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19 Sept 2002 : Column 73W—continued


Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether seized ecstasy tablets are tested to see whether they are cut with other illegal drugs. [71854]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Ecstasy can, and does kill unpredictably. There is no such thing as a safe dose and Ecstasy does not need to be contaminated with any other drug to kill.

Seized ecstasy tablets (MDMA) are tested for the presence of other illegal drugs by the Forensic Science Service (FSS). The analytical methods employed by the FSS to test ecstasy tablets identify a range of other controlled substances, such as other ecstasy type drugs; opiates such as heroin and codeine; cocaine; amphetamines and methylamphetamine; diazepam; cannabis and methadone. The test will identify material down to a concentration of one per cent. or less.

In the case of a suspected ecstasy related fatality, the FSS would screen for, and if present, quantify the ecstasy in the deceased's blood. The FSS would also screen for other common controlled substances, such as the types listed above.

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Criminal Justice and Police Act

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to amend the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 with regard to the powers of the police to confiscate alcohol in sealed containers. [72099]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 provides the police with new powers to confiscate alcohol from persons who are drinking in areas that have been designated by the relevant local authority under section 13 of the Act. The Act also amended existing powers to confiscate alcohol from under-age drinkers in public places. In both instances it is now clear that the police can confiscate alcohol in containers that have been opened, but not alcohol in sealed containers.

We have discussed the current position with the Association of Chief Police Officers and we have asked them for advice on whether a further change in the law would be helpful, to clarify or strengthen police powers to confiscate alcohol, including alcohol in sealed containers, from under-age drinkers or from persons who are drinking

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and causing nuisance in designated areas. We shall seek to introduce any change in the law as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Drug-related Crime

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of (a) the number of (i) crimes and (ii) violent crimes committed per annum in the UK to finance the purchase of illegal drugs and (b) the total value of the goods and money stolen per annum in the UK to finance the purchase of illegal drugs. [72655]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Recorded crime figures include statistics on drugs offences and on acquisitive crimes, such as burglary, but do not record whether the latter are related to an offender's drug habits. Levels of drug-related crime cannot be measured directly as no routine statistical data are collected on whether an offence may have been committed as a result of drug taking. However, the NEW-ADAM (New English and Welsh Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring) research published between 1998 and 2001 sheds some light on the links between drugs and acquisitive crime. The research is insufficiently advanced, however, to reveal the precise links between drugs and violent crime. Neither are we able to supply an estimate of the total value of the goods and money stolen per annum in the United Kingdom to finance the purchase of illegal drugs.

NEW-ADAM research by Bennett reported in Home Office Research Study 205, "Drugs and Crime: The Results of the Second Developmental Stage of the NEW-ADAM Programme" and in Research Findings 148 and 183 has shown that the mean number of property crimes committed by those using heroin and cocaine/crack was around 200 in the last 12 months compared to 52 for those using neither heroin nor crack/cocaine. Over forty per cent. of arrestees thought that their drug use and crime were connected, and when asked about this connection, more than two-thirds said that this was due to the need for money to buy drugs. Those who tested positive for three or more drugs reported on average three times the

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number of offences and eight times the illegal income, as those who did not test positive. They also reported twice as many arrests in the last twelve months.

Findings reported in "Arrest Referral: Emerging Findings from the National Monitoring and Evaluation Programme" (Home Office: Sondhi, O'Shea, Williams, 2002) were used to estimate that the total spend on illegal drugs by those seen by Arrest Referral workers as around £550 million (or around £11,000 for an individual), although not all of this figure will be directly attributable to crime. The NEW-ADAM research has also found that in the year 1999–2000, on average arrestees reported generating just over £5,000 in illegal income, the most common source of which was property crime.


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drivers were fined and how much was paid in fines for speeding in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2001; and how many police man hours were used to catch drivers who were guilty of speeding in (A) England, (B) Wales and (C) Northern Ireland in each year. [72172]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The table shows the total number and amount (£) of fines ordered to be paid following conviction for speeding offences within England and Wales separately for 2000. As the majority of such offences are dealt with by the issue of a fixed penalty, the table also shows the total amount of fixed penalties ordered to be paid. Not all fines and fixed penalties will have been paid. Information for 2001 will be available in the Autumn.

The total police time in England spent on traffic is eight per cent. We cannot break this figure down into time spent on speeding offences without a specific data gathering exercise which would be both time consuming and could only be collected at disproportionate cost.

Information relating to Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Fines and fixed penalties data for speeding offences, England and Wales, 2000

Court ProceedingsFixed Penalties
Number of FinesTotal Amount of Fine (£)Average FineNumber of TicketsEstimated Revenue (£) 1

1 "Estimate" based on the following fixed penalty charges—£40 up to 31 October 2000 and £60 as from 1 November 2000.

Operation Landmark

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on Operation Landmark and what resources are being put into it. [72524]

Mr. Denham: Operation Landmark was an international police operation led by the National Crime Squad to combat paedophile activity on the Internet, focusing on open source data in newsgroups hosted by a British-based Internet Service Provider in November 2001.

By prioritising the email accounts of the most active individuals in the newsgroups, 130 targets were identified around the world. The National Crime Squad produced evidential packs on the targets and briefed officers from the relevant national and domestic police forces. Detailed investigations were then launched against each target; in the United Kingdom each of the ten targets were arrested and subsequently charged and their computer equipment seized. Eleven child victims have been identified as a result of the operation so far. The operation involved the National Crime Squad, Interpol, nine United Kingdom police forces and 12 other international police forces.

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Other recent operations against paedophile use of the Internet have had good results at home and internationally. These have involved United Kingdom police forces, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the National Crime Squad and the new National High Tech Crime Unit within it.

Police Stations (Telephone Response)

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average answering time is for someone ringing a police station directly in (a) Surrey, (b) England and (c) Wales. [72404]

Mr. Denham: Information on the average answering time for someone telephoning a police station is not collected centrally.

Asylum Seekers (Afghanistan)

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers from Afghanistan have been repatriated in each of the last 12 months. [73220]

Beverley Hughes: The latest available information on the number of Afghan principal asylum applicants removed from the United Kingdom relates to 2001 and is given in the table. These figures exclude persons departing voluntarily without informing the Home Office.

Afghan principal asylum applicants removed 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
January 200110
February 2001*
March 20015
April 20015
May 20015
June 2001*
July 20015
August 200120
September 20015
October 200115
November 200120
December 200130

Figures rounded to the nearest 5, with * = 1 or 2.

1 Provisional data, subject to change.

2 Data have been estimated due to data quality issues.

3 Includes persons departing "voluntarily" after enforcement action had been initiated against them.

4 Nationality breakdown of dependants removed is not available.

I regret that information on the destination of asylum seekers removed or departing voluntarily from the United Kingdom is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only by examining individual case files at disproportionate cost. Therefore it is not possible to determine how many of these persons were returned or departed voluntarily to Afghanistan. However, it has until recently been our policy to not normally enforce returns to Afghanistan, so the majority of those recorded above will have been returned to another (third) country rather than to Afghanistan.

Information on the nationality of asylum seekers removed in the calendar year 2001 was published on 31 July in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin "Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2001", copies of which are available in the Library and via the Home Office

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Research, Development and Statistics Directorate (RDS) website at uk/rds/immigration1.html. Nationality data for the first quarter (January to March) of 2002 will be published on 30 August on the RDS website.

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