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18 Jun 2008 : Column 998W—continued


2005 2006
Offence Proceeded against Found guilty Immediate custody Proceeded against Found guilty Immediate custody

Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug, (or being concerned in):- Heroin.

1,649

1,305

902

1,494

1,181

810

Having possession of a controlled drug ( with intent to supply:-Heroin.

1,541

1,123

848

1,391

1,103

847

Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug,(or being concerned in):- Cocaine.

808

490

316

782

502

358

Having possession of a controlled drug , with intent to supply:-Cocaine

1,140

956

748

1,332

1,006

774

Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug, (or being concerned in):- MDMA

245

187

91

207

169

81

Having possession of a controlled drug ( with intent to supply:-MDMA.

649

557

342

582

434

256

Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug, (or being concerned in):-LSD

12

10

4

5

2

0

Having possession of a controlled drug , with intent to supply:-LSD.

16

9

5

8

5

4

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(2) 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 courts and 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.
(3) The number of defendants found guilty in a particular year may exceed those proceeded against, as it may be the case that the proceedings in the magistrates court took place in the preceding year and they were found guilty at the Crown court in the following year, or the defendants was found guilty for a different offence to the original offence proceeded against.
(4) Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000.
Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.

Elections

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many man hours were spent by officials in his Department on issues relating to (a) postal ballot fraud and (b) voters under-registration in each of the last three years. [211510]

Bridget Prentice: Officials deal with these issues and other electoral policy issues on a regular basis. However, detailed information is not kept on the man-hours spent on specific policy areas and it is therefore not possible to provide the information sought.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many representations his Department and its predecessor received on (a) postal ballot fraud and (b) voters under-registration in each of the last three years. [211511]

Bridget Prentice: The number of representations which my Department has received between 1 January 2006 to 16 June 2008 on (a) postal voting fraud and (b) voter under-registration is as follows:

Subject 2006 2007 2008 Total number of representations( 1)

Postal Voting Fraud

19

19

15

53

Voter Under-registration

14

0

29

43

(1) This is an approximate number of representations which is comprised of letters from members of Parliament, parliamentary questions and publications which the Department has received on postal voting fraud and under-registration.

Elections: Fraud

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many incidents of (a) postal vote fraud and (b) other electoral fraud were detected in (i) European elections, (ii) parliamentary elections and (iii) local elections in the UK in each of the last 30 years. [211401]

Bridget Prentice: In it’s report entitled “Allegations of Electoral Malpractice in England and Wales 2000 to 2006”, the Electoral Commission confirmed that the number and type of allegations of electoral malpractice reported to the Crown Prosecution Service between 2000 to 2006 were as follows:


18 Jun 2008 : Column 999W
Electoral administration and registration Election campaigning Voting (e.g. personation, treating) All allegations

2000

4

37

7

50

2001

2

56

10

66

2002

2

46

11

59

2003

4

70

16

90

2004

2

39

17

59

2005

4

32

24

59

2006

2

11

6

19

Total

20

291

91

402


We are continuing to work closely with the Electoral Commission, police, political parties and returning officers to raise awareness and strengthen systems to ensure that fraud is detected and prosecuted.

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which local authorities employed doorstep canvassers to compile the 2008 electoral register; and if he will make a statement. [211374]

Bridget Prentice: It is not known how many local authorities employed doorstep canvassers during the 2007 annual canvass, as this information is not collected centrally. However, section 67 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 allows the Electoral Commission (EC) to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services. The Commission is currently undertaking a consultation on performance standards for electoral registration officers and one of the proposed standards relates to house to house inquiries which will identify the local authorities using doorstep canvassers. The consultation ends on the 20 June and the Commission intends to publish the final set of standards during July 2008.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in which local authority areas those wishing to register to vote are able to do so by telephone. [211375]

Bridget Prentice: No local authorities are able to register new electors by telephone, as a signature is required on the registration form. However, some local authorities allow electors who have registered under signature in the previous year to confirm their details, including others living in the household, by telephone where no changes to the registration are required.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how much (a) the Government have and (b) local authorities have spent on advertising for voter registration in the last 12 months; [211468]

