The hon. Gentleman will be aware the offices of the Secretary of State are in Belfast and in London; Northern Ireland Office business is conducted in both places. As a Member of the Cabinet I have duties which require attendance in London for Cabinet, Cabinet Committees, the National Economic Council as well as additional duties at Westminster.
|Number convicted of drug dealing offences 1997-2006( 1)
|(1) Drug dealing convictions include offences relating to the importing, exporting, producing and supplying of drugs and the offence of cultivating cannabis.
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many and what percentage of admissions to prisons in Northern Ireland resulted from defaulting on fines in each of the last five years; 
|Total time spent in prison by fine defaulters (Days)
|Average time spent (Days)
|Number of receptions of fine defaulters
|Fine defaulter receptions as a percentage of total prison receptions
I am committed to improving the enforcement of fines and reducing the number of fine defaulters sent to prison. A reduction in receptions from 1,951 in 2006 to 1,724 in 2007 is welcome and something that I want to build on.
A reminder scheme to promote prompt payment is being piloted by the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr. Hanson) and is proving successful. It has already shown a 32 per cent. reduction in the issue of default warrants.
I recently carried out a public consultation on a range of proposals to tackle fine default. The proposals we have made would ensure courts have all the information they need to set appropriate levels of fine; improve how we enforce fines that are set; and expand the range of
options available where people still default on a fine. I am currently considering the responses to the consultation and will announce the outcome shortly.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many legally-held weapons have been stolen from properties in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years, broken down by police (a) districts and (b) areas. 
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many attempted child abductions were reported to the police in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years, broken down by police (a) district and (b) area. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of crimes resulted in successful prosecutions in Northern Ireland in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins: At present recorded crime is offence-based (i.e. based on the number of crimes recorded), whereas conviction data are offender-based (i.e. based on the number of offenders). As more than one offender may be prosecuted for a single crime, it is not possible to compare the two datasets.
It is, however possible to determine the number of recorded crimes and the number of people that were convicted at the Crown court and the magistrates courts. In 2007-08 there were 108,468 crimes recorded by PSNI. There were 26,363 convictions in these courts in 2006 (the latest year for which data are available). Court data are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department has spent on (a) focus groups and (b) opinion polls in each year since 1997-98; how much he estimates will be spent on each category in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of allegations of rape made to the police in Northern Ireland in each of the last two years were later withdrawn by the individual; how many and what percentage of alleged rape cases referred to the Public Prosecution Service were not prosecuted for lack of evidence; and how many and what percentage of cases brought to prosecution resulted in conviction. 
Paul Goggins: The data are not available in the format requested. In 2006-07, there were 431 cases of rape recorded by the PSNI while in 2007-08, there were 382 cases. Figures for the number of cases withdrawn by the individual are not available for these years but the establishment of the Rape Crime Unit in April 2008 aims to provide meaningful data regarding attrition.
Table 2 documents the number of prosecutions and convictions for rape and the percentage conviction rate for the calendar years 2005 and 2006 (the latest available years). Data are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.
It is not possible to reconcile the number of prosecutions and convictions with data for PSNI and PPS. Data relating to the number of rapes recorded by PSNI are case based whereas data relating to prosecutions and convictions are person based. Data for PPS refer to the number of cases received for the offence of rape and the number of suspects for this offence. This information can change, for instance, by reducing the offence to a lesser charge eg the offence of indecent assault. Finally data for PPS take account of the number of cases received during a particular calendar year; these cases would not necessarily be proceeded with through the courts during this calendar year.
The Government are committed to tackling the high rate of attrition in cases involving rape and attempted rape in Northern Ireland. The Regional Strategy on tackling sexual violence and abuse in Northern Ireland, a joint initiative between DHSSPS and NIO, sets out the commitment of Government to establish the extent of attrition at each stage of the criminal justice process and to identify the particular causes of the fall-out of cases.
One of the strategys key measures is the establishment of NIs first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which will play a key role in supporting victims in reporting offences and assist in capturing the forensic evidence which may secure more convictions.
|Table 1: Number of cases and suspects, number of cases not prosecuted and non-prosecution rate for the offence of rape 2006 and 2007( 1)
|Number of cases received by PPS
|Number of suspects
|Number of suspects not prosecuted
|Percentage of suspects not prosecuted
(1) Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland
|Table 2: Number of prosecutions and convictions for rape and percentage conviction rate2005 and 2006( 1)
(1) Northern Ireland Office Statistics and Research Branch
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people who are (a) Catholic and (b) Protestant are employed by his Department; and what percentage of the total number of employees these groups represent. 
Mr. Woodward: In compliance with the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order 1998 monitoring regulations, all Northern Ireland Office (NIO) staff working in Northern Ireland, both Home Civil Servants and Northern Ireland Civil Servants, are monitored for community background. The Department also has a small number of staff working in London whose community background is not monitored.
As at 1 October 2008, the NIO Core Department and its Agencies comprises 2,091 staff, of whom 49 are based in London. Of the 2,042 staff in Northern Ireland, 1,278 (62.6 per cent.) are Protestant and 690 (33.8 per cent.) are Roman Catholic, while the community background of 74 (3.6 per cent.) is not determined.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many complaints about the new facilities management contractors within the 101 probation approved premises were received in the year ended 31st October 2008; and how many were received in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Hanson: New facilities management contracts for a portfolio of Ministry of Justice National Offender Management Service (NOMS) properties have been in operation since 30 June 2008. This includes services provided to approved premises owned by NOMS as part of the National Probation estate in England and Wales.
The contracts envisage and provide for the logging of complaints for service failures through a central help desk managed by the Home Office on behalf of NOMS. Since 30 June this year 241 formal complaints have been logged. Under the previous arrangements, the former suppliers recorded 836 complaints in 2005-06, 384 in 2006-07 and 397 in 2007-08.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on visits by its staff to Brussels in 2007-08; and how many such visits were made by (a) air and (b) rail.