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Sexual Offences: Children

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken by her Department to tackle child sexual exploitation. [167548]

Mr. Coaker: On 13 June 2007 we published the Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders. This contains a number of actions which will enhance child protection, including by improving the management of sex offenders in the community.

On 27 November 2006 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Ireland on the exchange of information on convicted sex offenders travelling between the two countries.

We established the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in April last year, and provided it with a budget of over £4 million this year. We have introduced a range of new offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which protect children from sexual exploitation. These include: paying for the sexual services of a child; causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography; arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography; and controlling a child prostitute. All of these offences have a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment.

In January 2006 we published a Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy, which includes specific measures to prevent child sexual exploitation, and to support and protect those who have been sexually exploited. The strategy includes a commitment to update guidance on safeguarding children who have been sexually exploited, which will also encourage effective investigation and prosecution of criminal activities by those who coerce or abuse children in this way.

In October 2006 the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre was established. Its role is to co-ordinate and provide expertise in developing a multi-agency response to human trafficking, including the trafficking of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

On 23 March 2007 the Home Office published the UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking, which includes a chapter specifically addressing the trafficking of children. On the same day the Home Secretary signed the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.

On 3 October 2007 the Home Secretary launched Operation Pentameter 2. This is a UK-wide police operation which aims to rescue and protect victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, and to identify, disrupt, arrest and bring to justice those involved in criminal activity.

Tackling Gangs Action Programme

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the membership of the Tackling Gangs Action Programme is; and what terms of reference have been given to the unit. [169485]

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Mr. Coaker: Deputy chief constable Jon Murphy (seconded from the Association of Chief Police Officers) leads the Tackling Gangs Action Programme team.

There are full-time members of the team from the following organisations:

There are part-time members from the following organisations:

The terms of reference for the programme are as follows:

1. The Tackling Gangs Action Programme (TGAP) has been set up to build on existing work to reduce serious violence, particularly the use of firearms, perpetrated by young people as part of gang-related activity;

2. The programme's scope is primarily the use of firearms to commit violent crime by young people as part of gang-related activity, specifically within the four cities. Knife and other violent crime will not be considered other than where it involves gang activities in the four areas. Gangs in this context should be interpreted as street gangs, not peer groups or organised crime networks.

3. The programme will be delivered in partnership with colleagues in the Home Office Violent Crime Unit and a range of stakeholders. The programme will not address issues outside of its scope. However, it may flag up important issues outside its remit to the sponsoring board member, Moira Wallace (Director General, Crime Reduction and Community Safety), who may then ask the relevant business area to consider them.

4. The programme will report to the sponsoring board member, Moira Wallace, and the senior responsible officer, Vanessa Nicholls (Director, Crime and Drugs Strategy), weekly.

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5. The Home Secretary will report to the Prime Minister on the progress of the programme, copied to members of the ministerial task force.

6. Decisions on the direction of the programme will be taken by the Home Secretary, Permanent Secretary and sponsoring board member (in that order). Contributions from interested parties will be treated as advice/recommendations.

7. The programme leader, DCC Jon Murphy, is responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the programme's objectives.

8. The sponsoring board member, Moira Wallace, has overall responsibility for programme delivery.

9. The violent crime unit, led by Simon King, has responsibility for ensuring that the programme team is aware of relevant ongoing activity on violent crime, and will work in close partnership with the programme team to ensure that the outcome of the programme's work is jointly owned. The violent crime unit remains responsible for the policy in this area.

10. The programme leader, DCC Jon Murphy, and the head of violent crime unit, Simon King, will be jointly responsible for ensuring the integration of the team's work into the violent crime unit's ongoing work when the programme team is dissolved.

11. The sponsoring board member is responsible for ensuring: that resources (including staff) are available for the programme team; that information is accessible; and that decisions are made when necessary.

12. The Permanent Secretary has authorised the deployment of the priority support team (PST) to work on the programme. The PST's role should be jointly agreed by the programme leader and the head of the delivery unit.


Armed Forces: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK personnel were deployed on operations at the most recent date for which figures are available, broken down by location. [169457]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of UK personnel deployed on operations by location at 19 November 2007 is shown in the following table. The number of UK service personnel deployed on operations fluctuates on a daily basis for a number of reasons including: leave (rest and recuperation); temporary absence from theatre for training; evacuation from theatre for medical reasons; or the roulement of forces.

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Number of personnel deployed by location( 1)
Location Number

O f which:





At sea




















(1 )Countries with 10 or more personnel are shown separately. Other countries with fewer than 10 personnel per country include Georgia, Nepal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia.

Australia: Peacekeeping Operations

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK’s defence policy of the Australian Prime Minister’s stated intention to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq. [169931]

Des Browne: The Australian Government gave an election commitment to withdraw combat forces from Iraq and to consult with the Iraqi, US, and UK Governments. There is no reason why withdrawal of such forces will have an effect on the UK’s defence policy.

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's head office streamlining consultation document. [169354]

Des Browne: Yes. A copy of the head office streamlining consultation document has been placed in the Library of the House.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-25, on Iraq, what progress has been made in relocating the 500 logistics personnel; and if he will make a statement. [169575]

Des Browne: Although the exact number of personnel in the regional support facility will fluctuate daily, there are now around 500 posts established. The vast majority of these are logistics posts, with the rest a combination of helicopter crew and support, medics and permanent staff. Work continues to develop the facility to meet our operational requirements.

Iraq: Detainees

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any individuals captured by British forces during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have at any subsequent time been held at the United States detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. [169051]

Des Browne [holding answer 28 November 2007]: When we transfer captured individuals into the custody of the United States and the Iraqi authorities in Iraq, and into the custody of the Afghan authorities in Afghanistan, we have an understanding with the
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relevant Government that the transferred individual cannot be removed from the country without our agreement. We have at no time given our consent for any individual to be transferred to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) in-service and (b) out-of-service dates are of all helicopters in service with the (i) Army, (ii) Navy and (iii) Royal Air Force. [168905]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The current in-service dates (ISDs) and the current planning assumptions for out-of-service dates (OSDs) for all military helicopters are listed as follows:

ISDs Current planned OSDs


Agusta 109A



Agusta 109AM



Apache AH Mkl



Gazelle AH1



Lynx Mk 7



Lynx Mk 9



Royal Navy

Lynx Mk3



Lynx Mk8



Merlin Mkl



Sea King Mk4



Sea King Mk5



Sea King Mk6(CR)



Sea King Mk7



Royal Air Force

Chinook Mk2



Chinook Mk2a



Merlin Mk3



Puma HCl



Sea King Mk3



Sea King Mk3a



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