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Mr. Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of asylum cases arising since 2007 have been determined by his Department within six months in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. [322835]

Mr. Woolas: Information on asylum cases in which the UK Border Agency has made an initial decision within six months which excludes the appeal rights exhausted outcomes, is set out in the following table; the figures do not include dependents.

Asylum applications received Initial decisions within six months (grants or refusals) Percentage of applications with initial decision within six months













The initial decisions within six months and the percentage of applications with initial decision within six months are internal management information and as such have not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. These data are provisional and subject to change.

The Home Office publishes statistics on immigration and asylum, including numbers of asylum applications, and initial asylum decisions, on a quarterly and annual basis. These publications are placed in the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:

Border Agency War Crimes Unit

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to answer Question (a) 322689, (b) 322690 and (c) 322691 on the UK Border Agency war crimes unit, tabled on 12 March 2010. [324893]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the answers that I gave on 24 March 2010, Official Report, columns 350-51W.

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Departmental Internet

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will request Cable & Wireless to use the Internet Watch Foundation list to block access to known child abuse websites from computers on departmental networks. [324099]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 25 March 2010]: We have been considering with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) the conditions under which contracts for internet services to Government or Government agencies are offered. It is now a requirement that all suppliers block access to those sites specified on the IWF's list. This will apply to all new contracts offered for supply of these services, and we would strongly urge all current suppliers to ensure that they take the IWF list.

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will advise ministerial colleagues on steps to take to ensure that access to known child abuse sites is not possible from computers on departmental networks. [324100]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 25 March 2010]: The Government take the prevention of access to such images very seriously. We believe that Government should take all effective measures, such as the use of criteria in contracts, to ensure that Departments only buy internet services from suppliers that take the Internet Watch Foundation list. The changes to the OGC conditions to ensure that suppliers do this, as set out in their recent Procurement Policy Note, should be used by Departments to help them select their suppliers.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what budgets proceeds of crime recovered as a result of Crown Prosecution Service prosecutions are allocated to (a) local Crime Reduction Partnership budgets, (b) other local budgets and (c) central Government budgets. [324040]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The Crown Prosecution Service receives 18.75 per cent of the proceeds of crime recovered as a result of its prosecutions. In 2008-09 it received £10.6 million and this has been used to fund training of their lawyers, monitoring the work of their local areas and in supporting their asset recovery function. Full year figures for 2009-10 are not yet available.

In 2009-10, the Crown Prosecution Service contributed £375,000 of recovered proceeds to the Community Cashback Scheme. This was a new scheme in England and Wales which gives local people a say in how £4 million of recovered criminal assets should be spent in their communities. The Local Criminal Justice Boards considered applications for funding for community projects up to an overall maximum of £95,000 in their area. 269 projects were funded.

Detention Centres: Children

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies on the detention of children of the recent decision in the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Muskhadzhiyeva. [324695]

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Mr. Woolas: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) on 17 March 2010, Official Report, column 955W.

Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the reasons for the hunger strike by detainees at Dungavel immigration removal centre; and if he will make a statement; [323502]

(2) how many cases of hunger strike have occurred at immigration removal centres in each of the last two years. [323504]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 22 March 2010]: There has not been a hunger strike at Dungavel immigration removal centre (IRC).

I refer the hon. Member to the letter sent to Members of this House by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier), on 24 February 2010, addressing the inaccurate reporting in the media of a hunger strike at Yarl's Wood IRC; and to my own comments during Home Office questions in the House on 22 March 2010.

Those detainees said to be on hunger strike at Yarl's Wood were refusing meals from the centre's canteen, but they were buying food from the centre's shop and vending machines and having food delivered by visitors. They were all also drinking.

There is a well-publicised procedure in every immigration removal centre to enable detainees to complain about any aspect of their detention or care within the centre. There were no records of complaints received from any of the women involved at the start of the protest. Concerns which have since been raised are being addressed.

We only record information on detainees who have missed four consecutive meals, excluding breakfast. Such detainees miss meals for a number of reasons, including fasting due to their religious faith. We do not record the number who state they are refusing food in protest at a particular issue.

All those who miss meals are monitored closely by the centre, including healthcare, where they will receive advice on diet and welfare issues.

The UK Border Agency and the centre management engage closely with such detainees to understand the reason for them missing meals and to seek to resolve any underlying problems.

Electronic Warfare

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the capability of the UK to repair and recover from damage inflicted on critical infrastructure by an electromagnetic pulse attack. [323995]

Mr. Hanson: The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure provides protective security advice to operators of critical national infrastructure which addresses the threats they face and benefits from extensive research programmes which ensure that the advice given is up-to-
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date. It is not in the interests of national security to provide information about the nature or extent of research programmes that address national security threats.

Entry Clearances

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people from each country of origin were granted an entry visa on their (a) first, (b) second and (c) third attempt in the last 12 months; and how many from each such country were declined a visa. [323902]

Mr. Woolas: We are unable to ascertain from central records whether applicants issued with visas in any particular period had previously been refused a visa. This information could only be obtained by checking individual records at disproportionate cost.

