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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions in 2001 attempts were made to gain unauthorised access to computers in his Department by hacking; and of those how many were successful. [32739]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 4 February 2002]: No cases of computer hacking were detected in 2001.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have finished their basic training course and are waiting a start date; and if he will make a statement. [33588]

Mr. Denham: I understand that no police officers who have completed their basic training course are kept waiting for a date to return to their force.

Lost/stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those items valued at less than £50 each which have been stolen or lost from his Department in each of the last four years. [34211]

Angela Eagle: The following items valued at less than £50 each have been reported as lost or stolen from the Home Department in the last four years.

Home Office—items valued at less than £50 each which have been reported stolen or lost

HMPS—Fraudulent obtaining of medication£33.12
HMPS—Theft of prisoners music cassettes£9.00
HMPS—Dressing gown missing£25.00
HMPS—Watch missing from property£15.00
HMPS—Theft of prisoners property from cell£12.32
Stolen magazine£3.30
HMPS—Stolen phonecard£5.00
HMPS—Canteen bag went missing, later found empty with phone cards missing£16.00
HMPS—Inmate's canteen stolen£14.80
HMPS—Theft of cash£40.00
Use of Agency Fuel card to obtain petrol£40.00
HMPS—Missing telephone/answer machine Cleland House£25.00
Computer memory stolen£30.00
Computer mouse missing£22.00
Keyboard and mouse missing£40.00

12 Feb 2002 : Column 310W

Spouses (Permanent Residence Applications)

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken to process permanent residence applications for spouses of UK residents is; and what the average time is in each quarter since January 1997. [33970]

Angela Eagle: I regret that there are no published data on decision times for individual types of settlement applications. Our aim is to decide all straightforward applications within three weeks. Due to the exceptionally high number of applications received in 2001, especially in recent months, and process changes which are being introduced to improve our longer term performance, it is at present taking up to seven weeks to decide an application. We are working to reduce this to three weeks as soon as possible.

Policy Checklist

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place a copy of his Department's policy checklist in the Library; and what status this checklist has in the decision making process of the Department. [33632]

Angela Eagle: I am placing a copy of the policy development checklist in the Library. The checklist is available to Home Office staff on the Department's intranet site and aims to promote good practice and offer practical advice on how best to develop and deliver policy successfully.

Fundamentalist Audio Tapes

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will take steps to prevent the further sale, distribution and copying of the audio tapes, 'No peace with the Jews', 'History repeats itself' and 'Jihad'; and if he will make a statement; [34065]

Angela Eagle: It is an offence under Part III of the Public Order Act 1986 to incite racial hatred, including through the distribution, showing or playing of recorded material which is threatening, abusive or insulting and intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. Part III also includes a power of forfeiture of written or recorded material where a person has been convicted of an offence of inciting racial hatred.

In the first instance it is the responsibility of the police to decide whether there are sufficient grounds to launch a criminal investigation and that of the Crown Prosecution

12 Feb 2002 : Column 311W

Service to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution. The Metropolitan police are investigating the allegations regarding these audiotapes.

Victim Support

Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy on the victim support network; and if he will encourage local authorities to assist the scheme financially and provide further financial assistance to the service. [33751]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Since 1997 we have more than doubled the Home Office grant to Victim Support, to £25 million per annum. This has enabled them to develop and extend the work done by their existing community based schemes and to replicate in magistrates courts the excellent witness support service already provided at all Crown court centres.

It is for local authorities to decide what their spending priorities are and whether and to what extent they feel able to fund the Victim Support schemes in their area.

Asylum Seekers (Kosovo)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the number of people from Kosovo who are claiming political asylum in the United Kingdom. [34038]

Angela Eagle: I regret that it is not possible to identify separately Kosovars within the available statistics for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). FRY is comprised of Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro but the majority of FRY applications are thought to be from Kosovars.

Information on the number of applications for asylum lodged by nationals of FRY between January 1996 and September 2001 is shown in the table.

Applications(45),(46) received for asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) from nationals of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), excluding dependants, January 1996 to September 2001

January—September 2001(47)2,330

(45) Figures rounded to the nearest five.

(46) May exclude some cases lodged at Local Enforcement Offices between January 1999 and March 2000.

(47) Provisional figures.

The number of asylum applications from nationals of FRY which are currently awaiting initial decision on their asylum applications, and the number awaiting the outcome of appeal determinations, is not available, and would be available only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case files. Information on asylum applications and initial decisions is published quarterly. The next publication will present data for the final quarter of 2001, and will be available from 28 February 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at immigration1.html

12 Feb 2002 : Column 312W

Voluntary Sports Clubs

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many voluntary sports clubs are registered with the Charity Commission, broken down by nation and region of the United Kingdom. [34341]

Angela Eagle: This is a matter for the Charity Commission, as the Government Department that registers charities in England and Wales. The chief Charity Commissioner will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Unlicensed Vehicles

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he gives to police forces on the prosecution of individuals who fail to pay road fund licence. [25138]

Mr. Denham: Responsibility for taking action in possible cases of Vehicle Excise Duty evasion lies with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The role of the police is mainly limited to notifying the DVLA of suspected untaxed vehicles which have been seen either parked or driven on public roads. Police and traffic wardens undertake such detection and reporting as part of their day to day duties. During 2000–01 the police and traffic wardens sent over 1.5 million VED offence reports to the DVLA. DVLA in turn took successful action against 727,000 evaders, resulting in the recovery of £85 million.

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