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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 21 February 2008

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Crime

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested for offences related to alcohol abuse in (a) Romford, (b) Greater London and (c) Essex in 2007. [186914]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not held centrally. The arrests collection undertaken by the Ministry of Justice provides data on persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences), by age group, gender, ethnicity, and main offence group, for example violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary, etc. However, from these data we are not able to identify specific offences related to alcohol.

Antisocial Behaviour

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent progress has been made on the Government’s target of reducing antisocial behaviour. [187101]

Mr. Coaker: In 2002-03, 21 per cent. of people responding to the British Crime Survey perceived high levels of antisocial behaviour (ASB) compared with 17 per cent. in the year up to September 2007. The Local Government User Satisfaction Survey which asked similar questions to the British Crime Survey in 2003-04 and again in 2006-07 showed a reduction in perception in 94 per cent. of areas. This reduction in perception has contributed to the Home Office meeting its PSA target on confidence and reassurance for 2005-08.

The Home Office’s twin track approach of enforcement and support has been shown to be effective by the National Audit Office’s 2006 report on antisocial Behaviour. The report concluded that the majority of people who received an ASB intervention did not re-engage in ASB.

Antisocial Behaviour: Young People

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps she has taken to tackle antisocial behaviour amongst young people. [187001]

Mr. Coaker: The Home Office has always maintained that antisocial behaviour is not specifically a ‘youth’ issue—the vast majority of young people behave well and make a positive contribution to society.

There is a range of tools and powers that have been in place for some time which can be employed when young people engage in crime and antisocial behaviour. Warning letters, acceptable behaviour contracts and individual support orders alongside antisocial behaviour orders
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specifically tackle behaviour, while parenting orders and contracts prevent problems in their child's behaviour and steer them away from becoming involved in antisocial and offending behaviour.

The Government are putting even greater emphasis on ensuring that when young people engage in antisocial behaviour they receive the right balance of support, challenge and positive activities to help them change their behaviour and fulfil their potential, contribute to communities and avoid getting into further trouble. As part of this the work, the Youth Task Force will support the delivery of these services. This will be set out in the ‘Youth Task Force Action Plan’ to be published in March.

We are also developing a renewed cross-Government approach to youth crime with the Department for Children Schools and Families and the Ministry of Justice. This work will result in a ‘Youth Crime Action Plan' to deliver results across youth crime prevention, youth justice as well as cross-cutting themes on youth victimisation and serious youth violence.

Boyhood to Manhood Foundation

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to provide support for the From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation in order to prevent its closure. [176833]

Mr. Coaker: The Home Office is in regular contact with the From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation. Together with other parts of Government, we are working closely with the Foundation to resolve their present difficulties and strengthen their business and management capacity. We have agreed to provide funding to enable the organisation’s day centre to remain open in the immediate future and will continue discussions on what support might be available in the longer term.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was repatriated as a result of corruption investigations in the UK in each of the last five years for which there are records. [178824]

Mr. Coaker: There is no centrally held register at the Home Office. However, I am aware of two cases; one resulted in £3 million being repatriated in 2003 and another in which £1 million was returned in 2006.

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to implement the remaining provisions of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004; and if she will make a statement. [184763]

Mr. Coaker: There are two unimplemented sections of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004:

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The Home Office is working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice to agree the estimated impact on local services of implementing these provisions. We will be implementing these measures when resources allow.

Driving: Mobile Phones

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government have taken to reduce the numbers of drivers using mobile telephones when driving in the last three years. [186293]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 19 February 2008]: From 1 December 2003 using a hand-held mobile phone while driving became a specific, non-endorsable, fixed-penalty offence. The fixed penalty was £30. If the case went to court, the maximum fine was £1,000. The Road Safety Act 2006, with effect from 27 February 2007, made the offence endorsable, with three penalty points and a £60 fixed penalty.

The latest figures, for 2005, show that the police took enforcement action against 129,700 drivers for the specific offence of driving while using a hand-held mobile phone. This is a 72 per cent. increase on the 2004 figure.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has publicised the offence since its introduction, to emphasise that it is dangerous and that offenders will be punished. DfT plan to spend some £1.5 million in 2007-08 on television, radio and cinema advertising. The current campaign started on 1 February. In addition DfT provides printed materials to local authority road safety officers who mount their own campaigns .

