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11 Jun 2007 : Column 879W—continued

South East Strategic Health Authority: Redundancy

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many individuals employed by the South East strategic health authority have been made redundant since its inception; what percentage of staff this represents; and what the total cost of redundancy payments has been. [141346]

Caroline Flint: There were 241 compulsory redundancies made in South East Coast strategic health authority in the 2006-07 financial year.

This represents 0.25 per cent, of the total workforce of 97,980 in the September 2006 census.

The costs of redundancy payments have not yet been collected centrally.

Strokes: Diagnosis

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were diagnosed with a stroke in the most recent year for which figures are available. [140921]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 7 June 2007]: Hospital Episode Statistics from 2004-05 suggest there were around 73,000 emergency admissions with a primary diagnosis of stroke. However, this figure under-represents the true incidence of stroke for two reasons: firstly some hospital patients who have a stroke may also have another condition as their primary diagnosis; secondly, not all stroke patients currently attend hospital.

Academic estimates suggest there are around 110,000 strokes in England per annum.

Home Department

Immigration Policy Enforcement

10. Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to enforce immigration policies. [141133]

Mr. Byrne: What people want to see is the UK’s immigration system working fairly and effectively.

That is why we have:


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We want go further—that is why we are:

Asylum Seekers

11. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to remove failed asylum seekers. [141134]

Mr. Byrne: The Border and Immigration Agency employs a raft of measures to maximise the number of failed asylum seekers removed.

13. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of measures to deport failed asylum seekers. [141137]

Mr. Byrne: The effectiveness of measures deployed to remove failed asylum seekers are assessed on an ongoing basis. These measures have ensured that the removal of failed asylum seekers has been steadily increasing over the past few years.

Jamil el-Banna

12. Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the immigration status of Jamil el-Banna. [141136]

Mr. Byrne: Mr. el-Banna was recognised as a refugee by the United Kingdom in 1997, and was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2000. That leave has now lapsed.

Safer Neighbourhood Teams

14. Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what role he expects Safer Neighbourhood Teams to play in reducing the number of criminal damage offences. [141138]

Mr. Coaker: Neighbourhood Policing Teams can play a vital role with others in tackling criminal damage.

They get to know people in their local neighbourhoods so that they have a better understanding of the nature and extent of the problem and what contributions others can make to reducing it.

They can then work with a range of agencies who can take action in line with local priorities, as well as taking police enforcement action where appropriate.

Special Constables

16. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to encourage staff in retail establishments to join the special constabulary. [141140]


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Mr. Coaker: In February 2004, the Home Office, Metropolitan police, Dixons, and Woolworths launched the Shopwatch initiative, which recruits employees as special constables from the retail establishments to patrol specific retail areas.

The Shopwatch programme was piloted in the general Camden area, Regent/Oxford street and the Birmingham Bullring Palisades.

The Shopwatch programme has succeed in reducing retail crime by 50 per cent. in 2004 in participating retail stores.

The Shopwatch programme is a prime example of proactive partnership working across the community and forces

Knife Crime

18. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests for knife-related crime there were in each of the last four years. [141142]

Mr. Coaker: The main arrests collection held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform covers persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences) by main offence group (ie violence against the person, robbery, burglary etc.) only.

Knife related offences are not specifically defined by statute, and details of the individual circumstances of arrests are not asked for as part of the Arrests for Recorded Crime (Notifiable Offences) collection.

Immigration System

19. Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will increase the staffing resources dealing with priority legacy immigration cases. [141143]

Mr. Byrne: The chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency, Lin Homer, wrote to the Home Affairs Committee on 19 February with an update on the Legacy Programme. Her letter confirmed that a new directorate had been established to deal specifically with legacy cases, with significant case-working capability.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made in reviewing the immigration system; and if he will make a statement. [141139]

Mr. Byrne: We are making good progress against the milestones published in the IND Review, which was published last year. This includes meeting almost all of the milestones we had set to achieve by April 2007.

