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11 Nov 2009 : Column 425W—continued


11 Nov 2009 : Column 426W

Criminal Records

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received following the Court of Appeal judgment on 19 October 2009 on the retention of individual records on police computers; and if he will make a statement. [295270]

Meg Hillier: We have received no representations to date.

It is vital that we do everything we can to protect the public from crime and this judgment provides valuable clarification of how we can continue to do so through retaining conviction data on the police national computer (PNC).

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has asked the newly appointed Independent advisor for criminality information management, Sunita Mason, to review how criminal records on the PNC are retained and disclosed. She will work closely with the police to develop proposals for a fair and proportionate approach.

Departmental Procurement

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest assessment is of the effectiveness and efficiency of his Department's procurement of technology and equipment. [297809]

Meg Hillier: My overall assessment of the Department's procurement of technology and equipment is of a strong performing, effective and efficient commercial capability. The assessment is based on a number of factors, put in place over the past two years, which are bearing positive results. These include:


11 Nov 2009 : Column 427W

Departmental Travel

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many miles (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department travelled by (i) car, (ii) rail and (iii) air on Government business in each year since 1997. [298541]

Mr. Woolas: The Home Office does not record the mileage of journeys for Government business made by any of the Ministers or their officials.

This could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Visits Abroad

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on overnight accommodation for (a) Ministers and (b) officials while overseas in each of the last three years. [294695]

Mr. Woolas: The Cabinet Office annual lists of overseas trips undertaken by Ministers costing over £500 can be accessed at:

The list for 2008-09 was published on 16 July. This and earlier lists are available in the Library of the House.

Information relating to how much was spent on overnight accommodation for officials while overseas could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

All travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code and the civil service management code respectively.

Deportation: West Midlands

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people resident in the West Midlands were deported in 2008. [295342]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 27 October 2009]: Information relating to the number of residents in the West Midlands deported in the same year can be obtained only through the detailed examination of individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost.


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Statistics on the control of immigration in 2008 including removal figures can be found at:

Educational Institutions: Fraud

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the last six months on the number of bogus colleges in operation. [292795]

Mr. Woolas: The Secretary of State for the Home Department has not met with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills specifically to discuss bogus colleges. I have met with my right hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Lammy) and there has been regular discussion between officials in the two Departments about the points-based system generally and bogus colleges in particular. We estimate that around 1,500 colleges have ceased to operate.

Entry Clearances

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many academic staff from each overseas country have applied for visas to (a) work and (b) lecture in the UK in each of the last 12 months; how many such applications were refused; and if he will make a statement. [297721]

Mr. Woolas: There is provision in the immigration rules (paragraph 46G) for non-EEA nationals to enter as business visitors, including academic visitors. Prior entry clearance is only mandatory for visa nationals. Academics coming to participate in a conference or seminar where it is a single or occasional event, and the event is not a commercial venture, may enter as academic visitors. Those who intend to come to the UK solely to undertake a series of lectures for which they will receive a fee will normally be required to seek entry for employment purposes under tier 2 of the points-based system. Tier 2 applications from Academics cannot be separately identified.

The number of (1) applications received; (2) visas issued; and (3) visas refused in the academic visitor category in each of the last 12 months (October 2008 to September 2009) is shown in the following table. A separate table has been placed in the House of Commons Library which gives this information for each nationality.


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11 Nov 2009 : Column 430W
Reporting period Endorsement DESC Applications Issued Refused Withdrawn Lapsed Resolved

October 2008

Academic visitor

294

242

35

15

0

292

November 2008

Academic visitor

226

188

32

15

0

235

December 2008

Academic visitor

257

195

25

5

0

225

January 2009

Academic visitor

278

251

26

3

2

282

February 2009

Academic visitor

285

258

47

5

8

318

March 2009

Academic visitor

358

279

49

8

1

337

April 2009

Academic visitor

338

254

26

13

2

295

May 2009

Academic visitor

440

411

50

15

3

479

June 2009

Academic visitor

548

452

63

5

1

521

July 2009

Academic visitor

533

440

57

2

0

499

August 2009

Academic visitor

433

377

71

6

0

454

September 2009

Academic visitor

454

359

62

8

1

430

Total (number)

4,444

3,706

543

100

18

4,367

Refusal rate (percentage)

12

Source:
CRS 2 November 2009.
The data are unpublished and should be treated as provisional.

Equipment: Theft

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the value of heavy plant and equipment stolen in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [297913]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 5 November 2009]: The Home Office has not recently estimated the cost of the theft of heavy plant and equipment. The plant and agricultural national intelligence unit of the Metropolitan police estimates that approximately £1.5 million of construction and agricultural plant machinery is stolen in the UK every week.

I am aware that vehicle security experts Thatcham estimate the total cost to the UK of plant theft to be upwards of £600 million per year.

The Home Office takes the theft of plant and equipment very seriously. That is why the Home Office scientific development branch (HOSDB) published the "Security Guidance Document for Agricultural and Construction Plant", which was launched by me, in my capacity as the Minister for crime reduction at the construction industry theft solutions conference on 3 November this year.

The new guidance provides up to date advice and information for the agricultural and construction industries, helping them to protect themselves from theft. The guidance was first published in January 2008, and has been revised and updated in the light of technological developments and our most recent understanding of the methods used by criminals to steal agricultural and plant machinery.

I am grateful to the plant theft action group (PTAG), established by the Home Office but now operated by and for the plant industry, and to the plant and agricultural national intelligence unit of the Metropolitan police (PANIU) for their support in producing the updated guidance.

PTAG and PANIU are also continuing to make a significant contribution to the reduction of plant theft through developments such as the CESAR plant marking and registration scheme, and the publication of guidance on construction site security.

The availability of the HOSDB plant security guidance, the PANIU site security guidance and the CESAR scheme are together proving successful at reducing plant theft and increasing rates of recovery of stolen plant.


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