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19 Feb 2007 : Column 318W—continued

Human Trafficking

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ask the trafficking victims who he meets when he visits the Poppy Project on Monday 12 February how old they were when they arrived in the UK and which point of entry they arrived through. [121657]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 9 February 2007]: The Secretary of State for the Home Department did not visit the Poppy project on Monday 12 February.

Identity Cards

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requirements will be made of organisations accredited for the identity verification service. [119613]

John Reid: The detailed terms and conditions that an organisation must agree to in order to become an accredited user of future identity verification services based on the National Identity Register have not yet been finalised.

Mount Prison

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners held in HM Prison The Mount (a) are non-British EU nationals, (b) are non-EU foreign nationals, (c) are seeking leave to remain in the United Kingdom and (d) have been UK residents for less than 10 years. [121183]

Mr. Sutcliffe: At the end of December 2006 there were 56 non-British European Union nationals and 236 non-EU foreign nationals detained in the Mount prison. Information on parts (c) and (d) of the question could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

These figures have been 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 although shown to the last individual the figures may not be accurate to that level.

North Sea Camp Prison: Asbestos

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to remove asbestos from buildings at North Sea Camp prison, Lincolnshire. [120418]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There are no plans to remove the asbestos due to lack of significant capital funding. All asbestos is inspected on an annual basis and any deterioration is addressed through normal maintenance procedures.

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Current inspection reports do not show any serious deterioration and the asbestos is stable. However, funding is being sought to re-clad the buildings as good practice. No asbestos is ever worked on by unauthorised personnel and strict adherence to the health and safety regulations and requirements are maintained by the on-site maintenance manager and his staff.


Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will discuss with police forces ways to identify and close down websites which advocate anorexia and suicide. [111607]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Advocating anorexia and/or suicide is not necessarily illegal. Nevertheless, the Government take this difficult problem seriously and are taking a range of non-legislative steps to tackle it, including raising awareness of the potential dangers of suicide websites being accessed by vulnerable people; encouraging search engine companies to ensure that search results give prominence to sites offering help and support to people contemplating suicide. The Department of Health is also continuing to explore what more non-legislative action might be possible in the context of their Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Government have no plans to discuss this issue with the police.

Positive co-operation exists between internet service providers and law enforcement agencies. One example of that is the acceptable use policies in place in most service providers. These vary between companies but may enable service providers to remove material from their site not only if it is illegal but also if it is distasteful or otherwise unacceptable. Anyone who is concerned about the content of a website should approach the internet service provider in the first instance.

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether non-geographic police forces are governed by the same complaints procedures as national police forces. [119130]

Mr. McNulty: Under S26 of the Police Reform Act 2002 the IPCC may enter into an agreement with any other authority ‘which maintains a body of constables’ in order to apply the police complaints system to that body of constables and anyone employed for the purposes of that body of constables. Such agreements require the approval of the Secretary of State. Agreements have been approved in respect of the following non-geographic police forces British Transport Police, the Ministry of Defence Police and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (now the Civil Nuclear Constabulary).

Prison Officers Association

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the investigation by Tom Murtagh into professional standards of the Prison Officers’ Association Executive Committee to conclude; and if he will make a statement. [121102]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: The investigation by Mr. Tom Murtagh was cancelled on the basis of legal advice.

Prison Service: Corruption

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the pursuit of which activities prison officers were found to be corrupt in the last period for which figures are available; and what steps he plans to take to reduce the incidence of corruption among prison staff. [121201]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The activities engaged in by prisons staff who have been found to be corrupt include theft, unauthorised disclosure of information, trafficking illegal or prohibited items into prisons, and inappropriate relationships. It is not possible to provide precise figures as data held centrally on staff corruption is held in individual personal records. To obtain figures on prison officers found to be corrupt would involve interrogation of each individual record and would be at disproportionate cost.

The Prison Service is currently in the process of building on its strategy of tackling staff corruption established in 2003 and strengthening its approach.

Prisoners: Mentally Ill

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of prisoners are diagnosed as having a mental illness. [120495]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Diagnostic information on individual prisoners is not held centrally.

A survey, Psychiatric Morbidity among Prisoners in England and Wales (Office for National Statistics, 1997) showed that 90 per cent. of prisoners had at least one significant mental health problem, including personality disorder, psychosis, neurosis, alcohol misuse and drug dependence. A copy is available in the Library.

Mental health services for prisoners have been a key part of the Government’s recent reforms of health services for prisoners. The Department of Health is now investing £20 million a year in NHS mental health in-reach services for prisoners. These are community mental health teams working within 102 prisons, with some 360 extra staff employed. Every prison in England and Wales has access to these services.

