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10 Dec 2009 : Column 565W—continued


10 Dec 2009 : Column 566W

Independent Police Complaints Commission

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will bring forward proposals to require the Independent Police Complaints Commission to inform his Department of the number of recommendations made by the Commission which have been (a) rejected and (b) implemented by the police force to which they are addressed; and if he will make a statement; [306101]

(2) how long on average police authorities have taken to make a response to recommendations of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in each of the last three years; what recent discussions he has had with (a) the IPCC and (b) police authorities on this issue; and if he will make a statement; [306102]

(3) if he will bring forward proposals to require individual police forces to (a) accept, (b) respond to and (c) implement in full recommendations made by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC); and what (i) representations he has received from and (ii) discussions he has had with (A) police forces, (B) the IPCC and (C) members of the public on this issue in the last 12 months; [306103]

(4) if he will bring forward proposals to monitor the responses of police forces to the findings of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which affect them; what recent discussions he has had with the IPCC on this issue; and if he will make a statement. [306104]

Mr. Hanson: One of the functions of the police complaints system is to ensure that lessons are learned so that the service the public receives can be improved. The recommendations made by the IPCC are an important element in that improvement process.

The Public Accounts Committee's Fifteenth Report on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), published in March 2009, recommended that the Home Office clarify who is responsible for monitoring the implementation of IPCC recommendations made to police forces following an IPCC investigation.

The Home Office is considering with the IPCC, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers the implementation of a suitable system for monitoring the implementation of IPCC recommendations, both at national and local level. We aim to have arrangements in place by spring 2010.

The specific information sought by the hon. Member is not collected by the Home Office.

Mephedrone

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the likely effects on health of the use of mephedrone as a recreational drug; what advice he has received from the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs on mephodrone; and if he will make a statement. [302577]

Mr. Alan Campbell: Mephedrone (4-Methylmethcathinone) is a stimulant drug which is structurally related to cathinone and methcathinone, both of which are controlled substances
10 Dec 2009 : Column 567W
under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is currently considering the harms of Mephedrone and related cathinones compounds as a priority of its current review of so called 'legal highs', commissioned by the then Home Secretary earlier this year. The ACMD will report back early next year and their advice will inform our response to these substances. The Government's FRANK campaign provides information on Mephedrone with clear advice about its known harms provided by the Department of Health and our current 'legal highs' information campaign has included warnings about Mephedrone.

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will bring forward proposals to prohibit the possession and supply of the recreational drug mephedrone; [306021]

(2) what recent meetings he has had with the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs to discuss the recreational drug mephedrone; and if he will make a statement. [306022]

Mr. Alan Campbell: Mephedrone (4-Methylmethcathinone) is a stimulant drug which is structurally related to cathinone and methcathinone, both of which are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. I had not met the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) specifically on this issue as they are already considering the harms of Mephedrone and related cathinones compounds as a priority of its current review of so called 'legal highs', commissioned by the then Home Secretary earlier this year. It is a statutory requirement that the ACMD are consulted before bringing an Order under the 1971 Act before Parliament. The ACMD will report back early next year and their advice will inform our consideration of the control of mephedrone under the 1971 Act.

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans his Department has to classify mephedrone as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971; and if he will make a statement; [306049]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the harm associated with the use of mephedrone; and if he will make a statement. [306050]

Mr. Alan Campbell: Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a stimulant drug which is structurally related to cathinone and methcathinone, both of which are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), who we are required by statute to consult before bringing an order under the 1971 Act before Parliament, is currently considering the harms of mephedrone and related cathinones compounds as a priority of its current review of so called 'legal highs', commissioned by the then Home Secretary earlier this year. The ACMD will report back early next year and their advice will inform our consideration of the control of mephedrone under the 1971 Act. The Government's Frank campaign provides information on mephedrone with clear advice about its known harms provided by the Department of Health and our current 'legal highs' information campaign has included warnings about mephedrone.


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Offences Against Children: Internet

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place for the sharing of information on online images of child abuse with the US authorities; and if he will make a statement. [304641]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is the reporting point for illegal images of child sexual abuse for the UK. When an image is reported, the IWF will notify the relevant INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines) Hotline in the country concerned, including in the United States, and will also inform the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). CEOP work closely with the Virtual Global Taskforce, and with the law enforcement agencies of other countries, to tackle such sites, and to arrest those responsible for them. CEOP works closely with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US.

Passports

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether a person with a complaint about a defective passport is entitled to speak to a manager at a local passport office. [305200]

Meg Hillier: We are always concerned to hear of any problem that our customers have and we look to provide a resolution as quickly as possible.

Customers who wish to lodge a complaint about any aspect of the services that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) provides may do so via telephone, e-mail, letter, fax or in person at one of the seven regional passport offices. All IPS customer facing staff are fully trained in handling complaints, however, if unable to do so or if a customer specifically asks to see a manager, the public counter manager will make themselves available.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place to compensate those whose passport applications have been subject to (a) delays and (b) errors in processing. [305236]

Meg Hillier: In accordance with current Treasury and Cabinet Office guidance, which indicates that they do not consider it is appropriate to recompense for anything other than quantifiable loss and that payments for distress and inconvenience should only be made in exceptional circumstances. It is the Identity and Passport Service's (IPS) policy to reimburse the reasonable and actual out of pocket expenses incurred by customers as a direct consequence of operational errors or omissions by its staff by means of an ex-gratia payment. It is not our normal policy to pay compensation for distress or inconvenience arising from these errors.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports issued in each of the last three years were replaced after being reported as damaged. [305239]


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Meg Hillier: The recording of statistical data relating to faulty chips in passports began in January 2007 and, as at 31 October 2009, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has recorded a total of 389 passports returned by customers with suspected faulty chips. Records show that 14 of these were found not to be faulty and five chips had been damaged after dispatch by persons unknown.

