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Departmental Theft

Mr. Watson: To ask the Solicitor-General what steps each Law Officers' Department is taking to deter theft from within it. [322661]

The Solicitor-General: All of the Law Officers' Departments have extensive security measures in place to prevent theft and security within their organisations. Specific security policies are as outlined:

Attorney General's Office

Physical security measures are in place to protect against unauthorised access to the building, and all visitors are escorted by a permanent member of staff while on the premises. The building is guarded 24 hours a day and we have provided lockable cabinets to all staff to secure valuables and papers.

The Serious Fraud Office

Security procedures are in place to deter and protect against theft. These measures include lockable pedestals, a clear desk policy, locked safes, secure access controlled rooms, 24 hour guarding and CCTV to assist with prevention, detection and response.

The National Fraud Authority (NFA)

NFA internal control of its finances, people and organisation, includes the vetting of potential staff as part of its recruitment process. NFA also ensures all relevant policies are fully publicised so that staff are kept aware of their responsibilities and duties in respect of security issues.

The agency's arrangements to deter and detect internal theft are overseen by its head of finance and internal and external auditors, and a disciplinary framework exists to deal with any malpractice or criminal offence.

Security procedures are in place to deter and protect against theft. These measures include, secure access, twenty four hour guarding and CCTV.

The Crown Prosecution Service

Deters theft by maintaining strong internal controls, which include a policy on fraud, a code of conduct for staff and training on all aspects of security including physical security and theft prevention. In addition all office buildings are secure and visitors and contractors are supervised on site. Contracted staff must all pass the appropriate security vetting regime.

Treasury Solicitors (TSo l )

TSol has perimeter security at the entrance points to the building. All doors to the floors occupied by TSol are fitted with a card access system to prevent unauthorised access. All visitors are required to sign in at the main reception and wear visitor passes. Visitors are escorted to and from reception.

Induction briefings covering security issues are also mandatory for all new starters, including staff contractors, consultants and temporary staff. In addition TSol operates a clear desk policy, which ensures all cabinets are securely locked at the end of the working day.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI)

Both office sites are secure buildings with appropriate precautions to minimise the risk of theft by contractors or other visitors. These include perimeter security at the entrance points to the building, card access systems, a clear desk policy and staff awareness training.

Home Department


Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's contribution to the Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee on 9 March 2010 and paragraph 7.2 of the explanatory memorandum to the draft Extradition Act 2003 (Amendment to Designations) Order 2010, what the administrative oversight in respect of the exchange of instruments of ratification was; who should have informed his Department that the instruments of ratification had been exchanged; when the oversight was discovered; and for what reasons this information was not provided to the Committee by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. [322043]

Meg Hillier [holding answer 16 March 2010]: As I have said the Government regret the delay in laying the order designating Libya as an extradition partner under the Extradition Act 2003 and that Parliament was not afforded the opportunity to discuss the matter at an earlier date. More than one Government Department is involved in the treaty process and unfortunately, on this occasion, the usual contact between the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not
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take place leading to a delay in notification that the ratification procedures were complete. The oversight was discovered in January 2010 and arrangements were made immediately for the order to be drafted and considered by Parliament at the earliest opportunity.


Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of offences related to (a) credit card and (b) mortgage fraud affecting residents in Leeds North West constituency were reported in each of the last five years. [322706]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The information requested is not available in that form from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office. It is not possible to separately identify credit card and mortgage fraud from other offences within the Fraud and Forgery offence group.

The measurement of fraud is challenging as it is known to be very substantially under-reported to the police. Financial institutions will encourage customers (both personal and business) to report cheque, plastic card or online bank account fraud directly to them and not the police in the first instance. Fraud reported to financial institutions will then only be reported to the police if they are satisfied that there is a reasonable chance of a suspect being brought to justice through police investigation.

In addition to the fraud and forgery offences which are recorded by the police, the Home Office publishes information on plastic card offences identified by the UK Card Association along with findings from the British Crime Survey (BCS). The BCS provides a measure of plastic card fraud among adult residents in households which is important because it captures data on incidents which are not reported to the police. However, neither of these sources have data at borough level.

Further information is contained in Chapter 4 of 'Crime in England and Wales 2008/09', a copy of which is available in the Library.

Immigrants: Detainees

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children of each age group from each country have been held in immigration (a) detention and (b) removal centres at each location prior to deportation in each year since 1997. [319527]

Alan Johnson: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only by checking individual records over the period requested at a disproportionate cost.

National Statistics on children detained solely under Immigration Act powers on a snapshot basis are published quarterly. The information is published in Tables 9-11 of the Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary, United Kingdom bulletins which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:

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Motor Vehicles: Seized Articles

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cars were seized in the Merseyside Police Authority area for (a) crushing and (b) disposal by other means in each of the last five years. [322629]

Mr. Alan Campbell: This information is not held centrally. The police can seize and remove vehicles in certain circumstances. Any vehicle so seized can be reclaimed on payment of charges and on satisfaction of any other prescribed requirements. If a vehicle is not reclaimed, the police may dispose of it as they consider appropriate.

