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Drug Co-ordinator Annual Report

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the next annual report by the drug co-ordinator will be published. [32110]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Following the election last year, responsibility for delivering the National Drugs Strategy transferred to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. The Home Office will publish a report on progress in the summer.

Child Prostitution

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines the Department issues to police forces on dealing with child prostitution and promoting relevant inter-agency protocols; and if he will make a statement. [32157]

Mr. Keith Bradley: The Government believe that children involved in prostitution are primarily the victims of abuse and that those adults who take advantage of them whether by pimping or by buying their sexual services, are child abusers.

We also believe that a multi-agency approach to this problem is needed, including local authority, educational establishments and Area Child Protection Committees as well as the police. We are committed to raising awareness and providing clear guidance to police forces and other relevant agencies.

The Home Office and the Department of Health published "Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution" in May 2000. This provided guidance on establishing a framework and a protocol for successful multi-agency working.

The guidance stresses that those under 18 who engage in prostitution are victims and ought to be treated as such. Wherever possible criminal justice action should be pursued against those who directly abuse children through prostitution or seek to exploit them commercially as prostitutes.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions for child abuse involved child or youth prostitution in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [32219]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Statistics for convictions for the last 12 months are not yet available.

More generally, statistics detailing prosecutions for offences related to child abuse do not indicate whether the child victim was commercially sexually exploited or not. The recommendations made by the Sex Offences Review to Government on reforming the law on sex offences were published in "Setting the Boundaries" in July 2000. One of the proposals was to create a new offence of commercial sexual exploitation of a child through prostitution or pornography. We are currently analysing more than 700 responses received during the consultation process.

Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people had been detained under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001

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by 28 January; how many have applied for bail (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully; and if he will make a statement. [32552]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 1 February 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 January 2002, Official Report, column 350W.

Appeals are proceeding in relation to each of those detained before the Special Immigration Appeal Commission. A directions hearing was held on 28 January and a substantive hearing will be set in due course.

Intrusive Surveillance

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many covert surveillance operations were authorised in each year from 1999 to date under (a) the Police Act 1997 and (b) the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. [32635]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 4 February 2002]: I refer to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 1093W. In addition the Prison Service Agency has carried out seven intrusive surveillance operation since 22 March 2001. The intelligence services have carried out a number of intrusive surveillance operations or investigations: I do not intend to comment further on these.

No other records are centrally held of the number of non-intrusive covert surveillance operations authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Burglaries (Telford)

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many recorded burglaries have taken place in Telford in each year since 1992. [32585]

Mr. Denham: Information on numbers of certain offences has been collected centrally at police Basic Command Unit (BCU), and Crime and Disorder Reduction partnership level, since 1 April 1999. The Home Office statistical bulletin "Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to March 2001", published on 19 July 2001, shows that in the Telford BCU there were 1,507 burglaries in a dwelling in the year ending March 2000, and 1,065 such offences in the year ending March 2001, a decrease of 29 per cent.

Fear of Crime

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has commissioned into fear of crime among older people; how actual crime levels compare to perceptions of crime; and what measures his Department is taking to tackle (a) the perception and (b) the reality. [32623]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 4 February 2002]: The Home Office is in the process of carrying out a research study on how crime and fear of crime affects older people. The findings of this study will be published in due course and will cover prevalence of crime against older people, the reporting of such crime to the police, and repeat victimisation. It will also examine how fear of crime

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among older people is affected by the area in which they live, by past experiences and by other characteristics and their perceptions of the police and criminal justice system.

The Home Office Public Service Agreement (PSA) fear of crime target relates specifically to fear of violent crime, burglary and vehicle crime—the categories of crime which are of most concern to the public as measured by the British Crime Survey (BCS). The BCS shows that perceptions of crime do not necessarily follow actual trends in crime. This is particularly the case for older people where the percentage of people who feel it is very or fairly likely that they will be a victim of crime within the next year is significantly higher than the number who actually do become victims.

A communication strategy is being developed to address this misperception, with key themes identified by research and targeted at geographical areas where fear of crime is greatest and groups of people who fear crime the most.

The assurance agenda within the police reform programme can also be expected to increase feelings of public safety while the Home Office's Reducing Burglary Initiative includes a number of programmes which will target burglary against the elderly in particular.

Police

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if police officers in Scotland receive a housing allowance. [33120]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 4 February 2002]: This is a devolved matter for Scottish Ministers.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 16 January 2002, Official Report, columns 355–56W, on Brixton police, which London police stations were not accepting reports of minor crime over the telephone (a) at times during 2001 and (b) between 24 December 2001 and 11 January 2002. [31338]

Mr. Denham: I understand that the information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Extremist Religious Groups

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has collated on levels of recruitment to extremist religious groups; and if he will make a statement. [31342]

Mr. Blunkett: The police and the Security Service are aware of the activities of individuals connected with extremist religious groups and the police continue to monitor their statements for any evidence of offences being committed. Particular attention is given to the possibility of any offences under Part III of the Public Order Act 1986 which deals with incitement to racial hatred and other legislation relating to racial hatred.

The police and the Security Service take all threats seriously and attach a high priority to monitoring and countering any possible activities in the country by foreign extremists. Any credible information is fully

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investigated. An investigation which yields evidence that an organisation or individuals are supporting terrorism will result in the appropriate action being taken.

Sex Offenders

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for voluntary chemical castration of habitual sex offenders. [26924]

Beverley Hughes: At any one time a small number of sex offenders will be being treated with antilibidinal drugs in prison. Research has shown these drugs to be effective only where libido is an important contributor to a person's offending behaviour. The majority of sex offenders, who act from feelings of rage, power or violence, would not be expected to benefit from this form of treatment.

Treatment with antilibidinal drugs in prison is initiated only after assessment by, and on the recommendation of, a consultant psychiatrist specialising in the treatment of sex offenders, taking account of the nature of the particular individual's sex offending and whether the likely benefits of treatment outweighed the risks and side effects. Treatment would only go ahead with the informed consent of the prisoner concerned. The specialist would also be expected to advise on arrangements for the continuation of treatment on the prisoner's release, as the drugs need to be taken regularly to maintain their effect.

The national health service has commissioned a study of the feasibility of undertaking further research on the effectiveness of a different group of drugs in the management of sex offenders in both prison and the community.


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