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9 Feb 2010 : Column 908W—continued

DNA: Databases

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the prison population had a profile stored on the National DNA Database on the latest date for which figures are available. [313454]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The purpose of the national DNA database (NDNAD) is to match DNA profiles taken from individuals with those taken from crime scenes. It holds only the information necessary for this function, and does not contain criminal records or information on whether those on it are in prison.

However, there are good reasons for believing that a significant majority of the prison population has a profile on the NDNAD. Police forces have had the power to retain DNA taken from those convicted of recordable offences since the establishment of the DNA database in 1995. For the first few years this power was exercised in relation to more serious offenders, but from 2000 onwards additional funding was made available under the DNA expansion programme to make it standard practice to take samples from all offenders. In April 2004, the law was changed to allow DNA samples to be taken from all those arrested for recordable offences. Following this, taking a DNA sample in the custody suite has become routine procedure. In addition, two prisoner sampling projects have been undertaken, most recently in 2003, to take DNA from any prisoner who had not already been sampled, for example because they had been imprisoned before DNA sampling was widely practiced.

Legal powers have existed since 1996 to take DNA samples from those in prison. The Crime and Security Bill currently before Parliament allows samples to be taken from those convicted of sexual and violent offences before 1995 even if they are no longer in prison.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people with a profile on the National DNA Database have never been convicted of a crime. [315672]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 4 February 2010]: The national DNA database (NDNAD) is designed to match DNA taken from crime scenes with that taken from individuals. It does not hold information on whether those with records on it have convictions, as this is not necessary for this purpose. Data on convictions is held on the Police National Computer (PNC).

Some data on whether those on the NDNAD have convictions are available from the Police National Computer (PNC) but not as part of the PNC's routine functions. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) obtains this information periodically, usually once per year. To obtain it more frequently would incur disproportionate cost.

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The most recent figures available for England and Wales show that at 24 April 2009 there were an estimated 4,587,430 persons on the NDNAD, of whom 79 per cent. (an estimated 3,601,245 persons) had a current conviction, caution, formal warning or reprimand recorded on the PNC. The remaining 21 per cent. (an estimated 986,185 persons) includes those people who have been convicted and have had their records deleted, those against whom proceedings are still ongoing, and those who have never been convicted.

Forced Marriage

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people affected by forced marriage have received (a) direct assistance from the Forced Marriage Unit and (b) assistance from third sector organisations funded by the Forced Marriage Unit. [315081]

Mr. Alan Campbell: In 2009, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) helpline gave advice and support in 1,682 separate instances of possible forced marriage (this figure counts multiple calls on one case as one "instance") and the unit itself dealt with 375 cases of forced marriage. The FMU is committed to working closely with the third sector to provide victims with the full range of support and assistance and has increased funding to third sector organisation over recent years.

It is not possible to provide statistics for the number of people affected by forced marriage who received assistance from third sector organisations funded by the unit in financial year 2009-10. This is because the projects are ongoing and the outcomes of the projects are not necessarily quantifiable in these terms. Funds were provided, for instance, for projects designed to increase awareness of forced marriage and appropriate responses to it among various professional, peer and community groups. It is not possible to accurately assess the number of individuals engaged by these projects that have themselves already been directly affected by forced marriage. Going forward, the FMU are working with Governmental and non-governmental partners to build the best statistical picture possible.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many counterfeit (a) passports and (b) driving licences have been confiscated in each year since 1998-99; and how many counterfeit identity cards have been confiscated. [314773]

Alan Johnson: The number of counterfeit UK passports identified in the UK and recorded by UK Border Agency (UKBA) since 2000 are shown in the following table. No figures are available prior to 2000. The figure for 2009 is up until the end of September. No data is recorded in respect of counterfeit passports recovered overseas.

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The following table provides the number of counterfeit driving licences referred to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the last four years.

No figures are available prior to 2006.

Counterfeit photocard licence Counterfeit paper counterpart to licence
















The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) began publicly issuing Identity Cards to UK Nationals on 30 November 2009. To date IPS have not identified or confiscated any counterfeit cards. The UKBA began issuing Identity Cards to foreign nationals on 25 November 2008. To date UKBA have not identified or confiscated any counterfeit cards.


Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent assessment he has made of the risks of the recreational use of methadone; [314415]

(2) what recent representations he has received on the classification of methadone; and if he will make a statement. [314416]

Mr. Alan Campbell: Based on the hon. Member's subsequent clarification, this answer addresses mephedrone, not methadone.

