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17 Sep 2007 : Column 2250Wcontinued
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the Government will publish its review of electoral systems in use in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: It is anticipated that the review of voting systems will be completed by the end of the year.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many firearm-related offences were recorded in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Coaker [holding answer 12 September 2007]: I have been asked to reply.
Firearms are taken to be involved in an incident if they are fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used as a threat. The number of offences recorded by Cambridgeshire Constabulary in which firearms (excluding air weapons) were reported to have been used between 2001-02 and 2005-06 is given in the following table. These centrally-collected data cannot be broken down to a more local level. Figures for 2006-07 are scheduled to be published in January 2008.
|Crimes recorded in which firearms (excluding air weapons) were reported to have been used( 1) : Cambridgeshire constabulary 2001-02 to 2005-06( 2)|
|Number of firearm offences|
|(1) By the weapon being fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used in a threat. (2) Data for 2006-07 will be published in January 2008. (3) Figures for some crime categories may have been inflated by some police forces implementing the principles of the National Crime Recording Standard before 1 April 2002. Note: The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced nationally in April 2002 and figures for some crime categories may have been inflated by this. Figures from 2002-03 onwards are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.|
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what contingency plans are in place to meet the needs and requirements of legal aid clients in circumstances where significant numbers of legal aid providers cease operating. 
Mr. Wills: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not expect significant numbers of legal aid providers to cease operating in the foreseeable future. Where providers do withdraw from legal aid work, for example when contracts are re-tendered, the LSC is well experienced in finding alternative suppliers.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what research his Department has conducted on the impact of fixed legal aid fees on the provision of legal aid since the publication of Lord Carters review of legal aid procurement in 2006. 
Mr. Wills: Each fixed fee scheme published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) is accompanied by an impact assessment that shows the result of internal work undertaken by the LSC. The LSC also commissioned research from Otterburn Legal Consulting Ltd which considered the impact on criminal firms of the new fee schemes.
The LSC published the final report in April and it is available on the LSCs website at:
In addition the LSC and my Department commissioned work by NERA Economic Consulting which looks at the impact of fixed fees as part of a wider examination of the possibility of minimum thresholds for legal aid work. The LSC will publish this research on its website when the work has been finalised.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was paid to the last Lord Chancellor as a lump sum on termination of his employment. 
Mr. Straw: To date no payment has been made over to the former Lord Chancellor, my right hon. Friend Lord Falconer. As I told the House on 23 July, I will make a statement on this matter in due course.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the Libra computer system will be operational in all magistrates courts in England and Wales. 
Maria Eagle: Libra deployment is currently scheduled to complete in December 2008.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) males and (b) females have been (i) arrested and (ii) prosecuted for using their mobile phones while driving since the legislation banning their use while driving was introduced, broken down by age group. 
Maria Eagle: Information requested on arrests for summary motoring offences of use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving is not collected centrally.
Available information taken from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, for 2004 (latest available) is provided in the following table. 2005 data will be available in the autumn of 2007.
|Proceedings( 1,2) at magistrates courts for offences of using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving( 3) by sex and age group of offender, England and Wales, 2004( 4)|
|Number of offences|
|Sex||All ages||Under 18||18 and under 21||21 and under 25||25( 5)||26 and under 30||30 and under 35||35 and under 40||40 and under 50||50 and under 60||60 and over|
|(1) The table shows the number of offences dealt with and not the number of persons appearing in court.|
(2) Includes cases where fixed penalty notices were originally issued but not paid and subsequently referred to court.
(3) Offences under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, Regulations 110 (1), 110 (2 and 110 (3).
(4) The offences were introduced as from 1 December 2003. The court proceedings database records only one proceeding in that year.
(5) Age 25 separate as used as a default age when date of birth is not known.
1. In 2003 1,888 fixed penalty notices were issued for offences of using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving. In 2004 the figure was 73,976.
2. It is known that for some police force areas, the reporting of court proceedings in particular those relating to summary motoring offences, may be less than complete. Work is under way to ensure that the magistrates courts case management system being implemented by the Ministry of Justice reports all motoring offences to the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. This will enable more complete figures to be disseminated.
(3.) 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
Court proceedings database held by OCJR.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether any probation areas in England and Wales have issued policy statements since 1 January 2006 on (a) the existence of or the attitude to be taken towards gang membership and (b) the reporting arrangements for offenders believed to be gang members or affected by gang membership. 
Mr. Hanson: No such statements have been issued, although some probation areas have developed and disseminated relevant good practice guidance. The National Offender Management Service is organising a national seminar this autumn for practitioners to share current examples of good practice and to develop a best practice guide for offender managers nationally.
Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people detained at open prisons have been granted permission to keep and use a car for work assignments; and how many have been convicted of (a) murder, (b) grievous bodily harm, (c) sexual offences and (d) rape; 
(2) what criteria are taken into account when considering whether to grant a prisoner detained at an open prison permission to keep and use a car for work assignments; and whether the nature of the crime committed is taken into account. 
Mr. Hanson: Prisoners entering the open estate are subject to rigorous risk assessment. A further risk assessment is undertaken before being allowed to use a motor vehicle to attend work placements.
Work placements are designed to promote successful reintegration into the community, reduce the likelihood of re-offending and improve the resettlement outcomes of prisoners. The resettlement regime provides prisoners with increasing levels of personal responsibility, ensures that they are tested rigorously on any risk areas in an environment closer to that found on release and in particular equips them with readily transferable skills and practical experiences which they can take to employers in their home areas once discharged.
As at 10 September 2007, 202 prisoners in open conditions have permission to keep and use a car for work purposes under the above regime and one prisoner keeps and uses a motorcycle. Of these, 33 have been convicted of murder, seven of grievous bodily harm and one of rape and murder. Public protection is our greatest priority.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how managed moves authorised by the Deputy Director General of HM Prison Service are monitored; who is responsible for monitoring them; to whom they report; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: There is no separate monitoring arrangement for managed appointments at senior manager level. The appointment of senior managers to operational positions, including all governor and deputy governor posts is published weekly on the Prison Service intranet. When an appointment has been managed this is clearly indicated.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of staff moves to (a) deputy governor and (b) governor grades were by managed appointment in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: Out of a total of 146 vacancies in governing governor posts, since October 2003 to date, 52 governing governor posts have been appointed via managed moves (36 per cent.) and 94 as a result of open competition; out of a total of 60 deputy governor posts, 13 were appointed via managed moves (22 per cent.) and 47 via open competition.
|Move type||Governor grades||Deputy governor||Total|
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