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Contract Catering: Increased Turnover

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government are pleased to note that the British Hospitality Association's survey reports an 8.5 per cent. increase in turnover in contract catering from 1999 to 2000.

New Opportunities Fund: Freehold Land

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No; it is currently a requirement of the New Opportunities Fund's financial directions that grant conditions for freehold land apply for 80 years. In some cases it may be proper to apply enduring or restrictive covenants; but this will depend on the individual circumstances of a grant proposal for land purchase.

Parliamentary Pay Review

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Chairman of the Senior Salaries Review Body wrote to the Prime Minister in late February enclosing a copy of the report.

The Government published the report on 16 March.

EU/US "Safe Harbours" Agreement

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The United States Department of Commerce maintains a list of organisations adhering to the safe harbour arrangements. On 10 April 2001, 37 organisations were listed. Without more detailed information than that which the list provides, it is not possible to identify

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multinationals. The Government have no reason to believe that the safe harbour arrangements are not functioning effectively.

National High-Tech Crime Unit

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether recruits to the National High-Tech Crime Unit are trained in the United States rather than the United Kingdom; and, if so and in light of the apparent absence in the United Kingdom of adequate training facilities for the Unit and Information Technology security services generally, what plans they have to address this.[HL1778]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Staff joining the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit will receive their core training in the United Kingdom. Some staff will undertake training in the United States in the use of specific computer forensics tools by attending courses delivered by the product manufacturers. Home Office National Police Training is reviewing the hi-tech crime training needs of the police service as a whole.

"Hard-working Families": Definition

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their definition of a "hard-working family".[HL1363]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government are committed to supporting families who work hard to balance their work and family commitments looking after children and their dependents. That is why we are improving rewards from employment, helping people into employment and improving support for parents, including child care, and for carers and poorer pensioners.

Immigration Act Detainees: Telephone Calls

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they reconcile the statement of the Lord Davies of Oldham on 27 March (H.L. Deb., Col. 255) that "detainees held in prisons have access to a telephone, although the telephones are used in the main for incoming calls" with the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 29 March (WA 59) that "prisoners may not receive incoming telephone calls and faxes. However, exceptional provision has been made for Immigration Act detainees held in the dedicated centres at Lindholme and Haslar prisons to receive incoming telephone calls and faxes". [HL1751]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The position is as stated in my earlier Answer, WA 59, 29 March. I understand that my noble friend Lord Davies of Oldham is writing to those who took part in the debate on 27 March to

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clarify or expand upon a number of points, and the issue of access to telephones to receive incoming calls is one such point.

Firearms Database

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Firearms Certificates Database, required under Section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, is still expected to be operational in February 2002, as indicated in the letter of 20 November 2000 from the Minister of State at the Home Office, Mr Charles Clarke, to Mr Robin Corbett MP.[HL1769]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I understand from the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO), which is responsible for taking this project forward, that the database is still expected to be operational around February 2002.

Persistent Offenders: Sentencing

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish, for the most convenient recent period, an analysis of:


    (a) the number of offenders who appeared before the courts for sentence following convictions on four or more previous occasions;

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    (b) the types of offence for which they had received their most recent conviction;


    (c) the types of sentences they received: discharges, fines, community sentences, imprisonment up to 12 months, 12 months to four years and four years and over; and


    (d) the period of time which had elapsed since the offence for which the offender had been convicted on the last previous occasion, showing separate figures for men and women and for those aged under 18, 18-25, and over 25; and[HL1762]

    What estimate they have made of (1) the numbers of offenders who over a 12-month period are likely to appear before the courts for sentence following a fifth or subsequent conviction; (2) the types of offence for which they will most recently have been convicted; and (3) the period of time which will have elapsed since their last previous conviction.[HL1761]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Readily available data relates to a sample of offenders who were convicted of standard list offences during 20 days in 1998. The total number of offenders convicted of standard list offences during the sample period was 33,808 males and 4,941 females, of whom 12,599 males and 995 females had been convicted on four or more previous occasions (i.e. they were being sentenced on a fifth or subsequent occasion). The table gives an age and gender breakdown of the most recent offence, sentence imposed, and an analysis of the time since the offender's last previous conviction. An estimate for a 12-month period can be made by multiplying the same figures by 13.

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Table: Offenders sentenced during four sample weeks of 1998 who had four or more previous convictions

MalesFemales
Age under 18 Age 18-25 Aged 26 and over Age under 18 Age 18-25 Aged 26 and over
Total number of offenders in sample who have convictions on four or more previous occasions6574,3237,61941324630
Offence on most recent conviction:
Violence against the person365.5%2696.2%5717.5%12.4%144.3%233.7%
Sexual offences00.0%130.3%680.9%00.0%00.0%10.2%
Burglary11217.0%50311.6%4806.3%24.9%92.8%101.6%
Robbery243.7%731.7%600.8%24.9%30.9%20.3%
Theft and handling stolen goods26340.0%1,31130.3%2,03526.7%1946.3%15648.1%32351.3%
Fraud and forgery40.6%852.0%2403.2%12.4%247.4%325.1%
Criminal damage142.1%651.5%1181.5%00.0%20.6%71.1%
Drug offences264.0%4079.4%94712.4%00.0%247.4%558.7%
Other indictable offences294.4%44310.2%5917.8%512.2%4012.3%7812.4%
Summary standard list offences14922.7%1,15426.7%2,50932.9%1126.8%5216.0%9915.7%
Total657100.0%4,323100.0%7,619100.0%41100.0%324100.0%630100.0%
Sentence received on most recent conviction:
Absolute or conditional discharge11717.8%4259.8%1,00513.2%819.5%5416.7%12820.3%
Fine6710.2%1,15726.8%2,55833.6%717.1%7121.9%17828.3%
All community sentences27642.0%1,18627.4%1,85224.3%1946.3%11435.2%19430.8%
Imprisonment: less than 12 months13620.7%99523.0%1,34017.6%614.6%6319.4%8112.9%
Imprisonment: 12 months to less than 4 years294.4%4309.9%5377.0%12.4%113.4%142.2%
Imprisonment: 4 years and over00.0%491.1%1341.8%00.0%20.6%30.5%
Imprisonment: all sentence lengths16525.1%1,47434.1%2,01126.4%717.1%7623.5%9815.6%
Other sentence324.9%811.9%1932.5%00.0%992.8%325.1%
Total657100.0%4,323100.0%7,619100.0%41100.0%324100.0%630100.0%
Time since the last previous conviction and most recent conviction:
Less than 3 months26540.3%1,15126.6%1,26116.6%1536.6%10231.5%13721.7%
3 months or more, but less than 6 months8412.8%3879.0%4085.4%512.2%3410.5%477.5%
6 months or more, but less than 9 months15423.4%73016.9%91712.0%1126.8%6520.1%8413.3%
9 months or more, but less than 12 months10115.4%84019.4%1,02613.5%717.1%6018.5%10616.8%
12 months or more, but less than 18 months365.5%49711.5%82210.8%37.3%278.3%7612.1%
18 months or more, but less than 24 months121.8%3057.1%5667.4%00.0%144.3%375.9%
24 months or more50.8%4139.6%2,61934.4%00.0%226.8%14322.7%
Total657100.0%4,323100.0%7,619100.0%41100.0%324100.0%630100.0%

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