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29 Apr 2008 : Column 363W—continued


Runaway Children

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reports police forces received of children missing from home in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) age and (b) sex. [198590]

Mr. McNulty: Statistics on the number, age or gender of children who are reported missing from home are not collected centrally.

The new national Missing Persons Bureau (MPB) was launched by the National Policing Improvement Agency on 1 April 2008 and will be seeking to develop national information to support local police operations. One of the priorities for the MPB is to carry out a strategic assessment on the missing person phenomenon and to produce a "problem profile", thereby establishing a baseline on which to formulate, develop and measure future policy initiatives in close consultation with the missing persons Strategic Oversight Group.

Terrorism

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to Appendix A of
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the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ Nineteenth Report of Session 2006-07, how many of the individuals arrested and charged with terrorist offences were (a) released on bail and (b) had their charges subsequently dropped. [197346]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 31 March 2008]: Of the 24 individuals arrested as a result of Operation Overt, as listed in Appendix A of the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ Nineteenth Report of Session 2006-07, 17 were charged. Of these 17, four individuals have been granted conditional bail by the court while awaiting trial. An additional two, charged with having information about an act of terrorism, have had their cases dismissed at court. These statistics were compiled from figures provided by the Metropolitan Police Service.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis was for the figures quoted in the National Security Strategy, and her interview in the News of the World newspaper of 13 April 2008, on the number of individuals, networks and active plots being monitored by anti-terrorism agencies in the UK; and to what period of time these figures were relevant. [200514]

Jacqui Smith: The Director General of the Security Service spoke publicly in November 2007 about the scale of the terrorist threat facing the United Kingdom, as did his predecessor 12 months earlier. Based on available intelligence and their judgment, they described it in terms of numbers of plots, groups or networks and numbers of individuals. Those were the figures to which I referred in the interview and are included in paragraph 3.4 of the National Security Strategy.

Terrorism: Detainees

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been detained on suspicion of terrorist or related offences but were released by the police or security services because they were not able to compile enough evidence to charge them within the 28 day period allowed for detention without charge in each police authority in the last two years. [201439]

Mr. McNulty: The police do not centrally hold information on the release of terrorist suspects who they do not wish to detain beyond the pre-charge detention period set out in legislation or the detailed circumstances of each case where a suspect is not charged.

Theft: Motor Vehicles

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the five most common makes and models of vehicles stolen in each police authority area were in each of the last five years. [200480]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not available from the recorded crime statistics collected centrally.

The Car Theft Index shows the makes and models of car most at risk of being stolen in England, Scotland
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and Wales but does not highlight any regional trends. A copy of the latest edition is available on the Home Office website at:

Tourists: Fingerprints

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) published on the fingerprinting of UK citizens arriving at British airports from overseas; and if she will make a statement. [196677]

Mr. Byrne: I am advised that no guidance has been issued or published with regard to a requirement to fingerprint UK Citizens arriving at British airports from overseas.

UK Border Agency: Logos

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent on the design and introduction of a logo for the UK Border Agency, broken down by category of expenditure. [200178]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 April 2008]: The development of the new UK Border Agency logo incurred a cost of £12,000 in design fees. A further £17,000 was spent on producing a set of templates and guidelines to cover all applications of the logo. A further £1,200 was spent on printing a summary guidelines booklet to distribute to senior managers within the UK Border Agency.

UK Border Agency: Uniforms

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent on the design and introduction of uniforms for the UK Border Agency to date; how much the total projected spend is on the design and introduction of new uniforms for the UK Border Agency; and if she will provide a cost breakdown by category of expenditure. [200179]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 April 2008]: To date there has been no expenditure on the design and introduction of new uniforms for the UK Border Agency. No costs have yet been forecast. A cost breakdown by category is therefore not available.

Violence: Media

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will place in the Library the full Home Office research report entitled The effects of video violence on young offenders (1998). [190059]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 29 February 2008]: A summary of the findings from the report regarding Video Violence and Young Offenders (1998) were published as a Research Findings by RDS in 1998. The full report has not been published by the Department and hence has not been subject to RDS editorial and quality assurance checks that apply to any of our published research.


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We have forwarded a copy of the full report to the House of Commons Library.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

British Nationality: Prisoners

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what records he keeps of consular visits to prisoners abroad. [201237]

Meg Munn: Records of consular visits to prisoners abroad are entered onto the Foreign and Commonwealth Office central consular assistance database: “Compass”. Consular staff overseas aim to write up a detailed description of a visit within 48 hours of it having taken place.

Burma: Constitutions

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessments he has made of the likelihood that the planned referendum on the Burmese draft constitution will be free and fair; and if he will make a statement. [200929]

Meg Munn: The Burmese regime’s referendum on their new constitution, set for 10 May 2008, is being conducted in an atmosphere of harassment and intimidation. Criticism of the process and the draft constitution is punishable by long prison sentences. The regime has excluded opposition figures and representatives of ethnic groups in Burma from participating in the process and denies the “No” campaign a platform to air its arguments. The referendum seeks to perpetuate the role of the military in the government of the country. The constitution as drafted specifically targets Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, disqualifying her from office for having a foreign spouse. Members of religious orders will also be disenfranchised.

