Previous Section Index Home Page


21 Oct 2002 : Column 95W—continued

Mandatory Sentences

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were given a mandatory sentence for (a) domestic burglary and (b) drug dealing in 2001. [74717]

Hilary Benn: Statistics for 2001 will be available in December.

However, information held centrally on the Home Office Court Proceedings Database, relating to England and Wales, shows that in 2000 no mandatory sentences for domestic burglary were passed but that two mandatory sentences were passed for drug trafficking.

Correspondence

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to reply to the letter of 2 May to the former Immigration Minister from the hon. Member for Aylesbury on behalf of Mr. D. C. about Miss S. A. (reference PO 9135/2). [74911]

Beverley Hughes: I wrote to the hon. Member on 21 October. I am sorry he did not receive an earlier reply.

Hospitals (Charitable Status)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for altering the charitable status of hospitals and other medical facilities outside the NHS. [75693]

Beverley Hughes: The Strategy Unit report ''Private Action, Public Benefit'', published on 25 September 2002, recommends to Government that charitable status be redefined in a way that includes the advancement of health as a charitable purpose.

None of the objects currently recognised as charitable would be excluded in the new definition. The Government is currently consulting on the proposals.

Work Permits

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have applied for work permits in Scotland in the last 12 months. [73678]

Beverley Hughes: Information is not recorded onto the system by employer location therefore details regarding the number of work permits issued for Scotland cannot be extrapolated.

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for work permits have been rejected in the last 12 months. [73679]

21 Oct 2002 : Column 96W

Beverley Hughes: In the last 12 months to date (16 October 2001–15 October 2002) 14,063 work permit applications have been refused. This is 10.6 per cent. of the total number of applications in that period.

Personal Data

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to personal data linked to fingerprints or DNA stored on national police computers, whether the personal data are marked to identify those personal data which are associated with individuals who are not criminals or who are not suspected of any criminality; and if he will make a statement concerning compliance with the Third and Fifth Data Protection Principles in relation to these personal data. [74484]

Mr. Denham: The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 allows for the retention of all fingerprints and DNA samples taken on suspicion of involvement in a criminal offence. These may be used only for the purposes of prevention and detection of crime, the investigation of an offence or the conduct of a prosecution.

The legislation has been challenged in the courts under the European Convention of Human Rights. On 12 September 2002 the legislation was ruled in the Court of Appeal to have not contravened the Convention. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Home Office have been looking at how the police can best use the opportunities provided by the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. A revision of the rules governing the weeding of records from the Police National Computer is being examined in parallel with consideration of the best way to retain data on fingerprints and DNA from individuals who have been acquitted. The Information Commissioner's Office is being fully consulted on this exercise.

The DNA profiles of individuals who have had samples taken lawfully under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, but against whom the prosecution was not proceeded with or who were subsequently acquitted by the courts, can be identified on the National DNA Database. DNA samples are retained and used solely for the purposes of prevention and detection of crime, the investigation of an offence or the conduct of a prosecution and such use does not contravene data protection legislation. Currently the fingerprints of persons who are acquitted or against whom charges have not been proceeded with are weeded from the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) system. Once the acquittal/not proceeded with information is put on the Police National Computer a message is sent to NAFIS and the fingerprint record deleted. In light of the changes in the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, further proposals are under consideration in relation to the system to allow for the retention of fingerprints on NAFIS in such cases.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances a police officer can take (a) fingerprints and (b) DNA samples from those stopped for motoring offences. [74586]

21 Oct 2002 : Column 97W

Mr. Denham: Whether the police can take fingerprints or samples in relation to an alleged motoring offence will depend on the specific circumstances.

Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), fingerprints or samples can only be taken with the consent of a suspect detained at a police station unless specific provisions apply.