Police

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received on the reform of police authorities; and if he will make a statement. [305835]

Mr. Hanson: In the development of the White Paper: Protecting the Public: Supporting the Police to Succeed I sought views from all key policing stakeholders on the planned Government reforms of police authorities in England and Wales. I was also strongly influenced by the review carried out by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett).

Police: Essex

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the crime detection rate for Essex police force was in each year since 1996-97. [305832]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The information requested is given in the table.

It should be noted that non-sanction detections which contribute to the overall detection rates have fallen in recent years reflecting a significant shift by many police forces away from recording detections where no further action is taken. For this reason overall detection rates over time are not fully comparable.

The detection rate is a ratio of crime detected in a period to crimes recorded in a period. It is not based on tracking whether individual crimes recorded in a period have eventually been detected.

Overall detection rate for offences recorded by the police in Essex
Period Detection rate (percentage)

1996

29

1997

27

1997-98

28

1998-99(1)

29

1999-2000(2)

30

2000-01(3)

26

2001-02

26

2002-03(4)

27

2003-04

28

2004-05

27

2005-06

31

2006-07

33

2007-08

32

2008-09

35

(1) The percentage of crimes detected in that financial year using the expanded coverage and revised counting rules which came into effect on 1 April 1998.
(2) New instructions which clarified the rules for detecting crime were introduced on 1 April 1999.
(3) Essex police force was affected by boundary changes in April 2000.
(4) The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in 2002-03. Figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions representatives of his Department have had with representatives of Essex Police Authority since May 2008; what issues were discussed; and if he will make a statement. [305833]

Mr. Hanson: Although the Home Office engages actively with all forces and authorities, especially in the development of the recent Policing White Paper, no central record is kept of discussions that have taken place between the Home Office and individual police authorities.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when representatives of his Department last visited Essex Police Authority area; what issues were discussed; and if he will make a statement. [305834]

Mr. Hanson: The Home Office does not keep central records of visits made by officials.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will request the Chief Constable of Essex Police to compile a report on the (a) number and (b) location of reported anti-Semitic incidents in Essex since December 2008; and if he will make a statement. [306094]

Mr. Hanson: This information is not held centrally, and we do not require police forces or authorities to hold statistics on these specific incidents. The statistics may be available directly from Essex police.

Stop and Search: Children

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children have been stopped and searched in each year since 2001; and how many of these procedures have taken place under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. [305355]

Mr. Hanson [holding answer 8 December 2009]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Data on stop and search procedures reported to the Home Office do not include the age of persons searched.

Stop and Search: Young People

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many young people under the age of 18 have been stopped and searched in each police force area under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in each year since 2000; and how many have subsequently been (a) arrested (i) under that Act and (ii) for another reason and (b) prosecuted (i) under that Act and (ii) for another reason, in each such area. [305998]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Data on stop and search procedures reported to the Home Office do not include the age of persons searched. Additionally, the data collected do not include the number of persons who were subsequently proceeded against at court.


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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Politics and Government

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports the Prime Minister has received on levels of corruption in the Afghanistan government. [304147]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Corruption is endemic throughout society and state. Pervasive corruption within government and the security forces undermines the legitimacy of the government and corrodes consent. Nearly one fifth of the Afghan population believe corruption is the country's biggest problem (after insecurity, unemployment and poor economy) and Afghanistan ranks second to last on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (before Somalia). President Karzai made a commitment to tackling corruption in his inauguration speech. We expect him to demonstrate this commitment by creating independent institutions that can prevent, detect and take action against corrupt practices in government. We will continue to offer a Multi-Agency Task Force of experts from across the Government to support the Afghan Government to tackle corruption.

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister's Statement of 30 November 2009, Official Report, columns 831-6, on Afghanistan and Pakistan, what steps have been agreed with the government of Afghanistan to ensure that all provinces and districts in Afghanistan have a governor appointed on merit, free from corruption and with clearly defined roles, skills and resources. [304878]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

President Karzai set out his commitments in his inauguration speech of 19 November 2009. We welcome the emphasis placed on the need for governors to have integrity and professionalism, and look forward to the announcement of appointments over the next nine months.

We also welcome the Afghan Government's intention to reform sub-national governance. The reforms proposed will address various issues, including the definition of roles and responsibilities and the provision of training and resources. Once the reform proposals are agreed, the UK and its international partners will work with the Afghan Government to ensure that there are clear, time-bound targets for delivery.

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister's Statement of 30 November 2009, Official Report, columns 831-36W, on Afghanistan and Pakistan, what criteria will be used to determine whether an appointee for provincial or district governorship in Afghanistan is free from corruption; what body will be charged with making that assessment; and what agreement has been made with the government of Afghanistan in respect of consultation on such appointments. [304930]


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