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7 Jan 2008 : Column 146W—continued


The National Debtline and NACRO are the only telephone contact centres that have a generated income. The following table shows these figures:


7 Jan 2008 : Column 147W
£
2005-06 2006-07

National Debtline

323,548

592,432

NACRO Resettlement Helpline (National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders)

23,727

5,724


Detention Centres: Children

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the longest period is for which a child under 16 has been detained in (a) prison awaiting trial and (b) an immigration detention centre awaiting a decision on their asylum status in the last 10 years. [174156]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only by examining the time each child under 16 has spent on remand and in an immigration centre awaiting a decision on their asylum status at a disproportionate cost.

Domestic Violence

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government has taken to increase conviction rates for domestic violence. [173715]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 13 December 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

The National Delivery Plan for Domestic Violence has an objective to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence. This objective includes actions to increase reporting, arrests and conviction rates for domestic violence. Specific actions undertaken to increase the conviction rates for domestic violence include:

These steps are having a positive effect: successful prosecutions for domestic violence cases rose from 46 per cent. in a December 2003 ‘snapshot’ to 65 per cent. during the whole of 2006-07, exceeding the target of 64 per cent. By September 2007, successful prosecutions had reached 68 per cent.

Driving Under the Influence

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many road accidents in Copeland resulted in prosecutions for driving under the influence of alcohol in each year since 1997. [176640]

Maria Eagle: Information on road accidents is a matter for the Department for Transport.


7 Jan 2008 : Column 148W

The information on prosecutions held centrally by my Department does not identify the circumstances of cases and therefore, in the case of drink driving offences, whether an accident was involved. The only case information captured for such prosecutions, apart from the court results for individual offences, is the age and gender of the defendant.

Elections

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to undertake further electoral innovation pilot schemes in the 2008 (a) local and (b) Greater London Authority elections. [176668]

Mr. Wills: It is not intended to undertake electoral innovation pilot schemes in the 2008 (a) local and (b) Greater London Authority elections. However, the Government remain committed to exploring the use of technology to modernise aspects of the electoral process, including to make it more accessible.

Elections: Supermarkets

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment has been made of the consequences for retail competition policy of voting pilots in supermarkets. [176516]

Mr. Wills: Advance voting in retail venues was piloted in Swindon borough council at the May 2007 local elections. They were also used by three local authorities at the May 2006 local elections. These were in the London borough of Lewisham, Rushmoor borough council and Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council.

Voting however has not taken place inside supermarkets although mobile polling stations for advance voting were located in two supermarket car parks in the 2006 Lewisham pilot.

No assessment will be made of the consequences for retail competition policy of voting pilots in supermarkets until there is an intention to extend such pilots more widely.

Electoral Systems

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to publish the review of electoral systems; and if he will make a statement. [176697]

Mr. Wills: The Government have completed a review of the experience of the voting systems introduced in the United Kingdom since 1997 and are making the review ready for publication as soon as possible.

European Convention on Access to Official Documents

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what differences there are between the requirements of the Council of Europe's draft European Convention on Access to Official Documents and the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to public authorities in the UK. [175172]


7 Jan 2008 : Column 149W

Mr. Wills: The Government welcome the work that has been carried out by the Group of Specialists on Access to Official Documents in drawing up a draft convention. The Government are keen that there should be a robust convention along the lines of the Freedom of Information Act. The draft convention lays down principles relating to access, whereas the Freedom of Information Act 2000 sets out the detailed provisions of the access regime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In relation to coverage of public authorities the scope of the convention is broadly the same as the Freedom of Information Act, where it will be open to parties to the convention to broaden the definition of “public authorities” beyond an obligatory minimum standard. The Government are currently seeking views on whether to use the powers under section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act and
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extend the coverage of the Act and if so, which organisations it should consider.

The Group of Specialists will meet again in February 2008 to develop a draft Explanatory Memorandum.

Fixed Penalties

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many fixed penalty notices for disorder were issued by Humberside police in each year since their introduction, broken down by category. [176861]

Maria Eagle: Information on the number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued in Humberside, by offence, from 2004 to 2006 is provided in the following table. The PND scheme was extended to all 43 police forces in England and Wales in 2004.

Number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued to offenders ages 16 and over, Humberside police force area, 2004—06( 1)
Offence description 2004 2005 2006

Higher tier offences

Wasting police time

12

32

76

Misuse of public telecommunications system

5

2

22

Giving false alarm to fire and rescue authority

1

2

Causing harassment, alarm or distress

928

1,957

2,306

Throwing fireworks

2

5

14

Drunk and disorderly

604

679

1,003

Sale of alcohol to under 18(2)

2

45

48

Purchasing alcohol for under 18(2)

2

13

Purchasing alcohol for under 18 for consumption on premises

1

Delivery of alcohol to under 18(2)

1

4

Criminal Damage (under £500)(2)

16

182

719

Theft (retail under 200)(2)

14

329

1,221

Breach of fireworks curfew(3)

1

Possession of category 4 firework(3)

1

Possession by a person under 18 of adult firework(3)

3

1

Sale of alcohol to drunken person(4)

n/a

.

Supply of alcohol to person under 18

n/a

1

Lower tier offences

Trespass on a railway

1

Throwing stones at a train/railway

2

Drunk in a highway

1

5

13

Consumption of alcohol in public place

7

8

30

Depositing and leaving litter

2

6

15

Consumption of alcohol by under 18 on licensed premises(2)

4

Allowing consumption of alcohol for under 18(2)

Buying alcohol by under 18(4)

n/a

1

2

Total

1,596

3,265

5,490

n/a= Not applicable. (1) 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 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. (2) Offence added with effect from 1 November 2004. (3) Offence added with effect from 11 October 2004. (4) Offence added with effect from 4 April 2005.

Fraud: Elections

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the timetable is for the full implementation of provisions on requiring signatures in polling stations. [176332]

Bridget Prentice: The Government have previously explained that they intend to bring forward primary legislation to provide a clear requirement for electors in polling stations to sign for their ballot paper, and for the ballot paper to be withheld should an elector refuse to sign. We will bring forward such legislation when parliamentary time allows.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department, or the former Department for Constitutional Affairs, provided on the
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maximum amount of time a public authority can take to assess the public interest when responding to a validly constituted Freedom of Information request. [176671]

Mr. Wills: Guidance provided by my Department for Freedom of Information practitioners states that any additional time taken in responding to a request to assess the public interest must be “realistic and reasonable in the circumstances of the particular case”. The guidance can be found in full in the Procedural guidance on our website:


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