Drugs: Misuse

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the street price of (a) heroin and (b) cocaine was in each of the last 10 years. [178111]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is shown in the following table.

UK Average Drug Prices 1997-2007
As at December: Cocaine (per gram) Heroin (per gram)



































Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many weapons seized (a) in England and Wales, (b) in the north-east and (c) in
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Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland were reactivated firearms in each of the last 10 years; [179650]

(2) what percentage of recovered sub-machine guns were reactivated firearms in the latest period for which figures are available. [179651]

Mr. Coaker: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers given on 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 271W.

Genetics: Databases

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many DNA samples are on the national DNA database. [181241]

Meg Hillier: ‘DNA samples’ refer to biological material, either taken from individuals, or from traces left at crime scenes. These samples are analysed to produce code numbers, known as profiles, which are stored on the national DNA database (NDNAD). On 21 January 2008, the NDNAD held 319,677 profiles from crime scenes, and profiles relating to 4,290,925 individuals, loaded by all United Kingdom police forces.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentage of DNA samples on the DNA database are from people who have not been convicted of any crimes; [181242]

(2) how many people who have never been convicted of a crime have a sample of their DNA on the national DNA database. [181243]

Meg Hillier: I refer my right hon. Friend to my answer to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone) on 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 761W.

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how long the Government retain the DNA records of individuals who are not found guilty of committing an offence. [181946]

Meg Hillier: Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, the police have the power to take and retain DNA from anyone arrested for a recordable offence and detained in a police station.

PACE does not set a limit on retention. Instead, the police follow retention guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which state that records will normally be retained for 100 years from the person’s date of birth, regardless of whether they are still alive.

ACPO also issued guidance to chief officers on the consideration of applications for removal at the end of January 2006. The ACPO guidelines envisage that DNA which has been taken lawfully will be removed only in exceptional cases, though discretion remains with the chief officer. The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham), made a written ministerial statement announcing the issue of these ACPO guidelines, on 16 February 2006, Official Report, column 117WS.

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Human Trafficking

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will add policing of trafficking of human beings as core police business included in performance indicators. [176126]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 7 January 2008]: Human trafficking is core police business and all forces should now have the capacity to deal with trafficking problems in their area. We are currently working to develop performance measures on organised crime including human trafficking to be included in the new Assessments of Policing and Community Safety (APACS) system.

We are intending to introduce in APACS starting on 1 April 2008 a key diagnostic indicator which requires forces to measure the number of organised crime groups in their areas which have been disrupted, including human trafficking groups.

Identity Cards: Expenditure

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department has spent on external consultants for work relating to the identity cards programme. [180253]

Meg Hillier: I refer the hon. Member to the response to his previous question, on 4 February 2008, Official Report, column 812W.

National Identity Database

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate her Department has made of the likely error rate in the national identity database. [180402]

Meg Hillier: Until the national identity register is launched it is not possible to make an accurate prediction of the likelihood of an error occurring within the database.

The system will be fully security accredited before it can commence operation and its operation will be overseen by both the Information Commissioner and the national identity scheme commissioner to ensure that the integrity of the scheme is maintained.

Police: Surveillance

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department (a) has issued and (b) plans to issue to the police on the use of photographs taken by surveillance cameras to (i) detect and (ii) prosecute those observed committing an offence under (A) section 14 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and (B) the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2003; what recent representations she has received on the issue; and if she will make a statement. [186289]

Mr. Coaker: Enforcement of these offences is an operational matter for the police. The Home Office has issued no guidance on the use of photographs taken by surveillance cameras to detect those committing the offences and there are no plans to issue such guidance.

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For certain motoring offences, the law specifically provides that evidence from a camera or other device is admissible in court if the device is of a type approved by the Secretary of State. For other motoring offences, including these, there is no such provision. Within the normal constraints of the law including on data protection and human rights it is for the police to decide on the evidence they need to put forward for a case to be considered for prosecution and how to obtain it.

The Home Office has had one recent representation on the issue, from a member of the public.

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