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Approved Premises

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of people housed in approved premises are categorised as (a) high and (b) very high risk; and if he will make a statement. [109672]

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John Reid: As at 30 September 2006, the number of residents housed in Approved Premises in England and Wales and categorised as (a) high risk was 1,191, representing 61 per cent. The number of residents categorised as (b) very high risk was 98, representing5 per cent. The figures do not include data for the Prospects Approved Premises which are a specialist resource for offenders with substance misuse problems.

Asylum Seekers

Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment the Immigration and Nationality Directorate makes of whether children seeking asylum in the UK are economic migrants. [108436]

Mr. Byrne: We consider all asylum applications, including those from children, in accordance with the criteria set out in the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees. That is, the applicant must have a well founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. Each case is assessed on its merits against these criteria and not on whether asylum was sought for economic gain.

Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the proposed reform of the asylum system for unaccompanied asylum seeking children will take into account the (a) legal services, (b) mental health and (c) other needs of those children. [108437]

Mr. Byrne: We are considering a number of improvements to the immigration and support systems for unaccompanied children seeking asylum. One of these is to ensure that the children are only placed in areas of the United Kingdom where the necessary infrastructure is in place to deal with their specialist needs. The availability of good quality specialist legal and medical services would be an important factor in deciding which local authorities should take responsibility for UASC care.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken by his Department to improve facilities and services, including medical support and counselling for asylum applicants who have been victims of rape in their country of origin. [108742]

Mr. Byrne: All asylum seekers, including victims of rape, can access primary and secondary care on the national health service, free of charge, while their applications are under consideration. Where rape has been used as a means of torture, non-governmental organisations such as the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture may also provide counselling services.

Asylum seekers who are destitute will be offered accommodation in the Initial Accommodation network. As part of the induction process, asylum seekers will be offered a health assessment funded by the Department of Health and provided by a dedicated team. This offers the asylum seeker the opportunity to disclose issues such as rape or sexual abuse in a confidential environment, to undergo HIV-testing if
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required, and allows the health professionals to make decisions about onward referrals to appropriate services in the area.

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are in place to identify whether an applicant for asylum has been tortured. [109473]

Mr. Byrne: A central aim of the asylum interview is to establish whether the claimant has been mistreated. The interview is conducted by trained decision makers in line with policy and process guidance. The guidance on possible torture victims was prepared with advice from the specialist Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and is published on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate’s website:

Asylum applicants have free access to the national health service and are advised of the facilities available. Those who are detained are additionally given a general examination by medical staff on site, during which they are asked whether they have been tortured.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many asylum seekers who made an unsuccessful application for indefinite leave to remain under the concession announced by the Home Secretary on 24 October 2003 have (a) made a new application and (b) had an application granted under the replacement note setting out the concession with effect from 12 June; [109801]

(2) what reasons were given for refusal of applications from asylum seekers refused leave under the family indefinite leave to remain exercise of24 October 2003; and how many applications were refused for each reason; [109804]

(3) how many asylum seekers (a) applied and (b) had an application granted under the concession for indefinite leave to remain under the terms of the note of 24 October 2003 until its replacement on 12 June 2006. [109805]

(4) how many asylum seekers have (a) applied and (b) had an application granted under the concession for indefinite leave to remain as set out in the replacement note of 12 June 2006; [109806]

(5) how many asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been refused and who have no further right of appeal have been granted indefinite leave to remain under (a) the leave to remain concession announced by the Home Secretary on 24 October 2003 and (b) the modification of the concession made by the note of12 June 2006. [109807]

Mr. Byrne: The requested information is unavailable and would be obtainable only by examination of individual case files, at disproportionate cost.

Information on the ‘Family ILR Exercise’ is published in quarterly web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin ‘Asylum Statistics United Kingdom’. Copies of these publications and others relating to general immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Developmentand Statistics Directorate website at

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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent by (a) the police and (b) prison and detention facilities on (i) beds and (ii) furniture in each year since 1997; and what percentage was sourced from (A) the UK, (B) other EU countries and (C) elsewhere. [107375]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is notheld centrally and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost. Police expenditure is a matter for each police authority.

Bonus Payments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria a civil servant in his Department must fulfil (a) to be considered for a bonus on top of their regular salary and (b) to be awarded a bonus. [101023]

Mr. Byrne: The criteria for awarding civil servants within the Home Office a bonus payment on top of their regular salary are based upon the achievement of individual work objectives. An annual performance appraisal assessment is made by the line manager or supervisor. If this assessment concludes that the objectives have been exceeded and overall performance is exceptional, then a performance bonus payment is awarded.

