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27 Jan 2009 : Column 288Wcontinued
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what expenditure her Department and its agencies has incurred in hiring Fishburn Hedges in the last 36 months; and for what purposes. 
Mr. Woolas: The Department made no payments to Fishburn Hedges during the financial years 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2008-09; for 2006-07 the Department made six payments totalling £149,620.
The payments related to the publicity of Home Office activities, including the promotion of the Tackling Drugs Changing Lives strategy; and delivery of an internal communications programme in the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
For the Departments agencies, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau have not made any payments.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) of 10 December 2008, Official Report, column 196W, on public sector: contracts, whether general break clauses have been included in the contracts for (a) national identity cards and (b) the National Identity Register. 
Contracts being procured for the national identity scheme contain provisions for termination. These contracts cover replacement of and enhancements to existing Passport and UK Border Agency capabilities, as well as to support identity cards in the future. Termination
provisions are based on Office of Government Commerce guidance for IT contracts and include terms for ending a contract in the case of poor performance or where a decision is made to terminate early (for convenience).
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1976W, if she will place in the Library a copy of the letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member. 
Mr. Woolas: I can confirm that a copy of the letter dated 14 January 2009 to the hon. Member for Hertsmere has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps the Government have taken to reduce illegal immigration. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 22 January 2009]: We are delivering the biggest shake-up of Britains border security and immigration system in a generation.
Last year we launched the UK Border Agency. With a combined budget of £2 billion, a staffing complement of 25,000 and a presence in 135 countries world-wide, Britains border security is now among the toughest in the world.
Since the launch of the UKBA our officers have seized over 800 million cigarettes, representing a potential loss of over £149 million in tax revenue, £260 million worth of illegal drugs and have taken 4,800 dangerous weapons, including firearms, stun guns and hundreds of knives, off the streets. For the same period, over 809,000 freight vehicles have been searched at our juxtaposed controls and we stopped over 21,000 attempts to cross the Channel illegally.
The new points based system and the continuing ban on non-EU low skilled migrants we are controlling migration to ensure that only those the UK needs can come to work and study. This allows us to attract and keep people with the skills our economy needs; maximizing the benefits to Britain.
Anyone applying for a visathree quarters of the worlds populationnow has their fingerprints checked against UK databases. So far we have enrolled over 3.6 million sets of fingerprints detecting over 5,200 identity swaps.
Airline Liaison Officers have assisted in preventing nearly 210,000 people from boarding planes over the last five years. That is equivalent to about two jumbo jets a week.
We have also introduced ID cards for foreign nationals and a hi-tech electronic borders system, the e-Borders Programme, which will be fully rolled out by March 2014 and will enable us to count people in and out of Britain. The pilot scheme for the Governments electronic borders system has already checked over 75 million passenger journeys before arrival in the UK, leading to over 2,700 arrests.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what Government-authorised exchange schemes for nationals of non-EEA countries under tier 5 of the points-based immigration system are in operation; and what plans she has for the future of such schemes. 
Mr. Woolas: The organisations that have registered under the Tier 5: Government Authorised Exchange category are as follows:
British Council (IAESTE Programme);
British Council Northern Ireland;
IEPUK Ltd.; and
The University of Sheffield.
There are no current plans to amend the policy framework for Tier 5: Government Authorised Exchange, however, the points-based system will be subject to a post-implementation review that will assess the success of the system as a whole. This will include an assessment of Tier 5: Government Authorised Exchange.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 2257-58W, on genetics: databases, when she plans to write to the hon. Member for Beaconsfield. 
Mr. Alan Campbell: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary wrote to the hon. Member on 19 January 2009.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter of 8 December 2008 from the hon. Member for Walsall North on a constituent, reference M4848/7. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 15 January 2009]: The UK Border Agency wrote to the hon. Member on 16 January 2009.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date she signed off the costed security plan for the 2012 Olympic games; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Coaker: A draft costed security plan was delivered to Home Office Ministers in November 2008 and made available to Ministers across Government and the London Mayor. Following consultation with other Government Departments, the Greater London authority, the police, the Olympic delivery authority and the London organising committee for the Olympic games, it was agreed that the costed security plan would be augmented with an integrated Olympic safety and security strategy and associated concept of operations. This suite of documents will be presented to the Cabinet sub-committee on National Security, International Relations and Development (Protective Security and Resilience), which is chaired by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on 25 February 2009.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps the Government has taken to reduce waiting times for the issue of new passports. 
