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Assisted Prison Visits

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether eligibility for the Assisted Prison Visits scheme includes the travel costs of foreign nationals to visit relatives held in prison in the United Kingdom from overseas. [28367]

Beverley Hughes: Applicants for assistance under the Assisted Prison Visits scheme for England and Wales are required to demonstrate that they meet the scheme's low income criterion. Relatives who are living overseas will not meet the criterion as this is based on United Kingdom awards. These are income support and job seeker's allowance (income based); a health certificate two or three issued by the Department of Health; working families tax credit or disabled person's tax credit where the amount of credit withdrawn is £70 or less.

Regulatory Impact Unit

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members his Department employs in its Regulatory Impact Unit; and if he will make a statement. [42935]

Angela Eagle: Home Office departmental responsibility for regulatory impacts is located in the Performance, Delivery and Strategy Unit which employs one person to co-ordinate the work on regulatory impacts across the Department.

He works closely with the officials responsible for developing policies within the Home Office and with the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit.

Sex Offenders

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional resources are made available to receiving authorities for known sex offenders who are allocated to areas other than those of their known offending. [42191]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Sex offenders are subject to statutory supervision by the National Probation Service until any supervision period

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expires. In some cases the length of sentence or the provisions of earlier legislation mean that a period of supervision in the community does not apply.

Statutory supervision enables the National Probation Service to exercise a control over the location of an offender. The needs and wishes of the victim and/or the requirements of specialist accommodation may lead to a placement out of area which will be negotiated with the receiving area.

In all circumstances, under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, the police and probation services have a joint responsibility to assess risk and to formulate a management plan for those who pose a high risk of harm. This is discharged through multi-agency public protection panels (MAPPPs).

A convicted sex offender not or no longer subject to supervision is free to choose his location but in most cases will be subject to the requirements of the Sex Offender Act 1997. This means he will be required to register his home address with the police, and notify them of any change. The police will make every effort to monitor the whereabouts of those assessed as very high risk and to notify the receiving police area of the offender's movement. Where the police and other agencies have concerns about the offender's behaviour, they may apply for a sex offender order, restraining him from specified activities on pain of imprisonment.

General budgets for police and probation include provision for risk management activities; funds do not normally follow specific offenders.

The Government will be bringing forward proposals to strengthen further the protection afforded from sex offenders. The Halliday report on the structure of the sentencing framework includes proposals for a new special sentence for sexual and violent offenders that will bring increased supervision. We are also looking to strengthen the MAPPP process, including by bringing in a lay element at an appropriate level.


Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many eviction notices against groups of travellers have been served in each of the last five years; what assessment he has made of the proportion of evictions that have arisen from real and sustained nuisance; what representations on this subject he has received; and if he will make a statement. [41101]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 18 March 2002]: Figures for the number of eviction notices served on travellers are not collated centrally.

The Home Office receives representations regularly on issues relating to travellers, particularly about unauthorised camping and disorder. We continue to keep the current powers to deal with problems associated with unauthorised encampments under review.

Agricultural Workers

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the review of the seasonal agricultural workers' scheme will take into account Cornish agricultural workers. [41808]

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Angela Eagle: The White Paper, 'Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain', explains current routes of entry to the United Kingdom for work purposes and our proposals to augment and complement these routes in the light of the United Kingdom's economic needs.

In reviewing the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' scheme to see how it may better meet the needs of the agricultural sector, account will certainly be taken of the availability and skills of, and employment opportunities for, the existing workforce.

Road Accidents

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many road accidents involved police investigations which led to criminal proceedings in each of the last five years. [42183]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The police investigate every accident which they attend, and they attend in the vast majority of cases where there is some level of injury. There were 233,729 such accidents in 2000. The police also attend and investigate many accidents involving damage to vehicles or property where there is no injury to people. Information about these is not recorded centrally.

Records of proceedings for road traffic offences do not describe the circumstances in which the offences were committed. It is therefore not possible to identify separately those proceedings which resulted from the investigation of an accident.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice his Department has given to police authorities in the last two years in relation to the nature of investigations into road accidents resulting in serious injury or death. [40785]

Mr. Denham: The Association of Chief Police Officers issued a manual of guidance to all forces in November 2001 recommending best practice in the investigation of fatal crashes, so as to promote a consistent approach across forces. The manual reflects the need to investigate road deaths so as to serve the needs of justice and to provide support for victims fairly, impartially and without prejudice. So far, trainers from about two thirds of police forces have taken part in training related to the guidance manual.


Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers the proposed authority set up to control wheelclamping on private land will have under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to control the towing away of vehicles parked on private land. [11218]

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Mr. Denham: Wheelclamping is one of the activities to be regulated by the provisions of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. These activities are, however, limited to the immobilisation of a vehicle by the attachment of an immobilising device, and do not extend to the towing away of motor vehicles. The Security Industry Authority established by the Act will not, therefore, have any powers in this area. The Government are currently considering whether any action is required to deal with this issue.

Criminal Justice and Police Act

Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought under section 24(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 paragraph (g) as amended by section 71 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. [39806]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Prosecutions are not brought under these statutes.

Section 24(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act sets out those offences for which powers of arrest without warrant apply, and section 71 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 simply adds two further offences to this section. They are kerb crawling and failure to stop and report an accident (in which personal injury is caused).

There were 812 persons proceeded against for kerb crawling in England and Wales in 2000, 6,165 persons for failing to stop after an accident and 1,907 for failing to report an accident within 24 hours. In the case of the latter figures, it is not known centrally, however, whether the offences involved personal injury or only damage to a vehicle, an animal or other property.

"Policing A New Century"

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what responses have been received to "Policing a New Century". [45000]

Mr. Denham: I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a report which summaries the responses to the White Paper. Copies of the responses from organisations had already been placed in the Library in time for the Committee stage of the Police Reform Bill.

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