Fingerprints can be taken without consent with the authority of an officer of at least superintendent rank who has reasonable grounds for suspecting the involvement of the person in a criminal offence and for believing that the fingerprints will tend to confirm or disprove his involvement or will facilitate ascertaining his identity; from a person who has been charged with a recordable offence or informed that he will be reported for such an offence and has not previously had his fingerprints taken in relation to that offence; or from a person convicted of a recordable offence.

Non-intimate samples can be taken without consent with the authority of an officer of at least superintendent rank who has reasonable grounds for suspecting the involvement of the person in a recordable offence and for believing that the sample will tend to confirm or disprove his involvement; from a person who has been charged with a recordable offence or informed that he will be reported for such an offence and either has not had a sample taken from him in the course of the investigation of the offence or has had a sample taken which was either unsuitable for analysis or insufficient; or from a person convicted of a recordable offence.

Asylum

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum were received at Stranraer port during each of the past five years. [73795]

Beverley Hughes: The figures are not available for all of the period in question.

The number of new asylum applications lodged at Stranraer is as follows:

1 January—31 December 200010
1 January—31 December 200136
1 January—12 October 2002127

These figures may be subject to revision.


Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities for processing asylum applications are available at Stranraer port. [73794]

Beverley Hughes: Passenger traffic at Stranraer is within the Common Travel Area between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, it is not designated as a Port of Entry within the provisions of the Immigration Acts. Immigration Service staff operate at Stranraer in support of Police controls operated by Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary, from whom suspected immigration offenders are referred. Any person who claims asylum during such enquiries is initially processed by the Immigration Service within police accommodation at Stranraer Police Station. Such

21 Oct 2002 : Column 98W

persons may then be granted temporary release or transferred to Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre pending resolution of their asylum applications.

Drug Dealers, Brixton

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the number of drug dealers in the London Borough of Brixton in (a) 1999, (b) 2000, (c) 2001 and (d) 22002. [73884]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is not available.

Distraction Burglaries

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much he spent last year on public awareness campaigns about distraction burglaries. [73922]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 15 October 2002]: #664,000 was spent in 2001–02 by the Home Office Distraction Burglary Taskforce on activities to raise awareness of distraction burglary. The activities included producing publicity and educational materials such as a Good Practice Toolkit, videos for use with members of the public and for practitioners, a leaflet for householders, newsletters and other promotional materials and equipment.

In addition, between November 2001 and March 2002 the Task Force held a series of 11 regional seminars on distraction burglary, which received substantial press coverage.

We have also provided funding for projects targeting distraction burglary in Sheffield (#288,000 by March 2002) and Leeds (#554,000 by March 2003), which involved substantial elements of publicity and education of vulnerable groups.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many distraction burglaries took place last year; and what steps he is taking to inform elderly, disabled and infirm people about bogus house-callers. [73924]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 15 October 2002]: There is no separate recordable offence category of distraction burglary. However, the figures we have received from police forces indicate that some 19,500 offences were recorded as distraction burglaries in 2001–02.

We set up the Distraction Burglary Taskforce in 2000 with #1 million funding to tackle the problem. Its membership is drawn from a wide range of organisations involved in different ways with older adults and other vulnerable groups, including the police, utility companies, local authorities and voluntary bodies.

Amongst other things, the Taskforce has produced a Good Practice Toolkit, which is available on the Crime Reduction Website (www.crimereduction.gov.uk/burglary48.htm), and is being distributed to key practitioners. It has also produced two videos and a leaflet on distraction burglary, together with posters and door stickers. The Taskforce held a series of regional seminars on distraction burglary between October 2001

21 Oct 2002 : Column 99W

and March 2002. These were attended by representatives of a wide range of organisations with an interest in the needs of older adults.

We have also funded a two-year programme to provide home security upgrades such as better door locks, window locks, door chains and spy-holes for low income pensioners in areas with burglary rates above the national average. Over 55,000 homes have received up-grades together with advice on home security. The scheme has been run in conjunction with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA's) Warm Front scheme, which provides heating and insulation improvements.


Next Section Index Home Page