We endorse the view of UN Special Rapporteur on human rights, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who commented on 14 March:

Chevening Scholarships Programme

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had with (a) the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, (b) the Department for International Development, (c) non-governmental UK organisations and (d) other governments before the announcement of 23rd March 2008 on the funding of the Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarships programmes. [200283]

Mr. Jim Murphy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Reading, East (Mr. Wilson) on 23 April 2008, Official Report, column 2122W.


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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the recent decision to reduce funding for the Chevening Scholarship programme will affect people who have applied to the scheme for a place during 2008-09. [200284]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The decision was made before scholarships for 2008-09 were offered. So while there is increased competition for scholarships for 2008-09, those who have been offered scholarships will not be affected.

China: Olympic Games

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chinese authorities on the conditions placed on British athletes participating in the Beijing Olympics. [202165]

Meg Munn [holding answer 28 April 2008] : Athletes’ conditions, at the Beijing Olympic Games, are a matter for the British Olympic Association (BOA), an independent organisation, and are firmly covered by the International Olympic Committee charter. The BOA has a responsibility to safeguard the interests of all athletes and provide an environment where preparations can be undertaken to optimise performance with the minimum of distraction.

China: Oppression

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the arrest of human rights lawyer Ms Ni Yulan in China; and if he will make a statement. [200912]

Meg Munn: We have not received any reports of the arrest of Ms Ni Yulan.

We have previously raised individual cases of human rights lawyers with the Chinese authorities and continue to urge them to protect the legitimate rights of lawyers in China. The role of defence lawyers was a key theme at both the 14th and 15th round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue. At the most recent round of the dialogue, we welcomed the new revisions to the Lawyers' Law, coming into force on 1 June, which give increased rights to defence lawyers.

Commonwealth: Scholarships

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the change in the number of Commonwealth scholarships as a result of the reduction in funding announced on 23rd March 2008. [200286]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The number of new Commonwealth scholars each year depends on the number staying on from previous years for a second or third year of study. For example, in 2006 there were 56 new scholars funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and in 2007, 46. For 2008, 68 candidates have been selected in anticipation that not all will be able to take up their places.


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As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told the House on 13 March 2008, the changes we are making to FCO scholarship programmes mean that we will end the FCO contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan. From 2009 there will be no new scholars funded by the FCO, but we will continue to pay for those on two or three-year awards.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on departmental data protection, if he will include information assurance data on data loss incidents in previous years in his Department's next annual report. [199182]

Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 1119 and the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 98WS. The review by the Cabinet Secretary and security experts is looking at procedures within Departments and agencies for the storage and use of data.

The interim report of 17 December 2007 committed to put in place a programme to examine and improve data handling procedures. An update on this commitment will be included in the final report, expected in spring 2008, and this report will detail the information to be included by Departments on data loss in their annual reports.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost of introducing his Department’s new website was; for what reasons his Department’s website was changed; and if he will make a statement. [201078]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The recent upgrade of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) corporate website is part of a wider project to deliver a new web platform and improved web presence for the FCO over five years.

The work will provide a single technical platform for all the FCO websites (including the main FCO website, Arabic and Urdu versions of the FCO website, UKvisas website, the FCO Freedom of Information website, and 229 embassy, high commission and special mission sites in multiple languages) as well as new designs, content, functionality and a new hub and spoke model for delivering business support.

The project will complete in September 2008, by which time all of the FCO posts websites will have joined the new platform and will operate under the central domain, fco.gov.uk.

The initial cost of £9.7 million for the web platform was set out in the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Meg Munn) on 30 January 2008, Official Report, column 398W. The project is on target to cost £19.2 million over five years. This includes running costs, for example hosting and
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support, and some staff salaries. The cost of the project to date is £9.2 million which includes the design and implementation of the FCO and UKvisas websites, and the design of the embassy and high commission websites. It also includes procurement costs, client side advice, setting up regional hubs to provide business support, and training. Details of the project and costs were published in Whitehall and Westminster World on 4 April:

The web is vital for the delivery of the FCO’s Departmental strategic objectives. More people, in the UK and overseas, have contact with the FCO through the web than through any other channel. The FCO is committed to using the web to deliver its Policy Goals as well as key services such as travel advice and visa information.

The project has followed the Office of Government Commerce Gateway Review process and is delivering on time and to budget.

Departmental Public Participation

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many public consultations his Department has held in the last three years; and how many respondents there were to each. [198678]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) welcomes views on policy issues from the public and stakeholders, for example during the recent review of its strategic priorities. FCO departments and posts hold their own budgets for public consultations and therefore the information requested is not held centrally. A more detailed answer would require a survey of all of our Embassies, High Commissions and subordinate posts, which could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.


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