The Home Office also has a recognition bonus scheme. Bonus payments recognise outstanding achievement or individual contribution. Line managers may recommend individuals for these at any time of the year.

Other types of bonus payments awarded to civil servants within the Home Office include:

The criteria for awarding Senior Civil Servants within the Home Office with bonus payments is set by the Prime Minister following independent advice from the Senior Salaries Review Body. The level of bonus payment takes into account a number of factors including individual performance against agreed priority business objectives and targets.

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Cannabis Prosecutions

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions relating to the use, distribution, supply or possession of cannabis there were in each year since 2002. [106924]

Mr. Coaker: Available information relates to the number of persons found guilty or cautioned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, of unlawful production, unlawful supply, possession with intent to supply unlawfully, unlawful possession, and unlawful import and export of cannabis from 2002 up to and including 2004.

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, police forces and other agencies. 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.

Persons( 1) found guilty or cautioned for drug offences involving cannabis by type of offence, England and Wales, 2002 to 2004
Type of offence 2002 2003 2004

Unlawful production




Unlawful supply




Possession with intent to supply unlawfully




Unlawful possession




Unlawful import or export




(1) A person who is found guilty of more than one different type of offence is counted against each type of offence under the most severe sentence or order.

Common Visa Offices

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the proposed EU legislation for the establishment of common visa offices; and what its legal base is. [108075]

Mr. Byrne: The draft Regulation (COM (2006) 269 final) amends the Common Consular Instructions for diplomatic and consular posts regarding the introduction of biometric visas and provisions for the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications.

The draft legislation is a development of part of the Schengen acquis in which the United Kingdom has chosen not to take part. The UK is therefore not taking part in the adoption of this legislation and is not bound by it or subject to its application.

The legal base of this draft regulation derives from the treaty establishing the European Community; in particular article 62 (2) (b) (ii).


Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 16 October 2006 from the right hon. Member for Manchester Gorton with regard to Mrs Carmen Nesbeth. [105795]

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John Reid: I wrote to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 12 December 2006.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines he has issued to his officials for time taken in responding to hon. Members’ letters; and what the performance was against those guidelines in the most recent period for which figures are available. [109761]

Mr. Byrne: The Home Office’s published targets are to respond to 95 per cent. of all ministerial correspondence within 15 working days for the central Home Office, and 20 working days for Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) and Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPS).

The most recent statistics available are for the month of October 2006. These show that 97 per cent. of ministerial correspondence for the central Home Office was replied to within target. Percentages during the same period for HMPS and IND were 95 per cent. and 82 per cent. respectively. For the year 2006, up to the end of October, the average response rate within target for 2006 was 92 per cent. in the central Home Office, 96 per cent. in HMPS and 77 per cent. in IND.

Counter-terrorism Review

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when his review of the UK's counter-terrorism capacity is expected to report; and whether the report will be published; [105579]

(2) how many officials in his Department are employed in his Department's review of the UK's counter-terrorism capacity; and how many officials have been seconded to the review from other Departments; [105580]

(3) which (a) official and (b) Minister is leading his Department's review of the UK's counter-terrorism capacity; [105581]

(4) what estimate he has made of the total cost of his Department's review of the UK's counter-terrorism capacity; [105582]

(5) how many officials from his Department have been appointed to liaise with HM Treasury's review of security and counter-terrorism across Government; and of what grade. [105583]

Mr. McNulty: In the course of the autumn, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary led a review on behalf of the Prime Minister into our response to the threat from terrorism. The Home Secretary was supported in this work by a group of Ministers and officials from the relevant departments.

Crime Statistics

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the percentage of crimes committed in England and Wales by registered drug addicts. [107128]

Mr. Coaker: The register of drug addicts no longer exists. However, the recently published results from the first year of the Arrestee Survey provide information on the proportion of arrests which involve someone who reports using drugs. During the period October
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2003 to September 2004 an estimated 57 per cent. of arrestees aged 17 and over reported having used a drug in the past month, while 28 per cent. said they had used heroin and/or crack and/or cocaine in the past month.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) armed robberies and (b) car thefts were recorded in Suffolk in each of the last five years. [110049]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is given in the tables. Latest firearm offences statistics relate to 2004-05.

Table 1: Offences of robbery recorded by the police in Suffolk in which firearms were reported to have been used
Number of offences











(1) Figures may have been inflated by some police forces implementing the principles of the National Crime Recording Standard before 1 April 2002.
(2) The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1 April 2002. Figures for some crime categories may have been inflated by this.

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