Intelligence Sharing

20. Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with West Yorkshire police on the exchange of intelligence between them and the security services. [141144]


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Mr. McNulty: I have not had any discussions with West Yorkshire police on the exchange of intelligence between them and the Security Service.

It is not appropriate to discuss operational matters. The sharing of intelligence is a matter for the agencies involved.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

21. Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to visit the Immigration and Nationality Directorate before he leaves office. [141145]

Mr. Byrne: As part of my ongoing programme of regional visits to the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) operations in Croydon and around the UK, I discuss the services provided by managed migration, asylum and enforcement with both staff and stakeholders. I also regularly discuss the efficiency of the service with the chief executive of BIA, and other senior officials.

Antisocial Behaviour

22. Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with Ministers and officials in the Ministry of Justice on combating anti-social behaviour. [141146]

Mr. Coaker: I have had no formal meetings with Ministers or officials in the Ministry of Justice, since its inception last month, specifically concerning antisocial behaviour.

Ministers and officials in the Home Office engage in regular discussions with their counterparts in the Ministry of Justice, and other Government Departments about combating antisocial behaviour and other issues.

Asylum

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions are in place to help asylum-seekers gain a better understanding of the UK asylum process. [140649]

Mr. Byrne: Within a week of making their asylum application an applicant meets their case owner. The case owner remains the applicant's single point of contact for all aspects of their asylum application. At this first reporting event, the case owner fully explains to the applicant how the asylum process works and answers any questions. They also provide information about access to legal representatives. The applicant is able to contact their case owner at any time during the asylum process with any queries or concerns they may have.

Accommodation providers and voluntary sector organisations also deliver briefings to applicants about the asylum process and applicants' rights and responsibilities while they are in the UK. We are currently working with them to update this briefing to ensure it properly reflects our process and is fully up to date.


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The Border and Immigration Agency public website also contains information about asylum policies and procedures.

Asylum: Fraud

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were convicted in 2006 of conspiracy to help people gain asylum fraudulently; and how many of those were deported. [138600]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 24 May 2007]: The information could be obtained by the detailed examination of individual case records only at disproportionate cost.

Asylum: Gender

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of New Asylum Model case owners in each region are (a) male and (b) female; and if he will make a statement. [140902]

Mr. Byrne: The requested information is shown in the table.

Percentage case owners
Regional asylum teams Male( 1) Female( 2)

North East

45

55

Wales and the South West

52

48

West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England

26

74

North West

40

60

London and the South East

41

59

Scotland and Northern Ireland

38

62

(1) Percentages are based on management information. (2) Includes Detained Fast Track teams at Harmondsworth and Yarl's Wood.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Border and Immigration Agency is expected to have the capacity to allow asylum seekers at screening stage to express a preference as to the sex of the New Asylum Model case owner to be allocated to them and for that request to be met; and if he will make a statement. [140903]

Mr. Byrne: Applicants can request a gender specific case owner at any time, including during the screening interview. All requests will be met where it is operationally possible to do so.

Community Support Officers: Protective Clothing

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidance to all chief constables in England and Wales advising them of the benefits of stab vests for police community support officers. [123882]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 27 February 2007]: The Home Office Scientific Development Branch produces standards for body armour which incorporate a number of different protection levels. These standards were last published in 2003 but we plan to issue revised standards
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in the next month. All body armour is tested against these standards at Home Office approved test houses.

In 1995 the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, in collaboration with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), developed a Police Operational Requirement (POR) for body armour. This requirement states that the protection provided by ballistic and stab resistant body armour must be sufficient to prevent the wearer from sustaining serious or permanent injury. To achieve this, five vital organs located within the torso must be protected: the heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys.

The provision of police equipment is a matter for chief officers. However I have written to the forces which do not provide protective armour to police community officers to ask them to clarify the reasons for their decision, and I will let my hon. Friend know the responses of the four forces at the earliest opportunity.


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