Police: Equality

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the proportion of police officer time spent on equality and diversity training in each year since 1997. [320550]

Alan Johnson: Equality and diversity is embedded throughout all police training courses. Information is not held centrally on classroom based training attended by police officers, as it is the responsibility of individual police forces.


Carbon Emissions: EU Action

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's policy is on proposals for an EU-wide minimum tax on carbon. [322509]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: There is currently no EU Commission proposal for an EU-wide minimum tax on carbon.

Corporation Tax

Hywel Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the number of companies owing unpaid corporation tax of (a) less than £10,000, (b) between £10,001 and £25,000, (c) between £25,001 and £50,000, (d) between £50,001 and £100,000 and (e) more than £100,000 in each region in each of the last five years; and how much in total was owed in each such category; [322488]

(2) what estimate he has made of the amount of corporation tax owed to HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last five years. [322489]

Mr. Timms: The annual amount of corporation tax debt is shown in HMRC's annual accounts, available at:

The breakdowns of corporation tax debt by the number of companies, by size of debt, and by region would be available only at disproportionate cost.

Debt Collection

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many complaints have been made to the Financial Services Ombudsman by residents of (a)
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Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency, (b) the Highlands, (c) Scotland and (d) England and Wales regarding debt recovery agencies in each of the last five years; [315627]

(2) how many debt recovery agencies have been subject to financial penalties in (a) Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency, (b) the Highlands, (c) Scotland and (d) England and Wales in each month since the introduction of the specific requirements clause of the Consumer Credit Act 2006. [315628]

Kevin Brennan: I have been asked to reply.

Complaints made to the financial service ombudsman by residents regarding debt recovery agencies is a matter for the financial ombudsman service and they will write to the hon. Member directly with the details.

The OFT has told us that since the introduction of its wider powers in April 2008, it has imposed requirements on six debt collection agencies whose conduct has caused it dissatisfaction. Requirements were imposed on one business in Scotland in April 2009. Four businesses based in England are subject to conduct requirements: these were imposed respectively in February 2009, May 2009 and, on two of the businesses, in June 2009. Requirements were imposed on the remaining business, which is based in the Philippines but collects debts from UK consumers, in November 2008.

The OFT does not have the power to impose an immediate financial penalty on licensed businesses where it is dissatisfied with the conduct of the business. However, if a trader fails to comply with a requirement, it could be subject to a penalty of up to £50,000 and/or revocation of its licence. As yet no financial penalties have been imposed, but OFT is monitoring compliance with the requirements imposed.

Departmental Legal Costs

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department has spent in (a) legal fees and (b) compensation on legal cases concerning remuneration of its employees in each of the last 10 years. [322066]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The information requested could not be obtained within the disproportionate costs threshold.

Departmental Lost Property

John Mason: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what property has been recorded as (a) lost and (b) stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what estimate has been made of the cost of the replacement of that property. [322068]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The following items of HM Treasury property were reported lost or stolen during the 12 months ending December 2009:

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Property lost or stolen in 2009



BlackBerry mobile devices


Laptop USB tokens



BlackBerry mobile devices


Remote Access Unit


Laptop case


PC mouse


Filing cabinet key


The total cost of replacement is estimated at £2,100.

Departmental Theft

Mr. Watson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to deter theft from within the Department. [322656]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Guidance on taking precautions against theft is provided to staff on the Treasury intranet. Staff are reminded of the importance of locking away their valuables or departmental assets when they leave the office at the end of the day or while they are away from their desks for long periods of time. Reminders are issued periodically.

Furthermore the importance of all aspects of security is emphasised to new staff as part of the standard Treasury induction training.

EU External Trade: Israel

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the contribution by the Exchequer Secretary of 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 319WH, on the EU-Israel trade agreement, what additional checks HM Revenue and Customs have undertaken on (a) known settlement producers and (b) imports of cosmetic products from Ahava. [322805]

Mr. Timms: To date, HM Revenue and Customs has considered imports of tahini and sweet peppers.

It has added sweet peppers to the series of targeted physical examinations which the United Kingdom Border Agency is undertaking in respect of imports of fresh produce from Israel.

It has not added tahini as the product attracts a nil rate of customs duty outside of the provisions of the EU-lsrael Association Agreement and, consequently, there is no scope for abuse of the preferential trade arrangements.

HMRC has started to investigate exports made under the EU-lsrael Agreement by the Settlements companies listed in the 2009 research paper prepared by the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, which have economic links with the UK.

While for reasons of commercial confidentiality HMRC cannot disclose information in respect of enquiries into exports made by specific companies, it has undertaken further checks in respect of a range of cosmetic products imported under the EU-lsrael Agreement over the last three years.

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