Race-related Crime

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Romford of 9 February 2006, Official Report, column 143W, on race-related crime, what policy proposals have been made following the meetings with key stakeholders to tackle homophobic hate crime more effectively. [119218]

Mr. Coaker: All hate crime, including homophobic hate crime, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Any crime can be motivated by hate and victims of hate crime may have additional needs because of its very personal nature.

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In December 2006 we produced guidance with examples of good practice of what is being done to tackle homophobic hate crime across the country. This can be found at:

This includes ways to increase reporting, because it is an under reported crime, increasing confidence in the criminal justice system, improving the way we tackle hate crime and better use of data so as to prevent repeat victimisation, hate crime must be taken seriously and its perpetrators held to account for their actions.

Road Traffic Offences

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the surveillance capacity of intelligent road studs, with particular reference to the image quality of the photographs they are capable of taking; and if he will make a statement. [120956]

Mr. McNulty: We are aware of only one company which claims to have developed or to be able to develop intelligent road studs which could be used in speed enforcement.

The Home Office Scientific Development Branch invited the company to demonstrate or provide details of its equipment. They have now formally written to HOSDB, and we will be considering their response.

Secure Training Centres: Restraint Techniques

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions restraint techniques were used in each of the four secure training centres in each of the last three years. [120735]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The information requested, as reported by the secure training centres, is given in the following table. The figures show the use of Physical Control in Care techniques. These include low-level interventions, such as leading a young person away from a situation of potential conflict.

The Youth Justice Board has been working with establishments across the secure estate for children and young people to agree common definitions and counting rules for collecting data on physical interventions. These should make it easier to make comparisons between different types of establishment. They will come into use from April 2007.

Use of restraint in secure training centres, 2004-06
2004 2005( 1) 2006

















(1) The figures for Rainsbrook and Oakhill have been slightly revised since this information was given in response to my hon. Friend’s question of 2 June 2006, Official Report, column 67W.
(2) Establishment increased by 11 places from 31 July 2006
(3) Opened 19 August 2004.

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions handcuffs have been used on trainees in each of the four secure training centres in the last 12 months. [120736]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: During 2006, handcuffs were used at Hassockfield secure training centre on 36 occasions and at Oakhill on eight. They were not used at either Medway or Rainsbrook.

Sentencing: EU Action

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what competence the EU has in the field of sentencing policy. [121466]

Joan Ryan: The EU can require criminal penalties for certain kinds of act (for example, acts relating to terrorism and drug trafficking). But EU legislation on criminal law matters has given member states a wide margin of discretion in providing for penalties. Sentencing policy and the imposition of sentences in individual cases is a matter for member states.

Sexual Offences: Sentencing

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change the period of minimum sentences issued to serious sex offenders. [120869]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government have no plans to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for offenders committing serious sexual offences and no such sentences are currently available. The sentence of mandatory life imprisonment for a second serious sexual offence was replaced by the public protection sentences introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003—the Extended sentence for Public Protection (EPP) and the Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP).

Serious sex offenders whom the courts consider to be dangerous will receive a sentence of imprisonment for public protection, which means they will only be released if and when the parole board considers that to be safe.

Terrorism: Greater London

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many outstanding claims by victims of the 7 July London terrorist attack are being considered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. [119198]

Mr. Sutcliffe: To date the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) have made some 420 compensation awards totalling over £3 million to victims of the London bombings. The Government also donated £3.5 million to the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund, which was passed on to victims in the form of charitable grants.

CICA aim to settle the claims as quickly as they can but, before they can pay compensation, they need police, medical and, where appropriate, other reports in order to establish eligibility and the amount of compensation due. In cases where final settlement is not yet possible, but basic entitlement has been established, CICA have paid an interim award or awards.

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At close of business on 6 February 2007, CICA had received 566 applications arising from the London bombings of 7 July 2005, and applications are still being received.

Of these 566 applications, 142 applicants had not yet received a final decision on their application, though interim awards had been made in 105 of these cases. A further 60 cases were at the review stage, at the request of the applicant (the first level of appeal in a two-tier appeals system); and in two further cases the applicant was appealing the reviewed decision to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (the second tier of the appeals system).

Wellingborough Prison

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what capacity HMP Wellingborough was operating at the end of (a) 1997, (b) 2006 and (c) in the most recent month for which figures are available. [121575]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The total operational capacity at HM Prison Wellingborough was:

Work Permits: Public Sector

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of work permits were granted for public sector employment in each of the last five years. [119610]

John Reid: The information is not centrally recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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