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), whom we are required by statute to consult before bringing forward legislation under the 1971 Act to Parliament, is currently considering the harms of mephedrone and related cathinone compounds as a priority. The ACMD's latest letter on its consideration of these drugs is available at:

In addition to the ACMD's letter, representations have been received from Members of Parliament and the public.

Passports: Concessions

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to extend the entitlement to a free passport to those who are over the age of 80 years after September 2009. [316013]

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Meg Hillier: The free passport scheme is a special concession that was introduced in 2004 initially to assist Second World War veterans who were travelling to 60(th) anniversary commemorative events, such as those visiting the Normandy landing beaches. It was extended to cover all those born on or before 2 September 1929 who would have been aged 16 or over at the end of the second World War in Europe and so were old enough by the end of the war to have made a substantial contribution to the national effort either by being in the armed forces or civilian employment.

This scheme was intended as a recognition of the contribution of second world war veterans rather than being an age related concession and, accordingly, there are no plans to extend it to those who will be over 80 after September 2009. Any extension would be considerably more expensive and would have to be financed by increasing passport fees for other applicants.

However, we have now started to issue identity cards to British citizens that are valid for travel in Europe at a fee of £30 compared to the passport fee of £77.50. Currently identity cards are available to anyone resident in the United Kingdom who holds a valid or recently expired passport and has registered an interest on the Identity and Passport Service website at:

or does so before 30 June 2010. It is intended that by 2012 that anyone applying for a passport will be offered the choice of being issued with an identity card or passport or both documents.

Police: Training

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost of training (a) a police officer, (b) a community support officer and (c) a special constable is in England and Wales. [315643]

Alan Johnson: The Initial Police Training and Development Programme (IPLDP) form the basis of initial training for (a) a police officer (b) a police community support officer and (c) a special constable in England and Wales.

From April 2006 the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) assisted the rollout of the IPLDP to all 43 Home Office forces. Each police force has the autonomy as to the way they meet/exceed the standards set out in the IPLDP curriculum and the amount that they spend.

To help support the delivery of the learning programme, from April 2008 to March 2011 the Home Office has a central supplementary fund of £16.2 million which is currently distributed according to each police force's average recruitment during 2006-08. Central provision of training was discontinued in 2006. This information is not held centrally.


Ambulance Services: Standards

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in respect of which ambulance trusts performance in meeting the target for responding to category A calls has declined since October 2007. [316019]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: Ambulance response time statistics are published annually reporting performance over a full financial year, therefore is not available for the time period requested. The annual statistics also report against two category A standards for urgent and emergency incidents; receiving a response at the scene of the incident within eight minutes 75 per cent. of the time, and if the patient requires transport this should arrive within 19 minutes of the request for transport being made 95 per cent. of the time.

The published annual data for 2007-08 and 2008-09 show that:

From 1 April 2008, the way that national health service ambulance trusts measure response times has changed. This change is commonly referred to as 'call connect'. Response times are now measured from the point when the call is presented to the control room telephone switch. Previously, response times were measured from the point when certain details had been ascertained from the caller, an average of 90 seconds later. Therefore 2008-09 data involving the new 'call connect' response time measurement (i.e. eight and 19 minute response times) are not comparable with earlier years.

Departmental Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in his Department have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the last three years. [316463]

Phil Hope: The Department gives managing sickness absence the importance it deserves. Our policy "Managing Sickness Absence-promoting attendance at work" promotes a positive approach to managing and responding to sickness absence.

Human resources routinely make contact with line managers and members of staff at agreed absence trigger points, advising on the policy and support available to maximise attendance and support health and well-being at work. This can include occupational health referrals, return to work interviews, making use of the employee assistance programme, and consideration of reasonable adjustments to the role or physical environment.

Human resources provide continued support to managers and members of staff in maintaining acceptable attendance levels and advising on process for formal action where acceptable attendance levels cannot be sustained.

In December 2008, the Department published its policy on health and well-being for all its staff. One of the aims of the policy is to improve attendance at work.

A new more proactive new occupational health service is being tendered now which will also have an impact on attendance at work.

The information could be provided in the format requested only at disproportionate cost. However the Department can provide information for the last four
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years on the numbers of staff who have had five or more periods of sickness of less than five days in a year. This is given in the following table:

Number of staff having five or more periods of sickness of less than five days









Information is not available before 2005-06.

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