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Prison Escapes: Reoffenders

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 23 March 2009, Official Report, column 180W, on open prisons: prison escapes, how many abscondees from open prisons were convicted of a further offence while unlawfully at large in each year since 1997; and for which offences. [271673]

Mr. Hanson: To provide the information requested could be done only at disproportionate cost.

All those located in open conditions have been risk assessed and categorised as being of low risk to the public.

Time spent in open prisons affords prisoners the opportunity to find work, re-establish family ties, reintegrate into the community and ensure housing needs are met. For long-term prisoners, these are essential components for successful resettlement and an important factor in protecting the public.

The police, CPS and Prison Service are working together to ensure that absconders are prosecuted both as a punishment for the offence and to deter other prisoners in the future.

Prisoners: Childbirth

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2009, (1) how many women who gave birth in prison were aged (a) 16, (b) 17 and (c) 18 years in each year since 2005; [268769]

(2) how many children were born to mothers in (a) young offenders' institutions, (b) secure training centres and (c) secure children's homes in each of the last three years. [268776]

Mr. Straw: As a result of configuration problems experienced with the database used to record information on the number of women who have given birth, and the number of children born to mothers, in young offender institutions, this information can not be provided at present.

A review of the systems used to record these data is being undertaken to ensure effective processes for data collection and retention are in place. Every effort will be made to consolidate historical data and I will write to the hon. Member when this work is complete to provide all the information that is available in response to his questions.

Some 17 year-olds and women under 17 years of age are held in secure training centres or secure children's homes. Information on the number of women aged 16 and 17 years-old who have given birth in secure training centres (STCs) or secure children's homes (SCHs) was not collected centrally before April 2006. Information for the period since that date is given in table A.

Table A
April to March each year 16 year-olds 17 year-olds










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Of the eight women listed in Table A, seven were held in secure training centres and one in a secure children's home.

The number of children born to mothers in STC and SCH in each of the last three years is given in table B.

Table B
April to March each year YOI STC SCH










Prisons: Costs

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average cost of building a new prison in England and Wales was in the latest period for which information is available. [271592]

Mr. Hanson: The average construction cost of new build prisons opened since 1997 is approximately £49 million. Construction costs for individual prisons vary depending on the type and size of the prison.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent companies from video-mapping cities. [271081]

Mr. Wills: The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) regulates the obtaining, holding, use and disclosure of personal data i.e. data relating to a living individual who can be identified from those data. The Information Commissioner is the independent regulator of the DPA and has stated that the video-mapping of cities does not necessarily breach the DPA. The Commissioner has confirmed that he will keep video-mapping activities under review and will consider any complaints raised. In light of this, I see no need to bring forward legislative proposals.

Sentencing: Greater Manchester

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many criminal offences committed in (a) Stockport and (b) Greater Manchester in each of the last five years resulted in (i) a prison sentence and (ii) a suspended prison sentence. [271178]

Maria Eagle: The available information is shown in the following table; it shows the number of (i) immediate custodial sentences and (ii) suspended sentences imposed in the Greater Manchester police force area. This data relate to the principal offence sentenced on a particular occasion and it is not known how many offences are represented by the number of sentences recorded.

The courts proceedings database does not record where the offence was committed and cannot be broken down into a smaller area than Greater Manchester police force area.

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Number of immediate and suspended( 1) custodial sentences imposed in Greater Manchester police force area, 2003-07

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Immediate custodial sentences






Suspended sentences






(1) Fully suspended sentences for offences committed prior to 4 April 2005, suspended sentence orders for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005.
This data is based on the principal offence. Where an offender has been sentenced for more than one offence, the principal offence is the one for which the heaviest sentence was imposed; where the same sentence has been imposed for two or more offence, the principal offence is the one for which the statutory maximum is most severe.
These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice.

Theft: Reoffenders

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many offences of (a) shoplifting, (b) robbery of business property and (c) theft by an employee have been committed by offenders released from prison on an end-of-custody licence; [268824]

(2) how many (a) burglaries, (b) robberies, (c) sexual offences, (d) thefts and (e) drug offences have been committed by offenders released on end-of-custody licence. [268805]

Mr. Straw: Since the start of the scheme to 28 February 2009 52,117 offenders have been released on ECL, and fewer than 2 per cent. of those offenders have been notified to NOMS as having allegedly committed further offences during the ECL period.