(2) how much funding has been (a) allocated to and (b) spent by each local authority area on electoral registration in the last 12 months; [211477]

(3) how much was spent on electoral registration in each local authority area in (a) total and (b) per elector in each of the last 11 years; [211478]

(4) how much was spent per elector on voter registration in each local authority area ranked in descending order, in the most recent year for which figures are available. [211514]


18 Jun 2008 : Column 1000W

Bridget Prentice: Funding for electoral registration activities such as advertising is included in the local authority formula grant issued by central Government. Once these funds are allocated, decisions on how it is utilised are a matter for the local authorities concerned. It is not known how much was spent in total or per elector for electoral registration in the last 11 years, as these figures are not collected, and thus no rankings are available.

However, section 67 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 allows the Electoral Commission to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services. In developing standards the Commission undertook a data collection exercise with all electoral registration officers (EROs) in Great Britain following the 2007 annual canvass and published results on 30 April 2008. At the same time EROs were asked to supply financial data by 31 July 2008. These results are expected to be published by autumn 2008 and should give us a better understanding of the costs of electoral registration in Great Britain for the last financial year.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for variations in levels of electoral registration between different local authorities; [211479]

(2) if he will commission research on the effects of levels of functional illiteracy in the population on electoral registration rates; [211508]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of those eligible to vote but not registered to do so in each parliamentary constituency. [211512]

Bridget Prentice: The Government have not made any assessment of the reasons for variations in the levels of electoral registration between different local authorities and there are no plans at present to commission research on the effects of functional illiteracy in the population on electoral registration rates. The Government have not made any estimate of the number of people eligible but not registered to vote in each parliamentary constituency.

The Electoral Commission estimated that 3.5 million eligible electors were not registered to vote in their report, Understanding Electoral Registration, which was published in September 2005. However the number of electors registered in the UK continues to grow and between 2 December 2006 and 1 December 2007 the number of parliamentary electors grew by 307,669 to 45,082,854; and the number of local government electors grew by 463,340 to 45,920,503.

The Electoral Administration Act includes a provision for the Electoral Commission to introduce new performance standards for electoral registration officers. The Electoral Commission are currently developing these standards and the final set of standards will be published in July 2008. A copy of these standards which will be laid before the House and the information obtained from local authorities as a consequence will give us a better understanding of the actions taken to increase registration.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) if he will publish the guidelines issued by his Department to electoral registration officers on home visits to electors who have not registered to vote; and what assessment he has made of the level of compliance with such guidelines; [211509]


18 Jun 2008 : Column 1001W

(2) if he will issue guidance to local authorities on increasing the rate of voter registration; and if he will produce a league table to indicate each local authority's performance in increasing the rate of voter registration in their area. [211521]

Bridget Prentice: Responsibility for issuing guidance to electoral registration officers on electoral registration lies with the Electoral Commission and thus my Department has not made any assessment of the level of compliance with guidelines for home visits.

Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 placed a new duty on electoral registration officers to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, including sending the annual canvass form more than once and making house visits.

The Act includes a provision for the Electoral Commission to introduce new performance measures for electoral registration officers. The Electoral Commission is currently developing these standards and the final standards will be published in July 2008, a copy of which will be laid before the House. This will give us a better understanding of the actions being taken to increase registration.

The Office for National Statistics has recently published electoral registration rates for the UK, following the 2007 annual canvass, which confirm that the number of parliamentary electors grew by 307,669 to 45,082,854; and the number of local government electors grew by 463,340 to 45,920,503.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will consider introducing proposals to amend data protection legislation to allow local and national Government bodies to share information in order to increase voter registration. [211513]

Bridget Prentice: There are currently no plans to amend data protection legislation to allow local and national Government bodies to share information but we will keep this under review. However, under section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006, electoral registration officers are required to take all necessary steps to register eligible electors and were granted the powers to inspect records held by any person that the ERO is permitted to inspect.

Our vision for electoral registration is clear: we want to protect the rights of every eligible person to participate in the democratic process by ensuring complete, accurate and secure electoral registration.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether varying levels of voter registration in specific areas will be taken into account in future boundary reviews. [211515]


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