Meg Hillier [holding answer 22 January 2009]: The current waiting times for passports are reasonable and realistic and there are no plans to reduce the published turnaround times further.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has undertaken to deliver 99.5 per cent. of straightforward online, partner and postal adult renewal and first-time child applications within 10 working days and to see 95 per cent. of callers to their public counters and interview offices within 20 minutes of their appointment time.
The Tiered Application System (TAS) guarantees to turnaround premium counter applications within four hours and fast-track counter applications within one week.
Latest available figures show that IPS has consistently met and often exceeded these targets, which are constantly monitored.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people granted a passport were subsequently found to have made their application fraudulently in each year since 2003. 
Meg Hillier: Information on the number of fraudulently obtained passports for each of the years since 2003 is not available as the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) does not routinely collate information on the year of issue of passports found later to have been issued as result of fraudulent applications. Furthermore, IPS is not always informed when fraudulent passports are identified, seized and taken out of circulation by other agencies in the UK and abroad.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports were reported lost or stolen in the last 12 months; and how many valid passports there were in that period. 
Meg Hillier: In 2008, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) processed 296,018 reports of lost and stolen passports. There were 249,261 reports of lost passports, 38,120 stolen with the balance of 8,637 in the other category. Other includes passports reported as damaged or destroyed.
The latest estimate of the number of passports issued by IPS and currently valid is 47,282,000 (an exact figure cannot be given because lost and stolen passports may not be replaced immediately).
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many passport applications were rejected in each of the last five years because the frames of glasses worn by the applicant covered their eyes in the accompanying photograph; 
(2) how many passport applications were rejected in each of the last five years because of reflection or glare in glasses worn by the applicant in the accompanying photograph. 
Meg Hillier: If the photograph sent with a passport application does not meet the requirements of the standards agreed through the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the applicant is asked to send new photographs but because of the way in which data on this is stored it is not possible to provide an annual breakdown of reasons for rejection without incurring disproportionate cost. A check of manual records in July 2007 showed that in 17.5 per cent. of applications in which photographs were rejected, the reason was that the eyes were obscured for various reasons, including wearing glasses and glare.
During 2008-09 the Identity and Passport Office have worked with customers and the photo industry to reduce rejection rates which currently are 3.8 per cent. of all applications containing photographs do not meet the standards, again these include wearing glasses and glare. It is necessary for the eyes to be visible in passport photographs in order for facial recognition technology to work. The Identity and Passport Service therefore advises applicants to remove spectacles so that there will be no risk of the eyes being obscured by the frames or reflections on the lenses.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many records were held on the police national computer in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
Mr. Coaker: The number of records held on the police national computer (PNC) in each of the last five years is not held centrally. As an operational tool, the PNC always reflects the current situation and it is not possible to produce figures for a specific historical date unless they were obtained on that date.
The PNC contains records from a number of separate information databases. The following table shows the number of records held on the PNC, broken down by the various information databases as at 13 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are available. These figures are not mutually exclusive; for example, the same record may be included in more than one database.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police stations have fully-qualified medical staff on duty at all times. 
Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not held centrally. The management of the police estate and allocation of resources are matters for each police authority and chief constable, who are responsible for assessing local needs.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the average proportion of police time spent on clerical or paper work in England. 
Mr. Coaker: In 2007-08 21.6 per cent. of police officer time was spent on paper work in police forces in England. This excludes data from Staffordshire, which are unavailable, and relates to foot/car/beat patrol, CID and traffic officers.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the adequacy of current procedures for assessing the risks to the personal safety of senior police officers; and what arrangements are in place for review of such procedures. 
Mr. Coaker: Risk assessment processes are based on individual forces' circumstances and any specific intelligence at that time.
The responsibility for risk assessment lies with each chief police officer.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long on average a police officer took to (a) make an arrest, (b) issue a caution and (c) conduct a stop and search procedure in England in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Coaker: There are no centrally held data on the time taken to (a) make an arrest, (b) issue a caution and (c) conduct a stop and search procedure in England. This will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case and the amount of investigation that precedes these procedures.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 2479W, on the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre: Government Departments, what the purpose was of each of her Department's conferences organised by R Glasgow and Associates Public Relations Ltd and held in the Conference Centre. 
Based on the information we hold centrally in the Home Office, between September 2007 and February 2008, we commissioned Glasgows to support us with the event management of three Home Office events at the QEII Conference Centre. Two were leadership events for senior civil servants (half-day events for 150 delegates
at each conference) and one was an AGM for the Networka staff support group for BME staffa full-day event for 400 staff.
Glasgows is on the Home Office list of agreed suppliers who have expertise in delivering events.
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