusive of venue hire, delegate and audio visual costs but exclusive of staff costs. In addition to these conferences, the IND has held a number of internal staff events and consultation exercises that are not included in this list.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters the Immigration and Nationality Directorate received from hon. Members in each of the last 12 months; how many such letters were responded to (a) within 10 days of receipt, (b) within 20 days of receipt and (c) after 20 days from the date of receipt; and if he will make a statement. [106038]


11 Dec 2006 : Column 836W

Mr. Byrne: Our target is to respond to 95 per cent. of hon. Members’ letters on matters related to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate within 20 working days. Figures for the number of letters received are published quarterly on the MPs’ area of the IND website. We intend to include figures for responses (and also for emails and telephone inquiries) when the current quarter’s data are published on the website in early January.

Immigration and Passport Control

Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last reviewed the (a) number of staff and (b) frequency of deployment of immigration and passport control staff at seaports and rail terminals in relation to airports; and if he will make a statement. [105163]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 6 December 2006]: The review of Immigration and Nationality Directorate border control staffing is a continual process at airports, rail terminals and seaports. As part of our commitment to provide a secure border, staffing levels are constantly reviewed in line with risk assessments and business needs. Immigration coverage is based on a range of factors, including the nature and frequency of traffic and the numbers of passengers requiring leave to enter at each port. In addition, business targets and the associated bids to fund any additional posts are also taken into account when determining a port's staffing complement.

Border control staff are deployed to meet all services requiring immigration control and on a risk-assessed basis. As part of our “tipping the balance” initiative we are increasing the use of intelligence-led mobile teams to provide greater coverage of the border. The provision of advance passenger information by carriers under the e-borders programme is increasing the border agencies' ability to conduct informed risk assessments and deploy resources in a targeted manner.

Institutional Arrest Warrants

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information the Serious Organised Crime Agency collects on institutional arrest warrants affecting UK citizens; and what responsibility the agency has to respond to inquiries from hon. Members. [107585]

Joan Ryan [holding answer 6 December 2006]: The Serious Organised Crime Agency receives European Arrest Warrants, some of which relate to UK citizens. SOCA is also in receipt of circulations via the Interpol channel that refer to UK citizens. Circulations via the Interpol channel can be made on a bilateral, regional or worldwide basis; therefore Interpol London may not be made aware of all requests relating to UK citizens. However, SOCA will however do its best to respond to inquiries from hon. Members.

Kajendram Suganthjan

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the immigration
11 Dec 2006 : Column 837W
application of Kajendram Suganthjan, ref 589813, to be resolved. [100856]

Mr. Byrne: I wrote to the hon. Member on1 December 2006.

Liberty

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department has provided financial support to Liberty in each of the last three years. [104206]

Mr. Byrne: The financial support that has been given to Liberty was a payment of £4,720.36 in 2003-04. There were no grants paid.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many parliamentary written questions his Department received in each parliamentary Session since 2001; and how many of these questions (a) were not answered because of disproportionate cost, (b) were not answered, (c) received answers referring back to a previous answer(i) asked by the hon. Member and (ii) asked by another hon. Member and (d) were grouped together for answer. [107466]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what target his Department has for the maximum acceptable amount of time to answer parliamentary written questions; and what percentage of parliamentary answers met that target in each parliamentary Session since 2001. [107467]

Mr. McNulty: The Department aims to answer parliamentary questions within the time scales specified by Parliament. It publishes its performance statistics on answering PQs within its annual report. Copies of these reports can be found in the House Library.

People Trafficking

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had on the merits of the UK signing the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. [105272]

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government have made progress in deciding whether to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. [105435]

Mr. Coaker: The UK is still considering whether to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Government are examining how the convention's approach could best be harmonised with effective immigration
11 Dec 2006 : Column 838W
controls. I have had internal meetings with fellow Ministers to discuss the merits of the Convention.

Police

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines he gives to police authorities on their vehicle procurement decisions. [104985]

Mr. McNulty: Police authorities and their chief constables are responsible for their vehicle procurement decisions. However, since 1990, the police information technology organisation and the National Association of Police Fleet Managers, have through the use of framework arrangements, implemented a collaborative approach on a national basis for the provision of police vehicles and their spare parts. While the frameworks referred to above are widely used, the ultimate purchasing decision remains at a local level and will take into account local operational needs.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of costs to Essex police arising from the proposals of the police force mergers; how much the Essex police force has applied for in compensation; and how much money it has received from his Department. [105001]

Mr. McNulty: The claim from Essex police was for £169,870 and the Home Office has made an offer of £100,000.

