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Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total annual cost is of the contract with Capita Services for the operation of the Criminal Records Bureau. [21702]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 10 December 2001]: Payments are linked to the volume of disclosures processed, which are expected to increase significantly over the first few years of the contract. The estimated value of the 10-year contract with Capita is £450 million.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost of establishing the Criminal Records Bureau in financial years (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [21704]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 10 December 2001]: The cost of establishing the Criminal Records Bureau for 2001–02 is estimated to be £14 million. In 2002–03, we estimate that it will cost £1 million to complete the setting up of the Bureau.

Visas

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of visitors on a one-year student visa travelled to other parts of the European Union during the course of visa validating in the last 12 months. [23668]

Angela Eagle: I regret that the information requested is not available.

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Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 76W, on Pakistani nationals, how many Pakistani nationals holding UK visas have been refused entry to the UK since 11 September at Birmingham airport. [10719]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 6 November 2001]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 76W, to her earlier question about refusals of Pakistani nationals and to my letter of 31 October 2001 responding to her subsequent representations.

Information on the number of Pakistani nationals refused leave to enter during 2001 are due to be published in the Command Paper "Control of Immigration Statistics United Kingdom 2001" by the end of 2002.

All nationals of Pakistan are required to obtain entry clearance. The majority of refusals in 2000 were the result of not having the correct entry clearance. Visas issued since 2 October 2000 confer leave to enter the United Kingdom upon the holder and a passenger with a visa as leave to enter will not normally require further examination. The immigration rules allow persons holding visas to be refused only in exceptional circumstances.

Game Licences

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of prosecutions there were in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available for shooting game without a game licence. [22398]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 17 December 2001]: Shooting game without a game licence is an offence under Section 23 of the Game Act 1831. The number of defendants prosecuted for shooting game without a game licence cannot be separately identified, in information held centrally on the Home Office's Court Proceedings Database, from the number of defendants prosecuted for the offences of killing or taking of game without a licence by other means, laying poison to destroy game, taking or destroying eggs of game, killing game on Sunday or Christmas Day, killing game out of season and the occupier of land killing game without authority. Data showing the number of defendants prosecuted for all these offences during the years 1991–2000 are given in the table.

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for killing game without a licence(70) England and Wales, 1991–2000

Total number proceeded against
199150
199238
199373
199427
199519
199622
199721
199820
199925
2000(71)9

(70) Also includes the offences of laying poison to destroy game, taking or destroying eggs of game, etc., killing game on Sunday or Christmas Day, killing game out of season, and occupier of land killing game without authority.

(71) Staffordshire police force were able to submit only sample data for prosecutions at magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust at a detailed level and have been excluded from this table.

Note:

All data are given on a principal offence basis.


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Channel Tunnel

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has made to his French counterpart on security on rail freight using the channel tunnel. [23315]

Angela Eagle: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised the current severe disruption to rail freight services through the channel tunnel with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on 29 November. He had previously written to M. Jospin on this subject on 16 November.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is in regular contact with his French counterpart Daniel Vaillant about the channel tunnel and other immigration matters. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport has both written and spoken to M. Gayssot, the French Transport Minister, emphasising the need for a speedy resolution.

Home Office officials and those from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions are also in close contact with their French counterparts on a range of issues, including the security improvements required to allow the early resumption of full rail freight services. On 3 December, the head of security for SNCF informed the UK Immigration Service of their intention to speed up the improvements to anti-intrusion measures at the Frethun freight yard.

Prisoners

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to reduce the prison population. [23971]

Beverley Hughes: The Government believe that prison is right for dangerous, serious and some persistent offenders and that sentences should be as long as necessary for punishment and public protection, but no longer.

Home detention curfew plays an important role by enabling prisoners to be released from prison early, while still subject to restrictions placed on their liberty. This facilitates a smoother and more effective integration back into the community and helps offenders to secure or resume employment or training as soon as possible.

The Government believe that community punishments can make a major impact and support their increased use, particularly for some non-violent offenders such as those convicted of theft and handling, or fraud. The Government's reform of the probation service, with its focus on reducing re-offending, means that rigorously enforced community sentences are a real and tough alternative to imprisonment. Changes already introduced, for example the Drug Testing and Treatment Order and the ability of Courts to impose community punishment, rehabilitation orders and curfew orders as one sentence, should enable sentencers to consider a robust community sentence as an alternative to imprisonment.

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In the longer term the proposed sentencing reforms, including sentencing guidelines and new flexible sentences incorporating both custody and supervision, should have a significant impact. In this context the Government are also exploring the scope for innovative new sentences, such as intermittent custody, and for restorative justice interventions.

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average distance was from the committal court at the time of release for (a) male prisoners, (b) female prisoners and (c) young offenders in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [23902]

Beverley Hughes: Data are not available on the distance prisoners are held away from committal court at the time of release. However, data are collected periodically on the distance prisoners are currently held away from committal court. The latest figures, obtained on 30 September 2001 are set out in the table.

Miles

Population groupAverage distance prisoners are held away from committal court
Male prisoners(72)53
Female prisoners(72)63
Young offenders(73)50

(72) Including young offenders.

(73) Male and female, including juveniles.


Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many bail information schemes are in operation in women's prisons; and how many staff work in each of them. [23901]

Beverley Hughes: Each of the seven female establishments that hold remand prisoners operate a bail information scheme. They are required to have sufficient trained staff to provide all eligible prisoners with the facilities necessary to assist in their applications for bail. These duties may be shared between a number of staff. The number of staff involved in providing bail information at one time will vary according to the size of the remand population.


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