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4 Feb 2008 : Column 808W—continued

Emergency Calls

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average response time to 999 calls was for the fire services in each year since 1997, broken down by each local authority; and if she will make a statement. [178602]

Mr. Dhanda: I have been asked to reply.


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A table has been deposited in the Library of the House which shows the average response times taken by each fire and rescue services between 1997 and 2006, the most recent calendar year for which data are available. The table shows the time from the initial call to attendance, and the time from mobilisation to attendance (i.e. the actual driving time).

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of calls to the 999 emergency services number were for the (a) police and (b) fire service in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [182630]

Mr. McNulty: The Home Office does not keep central records of the proportion of calls to the 999 emergency services number that were for the police, fire service or any other emergency service. Individual police and fire authorities will hold information relating to the number of 999 emergency calls they have received.

European Extradition Warrant

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 10 October 2007, Official Report, column 83W, on the European Extradition Warrant, if she will take steps to establish and maintain a record of those British nationals extradited to EU member states under a European Extradition Warrant who are subsequently found guilty; and if she will make a statement. [174165]

Meg Hillier [holding answer 17 December 2007]: The purpose of extradition is to ensure that those accused of a crime do not avoid justice by leaving the country in which the alleged offence took place. The fugitives unit of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) processes extraditions from the UK to member states of the European Union under the European Arrest Warrant system. The involvement of SOCA finishes when the extradition case is concluded, either by the person being extradited to the requesting country or by the extradition request being dismissed. SOCA has no statutory role in the monitoring of cases post extradition.

However, information about convictions received abroad by UK citizens—whether extradition was involved or not—may be of interest to the UK police, and this information is obtained from countries of the Council of Europe (which includes all EU member states) by the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Record information (UKCA-ECR) which is a part of the Criminal Records Office of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACRO).

Extradition

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for the extradition of UK citizens were received in each of the last five years; and how many of those extradition applications were granted. [182772]

Meg Hillier: The Home Office is the Government Department responsible for extradition. It is long-standing policy and practice to neither confirm nor
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deny the existence of an extradition request ahead of a person's arrest. Table 1, as follows, sets out how many UK citizens have been arrested pursuant to extradition requests made to England and Wales since 1 January 2003; and how many UK citizens have been extradited.

Since 1 January 2004, the UK has been operating the Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant (EAW) with other member states of the EU. The Home Office has no involvement in the operation of the EAW. The Serious Organised Crime agency is the designated UK authority for the receipt and transmission of EAWs in the UK. Table 2, as follows, gives the number of UK nationals (a) arrested and (b) surrendered under the EAW procedure.

Table 1: Extradition Statistics
Arrests pursuant to the extradition requests received Extradited( 1)

2003

21

12

2004

31

18

2005

5

1

2006

14

6

2007

6

0

Total

77

37


Table 2: European Arrest Warrant Statistics
EAWs received Extradited( 1)

2004

12

5

2005

42

11

2006

49

26

2007(2)

48

22

Total

151

64

(1) A person is not always extradited in the same year an extradition request/EAW is made. (2) These figures are from January to October 2007.

Human Trafficking

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will announce a timetable for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings; and if she will make a statement. [177081]

Jacqui Smith: The Government are determined to prioritise the effort to tackle the misery of human trafficking. That is why we intend to ratify the convention before the end of this year, subject to achieving necessary changes to domestic legislation in all parts of the UK.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what new research has been commissioned or undertaken by her Department into trafficking for forced labour since the publication of the UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking; and what further research is planned for 2008. [177082]

Jacqui Smith: Knowledge about the nature and scale of trafficking for forced labour in the UK can be developed either by specific research or through intelligence collation.

Intelligence on trafficking for forced labour is currently being gathered from police forces across the UK under Operation Pentameter 2 and will be used to update our assessment of the extent of the problem. In the interim no further research on forced labour has
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been commissioned although the research on whether there are any specific risks of abuse concerning those entering to carry out domestic work or in related categories is still ongoing.

Work is also being undertaken on trafficking for forced labour as part of the implementation process of the Council of Europe Convention. In 2008 the Home Office will be running a pilot project, supported by the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, aimed at tackling trafficking for forced labour.