Police: Absences

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the rates of police officer absences for sickness were in each police force area in England and Wales in the last period for which figures are available. [107661]

Mr. McNulty: The total number of police officer hours lost to sickness for the period 2005-06 can be found at.

These assessments form part of the policing performance assessment framework. A hard copy of that document will be placed in the Library.

Police: Numbers

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there are of each rank per 100,000 of population in each police force in England and Wales. [107665]

Mr. McNulty: The available data are given in the following table.


11 Dec 2006 : Column 839W

11 Dec 2006 : Column 840W
Police officer strength by rank (FTE)( 1) per 100,000 population( 2) by police force in England and Wales as 31 March 2006
ACPO rank Chief superintendent Superintendent Chief inspector Inspector Sergeant Constable

Avon and Somerset

0.3

0.8

1.3

2.7

10.4

32.2

178.7

Bedfordshire

0.5

0.9

1.6

2.6

10.2

27.7

169.1

Cambridgeshire

0.3

0.9

2.2

3.3

9.2

31.3

149.2

Cheshire

0.4

0.6

1.5

2.4

11.7

34.6

172.3

Cleveland

0.7

1.1

2.5

2.7

14.6

44.2

241.8

Cumbria

0.8

1.2

1.6

3.4

11.7

35.0

201.8

Derbyshire

0.4

0.7

1.5

2.9

9.7

30.2

166.3

Devon and Cornwall

0.3

0.6

1.4

2.3

10.0

31.8

172.2

Dorset

0.4

0.6

1.7

3.9

10.0

31.1

168.2

Durham

0.5

1.2

1.5

3.0

14.8

41.1

226.1

Essex

0.3

0.7

1.3

2.7

8.8

28.6

160.8

Gloucestershire

0.7

1.2

1.4

4.0

12.2

33.6

174.4

Greater Manchester

0.3

0.7

2.2

3.4

14.3

43.7

253.2

Hampshire

0.2

0.4

1.9

2.6

10.1

33.5

162.3

Hertfordshire

0.4

0.6

1.5

2.9

8.6

25.2

168.8

Humberside

0.5

1.1

1.8

3.8

12.8

35.9

195.6

Kent

0.3

0.6

1.4

3.0

10.8

29.9

180.5

Lancashire

0.3

0.8

1.3

2.9

12.7

39.1

196.3

Leicestershire

0.4

1.2

1.7

2.9

10.9

31.3

192.5

Lincolnshire

0.4

0.7

1.2

2.1

9.7

27.4

142.0

London(3)

0.6

1.3

3.2

6.6

23.2

71.6

321.9

Merseyside

0.5

1.0

2.3

4.4

16.1

46.9

243.9

Norfolk

0.4

1.2

1.3

3.6

9.7

30.7

145.9

Northamptonshire

0.6

0.9

1.4

3.2

10.5

29.9

160.3

Northumbria

0.4

0.9

1.9

3.7

13.7

42.6

227.9

North Yorkshire

0.5

0.9

2.0

2.9

11.5

35.4

162.9

Nottinghamshire

0.4

0.6

1.8

3.3

11.9

37.1

187.8

South Yorkshire

0.4

0.9

1.8

3.4

13.2

37.3

201.6

Staffordshire

0.5

0.6

1.3

3.0

9.1

33.8

170.8

Suffolk

0.4

1.0

1.5

2.9

9.2

26.2

150.0

Surrey

0.6

0.7

2.1

3.4

9.6

30.1

138.0

Sussex

0.3

1.1

1.4

3.1

11.6

30.3

159.2

Thames Valley

0.1

0.6

1.7

2.2

10.1

26.7

160.8

Warwickshire

0.8

1.0

1.5

3.2

9.7

26.5

155.3

West Mercia

0.3

0.8

1.4

2.3

9.5

32.3

155.7

West Midlands

0.2

1.1

1.4

2.1

13.6

42.9

256.2

West Yorkshire

0.3

0.9

1.7

3.1

13.2

35.7

214.8

Wiltshire

0.5

1.3

1.1

3.0

11.0

25.9

153.4

Dyfed-Powys

0.6

1.0

2.2

3.0

11.9

38.2

180.2

Gwent

0.5

0.9

1.8

2.7

11.1

40.8

205.6

North Wales

0.6

1.0

2.2

2.2

11.7

38.0

186.5

South Wales

0.4

0.7

2.4

4.5

13.2

43.4

206.6

(1) Full-time equivalent figures include those on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave.
(2 )Population data taken from Mid-2002 Population Estimates (ONS).
(3 )Officers per 100,000 population for City of London and Metropolitan police are combined.

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