Entry Clearances: Fees and Charges

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the sterling equivalent is of the charge made for a visa application made at each overseas post where visa applications are accepted from nationals of that country. [323904]

Mr. Woolas: UK visa application fees in sterling are published on our website:

The consular rate of exchange is used to calculate the equivalent fees in local currency and which is advertised locally. The consular rate is based on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office corporate rate of exchange, which is set at the start of each month and should be within 3 per cent. of the commercial rate of exchange.

Greater Manchester

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information as closely related to Manchester Central constituency as possible, the effect on that constituency of the policies of his Department since 1997. [321065]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 8 March 2010]: Manchester Central comes within the Manchester Community Safety Partnership (CSP). Prior to 1 March 2010, CSPs were referred to as Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRP). The available statistical information therefore relates to the Manchester CSP.

In terms of police recorded crime in the Manchester CSP, between 2002-03 and 2008-09, total recorded crime fell by 18 per cent. More specifically:

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Data prior to 2002-03 are not directly comparable because of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. Additionally, no data at CSP level are available prior to 1998-99.

Manchester CSP is covered by Metropolitan, North Manchester, South Manchester and Trafford basic command units, which had a total of 2,167 police officers as at 30 March 2009. The number of police officers has decreased by 74 since 2003. Comparisons with 1997 at BCU level are not available. There were 218 police community support officers as at 30 March 2009 while there were none in existence in 1997.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 saw positive effects with the statutory duty to create a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP). These are now referred to as Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs).

The Manchester CSP has brought new ways of working in a cross cutting way with the police, council and other key stakeholders and genuine partnership working to help tackle complex issues.

Neighbourhood Police Teams are in place and the Manchester Central constituency is served by a number of such teams from the Greater Manchester police's North Manchester and Metropolitan Divisions. Neighbourhood policing is a crucial partnership with the public and is helping to reduce crime and enhance community confidence in the police. The visible policing presence is augmented by information on neighbourhood policing in each area which is available on the internet. None of this was in place in 1997.

All CSPs, including Manchester, are putting in place minimum standards to tackle antisocial behaviour (ASB). By tackling ASB and providing support for victims, these will help to reduce local perceptions of ASB and improve public confidence. This was not in place in 1997. In addition, before 1997 there were no bespoke powers to tackle antisocial behaviour whereas there are now a range of powers to deal with this issue. These include antisocial behaviour orders and Designated Public Places Orders (DPPO) from the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. Manchester is in the top 50 national priority areas for alcohol-related harm.

The effects of the Department's policies on crime, antisocial behaviour, policing, and night time economy management have been consistently positive and instrumental in supporting the city centre's development as a safer, more popular and vibrant place to visit.

Detailed and comprehensive analysis is being used by Manchester, along with specific action plans to ensure reductions in serious violent crime. The Manchester Violent Gang Board has recently been commended for their approach to the issues within Manchester and have been given a Green Flag by the Audit commission for their work in relation to Guns and Gangs. Gun crime is down significantly-Greater Manchester Police's Xcalibre Operations have had notable success in targeting the gang culture and securing convictions against gang leaders and members. Firearms discharges have reduced in Manchester over the last three years. This is helping to improve safety in Manchester Central.

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Since 1997 a key element of Home Office policy in addressing domestic violence has been driven through the Home Office-led Cross-Government National Domestic Violence Delivery Plan. This includes the Specialist Domestic Violence Court programme (Manchester gained accreditation in 2008). It also includes Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs), the Government's approach to identified high risk victims of domestic violence. Manchester is developing three MARACs covering all three Police Divisions. Victims of domestic violence are supported by Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs)-trained specialists who provide a service to victims who are at high risk of harm which have been shown to decrease victimisation. Manchester now has 10 IDVAs.

Since 1997 a key element of Home Office policy in addressing sexual violence has been driven through the delivery of the Home Office-led Cross-Government Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Abuse which aims to increase access to health and support services for victims; improve the response of the criminal justice system for victims, and to prevent sexual violence in the first place. This has led to expanded services such as Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) to improve victim care. Home Office has supported the continued development of St. Mary's SARC in Manchester and the development of an ISVA service at the centre.

Manchester is a recipient of Youth Crime Action Plan funding and has rolled out a programme of initiatives designed to tackle Youth Crime. Manchester also receives funding from the Tackling Knives Action Programme and has engaged in a number of enforcement and educational activities to tackle and deter young people from involvement in all forms of serious youth violence. These include Safer Schools Partnerships.

The drug treatment system in Manchester has developed by means of joint planning and commissioning of services over many years. The introduction of national drug strategy and the establishment of pooled treatment budget arrangements in 2001-02 have done much to formalise and enhance partnership working. This has resulted in the development of an integrated treatment system. Manchester has an effective Drugs Intervention Programme (DIP).

Manchester is achieving significant reductions in acquisitive crime, but recognises that there are still challenges, particularly in tackling issues such as domestic burglary and robbery. Robust plans are in place to tackle these. There is a real focus on student safety and Manchester has developed a Student Safety Business Model. Manchester is a Vigilance area and Safer Homes Fund area which are Home Office programmes aimed at tackling acquisitive crime, particularly burglary and robbery. Greater Manchester Police's Operation Storm has had real success in recent reductions in domestic burglary in particular.

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