The table provides a breakdown of the number of offences allegedly committed by offenders during their period on End of Custody Licence (ECL). The offences are broken down into the categories under which this information is stored.

The table covers the period from the start of the ECL scheme on 29 June 2007 to 28 February 2009 and includes those alleged offences as notified to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) as at 20 March 2009.

Category of alleged further offence Number of alleged offences





Sex offences(1)


Theft and Handling(2)


Drug Offences


(1) Of the seven alleged sexual offences listed in the table, one has resulted in a conviction; the remaining six cases have either been discontinued prior to trial or resulted in acquittal.
(2) Includes all offences of theft and handling and is not limited to thefts only.

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Women and Equality

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many officials for which she is responsible are suspended; how many are suspended on full pay; for how long each has been suspended; and what the reasons are for each such suspension. [270512]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office do not have any officials who are suspended.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Departmental Air Travel

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials from his Department of each (a) grade and (b) directorate have flown by British Airways on official business in each of the last five years; what the (i) destination and (ii) cost of the ticket was in each case; what his policy is on the use of British Airways by his Department’s officials; and if he will make a statement. [270496]

Gillian Merron: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials of all grades travel extensively on official business, including travelling between the UK and their overseas posting. The FCO establishes “Approved Routes” to all destinations. These routes are deemed to offer the most efficient, safe and economical journey to the destination. At present the FCO has approved routes to 276 destinations. 92 of these approved routes (33 per cent.) use British Airways.

Staff make their own travel arrangements within defined cost ceilings and parameters. As travel bookings are made in London and in posts overseas in some 200 different locations, we do not hold information centrally on how many staff in each grade and directorate have flown by British Airways or other airlines in each of the last five years.

Departmental Assets

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department last reviewed its assets and land and property holdings with a view to identifying and disposing of surpluses. [269861]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) land and property holdings are kept under constant review against specific criteria including value for money, fitness for purpose and security, with a view to identifying assets which can be disposed of or can be put to better use.

In line with this, a major overall review began in February 2009 and will continue throughout the current financial year. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the FCO’s buildings and other assets are in the right place and are suitable to deliver Government priorities.

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G20: Greater London

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to the public purse of the London Summit 2009 was. [270195]

Gillian Merron: As at 7 April 2009, the estimated expenditure for the London summit was £14.4 million, excluding policing costs.


Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) December 2008 Memorandum of Understanding with Kenya and (b) the EU-Kenya exchange of letters regarding the transfer of persons suspected of committing acts of piracy of 6 March 2009. [270992]

David Miliband: The Kenyan Government do not wish to make public the December 2008 memorandum of understanding with the UK on the transfer of persons suspected of having committed acts of piracy. We must respect their position on this matter. The EU-Kenya exchange of letters is available on the European Union Council website at:

Somalia: Radioactive Waste

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on allegations of dumping of nuclear waste in Somalian territorial waters; and if he will make a statement. [270967]

Gillian Merron: We have heard no allegations that nuclear waste has been dumped in Somali territorial waters.

Sudan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the operational capacity of the joint UN-AU force for Darfur of its lack of key equipment pledged for the mission; and what discussions he has had with his UN Security Council counterparts on the supply of that equipment. [271564]

Gillian Merron: There remain significant shortfalls in the deployment of equipment for the joint UN-African Union Hybrid Mission for Darfur (UNAMID) which limits the effectiveness of the force. There is still no pledge for either light or utility helicopters. This remains the single greatest shortfall, with six helicopters required for each of the three sectors. We continue to work closely with the UN and potential contributors, including in the UN Security Council, and call on all parties to facilitate the full and rapid deployment of UNAMID.

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which of the joint UN-AU force for Darfur key deployment milestones
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discussed at the Tripartite Committee meeting on 31 March 2009 are planned to be reached (a) in the next quarter and (b) by the end of 2009. [271565]

Gillian Merron: UN-African Union hybrid mission to Darfur (UNAMID) staff briefed the Tripartite committee meeting that deployment of military forces currently stands at 67 per cent. of mandated strength. By the end of June military deployment is anticipated to be at 72 per cent. UNAMID expects all pledged units to have deployed by end of November which would bring military deployment to 92 per cent.

At 31 March 2009 the police component stood at 1778 police officers (47 per cent. of mandated strength). A further 200 personnel are expected to deploy each month until full mandated strength is reached.

The civil component was not discussed at the Tripartite meeting but currently stands at 62 per cent.

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