Identity and Passport Service: Disciplinary Proceedings

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in the Identity and Passport Service and its predecessor agencies (a) investigated, (b) dismissed and (c) disciplined for corruption or other irregularities relating to the issuing or processing of British passports in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [181676]

Meg Hillier: The figures for the number of people within the Identity and Passport Service who have been (a) investigated, (b) dismissed and (c) disciplined for corruption or other irregularities relating to the issuing or processing of British passports are given in the following table.

These figures do not include any ongoing investigations which may be underway within IPS.

Investigated Disciplined( 1) Dismissed

2002-03

11

0

2

2003-04

39

4

0

2004-05

28

7

4

2005-06

17

0

2

2006-07

9

1

2

(1) Indicates an action other than dismissal

Identity and Passport Service: Vetting

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people (a) employed by and (b) working as contractors and couriers for the Identity and Passport Service have been subject to Criminal Records Bureau checks at each level of disclosure. [181629]

Meg Hillier: The only Identity and Passport Service (IPS) staff required to have Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance are staff within the Interview Office Network. Currently there are 493 staff in post and they all have CRB clearance. This is part of the pre-employment checks.

For interims, consultants, and contractors on work packages, none are required to have CRB checks as they are not working with children or the vulnerable.

IPS partners, special mail services (SMS) couriers, undergo a number of employment checks, but are not CRB checked.

Identity Cards

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she will answer Questions 164855, 164765, 164967 and 164968 on the cost of the
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identity card and biometric passport scheme, tabled by the hon. Member for Fareham on 12 November 2007. [174763]

Meg Hillier: I refer the hon. Member to my replies of 17 December 2006, Official Report, columns 960-61W and on 7 January 2008, Official Repor t, column 282W.

Identity Cards: Consultants

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department has spent on (a) the identity cards project and (b) external consultants working on the identity cards project to date. [164788]

Meg Hillier: Between the financial years 2003-04 and 2005-06, £41.1 million was spent by the Identity Cards Programme in total.

Of this expenditure, £31.6 million was spent on consulting and contracting services and £180,000 was spent on polling and opinion research.

Since the merger of the Home Office Identity Cards Programme and the UK Passport Service to create the Identity and Passport Service on 1 April 2006, projects to deliver passports including facial images and fingerprints, identity cards and other improvements have been necessarily combined. As much of the technology and operational processes needed to implement identity cards is also required for the implementation of these new passports, this is the most cost-effective way to deliver these initiatives.

Much of the work conducted by Identity and Passport Service cannot be categorised, both financially and operationally, as contributing towards either the introduction of passports with facial images and fingerprints or identity cards alone. The work is accounted for as future development projects which in the 2006-07 financial year amounted to £30.9 million.

The cost of external consultancy and contracted staff allocated to these projects for that year was £21.4 million.

The latest six monthly Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report, published on 8 November 2007, sets out those elements of the cost estimates that relate specifically to passports, those specific to identity cards and those that are common to both. The cost of registering individuals for passports and ID cards is included in common costs because the same technology infrastructure and business processes will be used. In many cases, the same application will result in the issue of both a passport and an ID card.

The latest Cost Report may be found at:

I would refer the hon. Member to that report.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she will reply to the letter of 28 November 2007 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. Nigel Morrison. [181079]


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Jacqui Smith: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 21 January 2008.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she will reply to Question 171109 on the regulation of wheel clamping tabled on 29 November 2007 by the right hon. Member for East Yorkshire. [183783]

Mr. Coaker: I replied to the hon. Member on 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 210W.

Passports: Interviews

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people who do not speak English as a first language (a) applied for a passport and (b) were granted an interview at a passport interview centre in each month since interviews commenced. [181664]

Meg Hillier: In the passport application process, the Identity and Passport Service does not distinguish between applicants whose first language is either English or one of another country.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people under the age of 18 years have been interviewed at passport interview centres since interviews for passport applications were introduced. [181666]

Meg Hillier: Since 9 July 2007, 2,475 people aged 16 and 17 years applying for a first adult passport have had a completed interview.


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