Previous Section Index Home Page


28 Oct 2002 : Column 617W—continued

Asylum Seekers

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers were arrested in 2002. [75649]

Beverley Hughes: Information is not collected centrally on the nationality of the immigration status of persons arrested.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been directed to (a) Hampshire, (b) Portsmouth and (c) Southampton; and if he will make a statement. [76507]

Beverley Hughes: As at the end of June 2002, 690 1 asylum seekers (including dependants) were being supported in National Asylum Support Service (NASS) accommodation in Hampshire, of which 250 1 were being supported in Portsmouth and 440 1 in Southampton.

Statistics on the number of asylum seekers supported by NASS in each region are available on the Home Office's Immigration and Asylum Statistics website http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

28 Oct 2002 : Column 618W


Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of those who sought asylum in the United Kingdom in 2001 (a) entered the country on valid travel documents and claimed asylum immediately, (b) entered the country on valid travel documents and claimed asylum after any permission to stay expired and (c) entered the country illegally. [76626]

Beverley Hughes: I regret that the information requested is not available. In 2001, 65 per cent. of applications for asylum were made in-country and 35 per cent. were made at port.

The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees recognised that people trying to escape persecution often relied upon the use of false documents and unusual means of travel. Article 31 of the Convention provides that refugees should not have any penalties imposed upon them as a consequence of entering the country of refuge illegally in order to seek sanctuary, provided that they travel to that country directly from their own country, present themselves to the domestic authorities without delay and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.

Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. The next publication will be available from 29 November 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are being supported by the national asylum support service; and of these how many have dependent children. [76916]

Beverley Hughes: [holding answer 24 October 2002]: As at the end of June 2002, the national asylum support service (NASS) was supporting 59,660 1 asylum seekers (excluding dependants) of which 10,650 1 had at least one dependant.

The number of asylum seekers supported by NASS who have children among their dependants is not available.

Statistics on the number of asylum seekers supported by NASS are available on the Home Office's Immigration and Asylum Statistics website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.



Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the asylum seekers who are supported by the national asylum support service made in-country applications for asylum. [76917]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 24 October 2002]: The information requested is not available.

The only available statistics are on the percentage of asylum applications which were made in-country. In 2001, 65 per cent of asylum applications were made in-country.

28 Oct 2002 : Column 619W

Asylum Seekers (Lichfield)

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Department has to open a camp for asylum seekers in Lichfield District. [77560]

Beverley Hughes: Site searching has continued, as we said it would when we announced our shortlist for Accommodation Centre sites on 14 May. However, we will not be putting into the public domain details of such sites unless and until they are considered to be a serious prospect for the siting of an accommodation centre.

Charity Commission

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many charities were removed from the list of those registered by the Charity Commission in the last year for which information is available. [75341]

Beverley Hughes: 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 the hon. Member, and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Chelmsford Prison

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many cells there are in Chelmsford Prison; how many are (a) single occupancy cells and (b) two person occupancy cells; how many prisoners are currently occupying single cells on their own; and how many are sharing a single cell with (i) one and (ii) two or more persons; [75569]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 22 October 2002]: The operational capacity of Chelmsford prison is 576. The number of prisoners held there on 18 October 2002 was 576.

There are 430 cells at Chelmsford prison of which 419 are certified single cells, 10 are double cells and one is a triple cell. 285 of the certified single cells have single occupancy and the remaining 134 are doubled. There are currently no cells at Chelmsford which hold three prisoners.

Child Prostitution

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with (a) his European counterparts and (b) senior police officers regarding tackling child prostitution; what proposals were examined; and if he will make a statement. [75113]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Discussions with European colleagues about the problem of child prostitution have been largely in the context of negotiations over a Draft European Union Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. This will require member states to criminalise particular aspects of the sexual exploitation

28 Oct 2002 : Column 620W

of children aged up to 18, including those involved in prostitution. The UK fully supports this framework decision as a significant step to increase protection for children throughout Europe. We hope it will be agreed shortly.

Strengthening our laws to meet the requirements of the framework decision will form part of our plans to reform the framework of laws dealing with sexual offences on which we will be publishing a paper later this autumn. This follows on from XSetting the Boundaries", the report of the Review of Sex Offences published in July 2000, which made a number of recommendations to strengthen the law, including providing better legal safeguards against those who seek to exploit children in prostitution.

We also issued in May 2000 guidance to the police and other agencies on XSafeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution", which highlighted the importance of children involved in prostitution being treated primarily as abused children. This followed discussions with representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the other agencies concerned.

Moreover, we have been supporting under the Crime Reduction Programme a number of local projects aimed at evaluating best practice in dealing with prostitution, including how best to help young people leave behind their involvement in prostitution. All these projects are supported or led by the police and involve local agencies working together to find practical solutions. The aim is to identify the most effective strategies so that these can be disseminated.

Child Protection (Internet)

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what measures he has taken and plans to take to alert parents to the dangers of paedophiles using the internet to target children. [75335]

Hilary Benn: The Government set up a Task Force on Child Protection on the internet in spring 2001.

A public awareness campaign was launched by the Home Office in December 2001, following discussion in the Task Force, to alert children of 14–16 and parents of younger children to the dangers presented by paedophiles using the internet, to deliver key safety messages, and to advise them of sources of information and support. The campaign used advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, radio, cinemas, satellite TV, and online. The key points were to make clear that someone a child meets on the internet may not be who they seem, and that children should not give out personal information online. This was well received and evaluation showed that it was successful in raising awareness of the key messages. We are now considering further activity to be carried out later this year.


Next Section Index Home Page