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Identity Cards

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government have not commissioned any opinion polls on identity cards. Sixty-five per cent. of the respondents to the previous government's 1995 Green Paper, Identity Cards: A consultation document, who

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expressed a view were in favour of some kind of identity card but there was no consensus about the purpose such a scheme would serve.

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the conclusion of the last examination by the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs of the introduction of a voluntary identity card scheme; and what was their response.[HL3400]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee last considered the case for a national identity card in 1996. The committee supported the proposal of the then government to introduce a voluntary identity card linked to the proposed photocard driving licence. This Government have reached no conclusions about the principle of a national identity card but are keeping the options for an identity card scheme under review.

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that a voluntary identification card scheme on a "must-show" basis would help in the curbing of social security fraud, drug dealing, criminal activity and terrorist activity.[HL3401]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government are keeping under review the options for a national identity card scheme but have so far reached no firm conclusions about their potential effectiveness in combating various types of crime.

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many letters they have received on the question of introducing an identity card scheme; how many were in favour and how many against. [HL3402]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Since May 1997 we have received 278 letters, including 87 from Members of Parliament, on the subject of identity cards. A total of 269 were in favour of some form of identity card scheme and nine were against.

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a voluntary or mandatory identity card scheme would help control the illegal immigrant problem and ease the congestion and backlog of passport enquiries.[HL3403]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have reached no firm conclusions about the extent to which an identity card scheme might help deal with illegal immigration, although it is worth making clear that there is no intention of reducing our reliance on frontier based immigration controls. Any decision to introduce identity cards would be for the longer term and so would not bear on the current temporary back-log of passport applications.

Young Offenders: Murder and Manslaughter Convictions

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many offenders respectively aged 10 to 13, 10 to 16 and 10 to 17 inclusive were found guilty of (a) murder and (b) manslaughter in each year from 1979 to 1998.[HL3418]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information for England and Wales and Scotland is given in the table.

Data for Northern Ireland are available only from 1993 to 1997. In this period, for those known to be aged between 10 and 17 inclusive, only one person in 1997 was convicted of manslaughter and nobody was convicted of murder.

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Number of persons aged between 10 and 17 convicted in England and Wales or with charge proved in Scotland for murder or manslaughter, 1979 to 1998

Country/offence1979198019811982198319841985198619871988
England and WalesPersons aged 10-13
Murder------1n/a----1--1
Manslaughter(2)1------n/a----------
Persons aged 10-16
Murder65515n/a56643
Manslaughter(2)77108n/a688126
Persons aged 10-17
Murder20161122n/a13128147
Manslaughter(2)20121810n/a1413161914
ScotlandPersons aged 10-13
Murder--------------------
Culpable homicide(3)------1----1------
Persons aged 10-16
Murder55--42--2322
Culpable homicide(3)3172216175
Persons aged 10-17
Murder6546524543
Culpable homicide(3)3393318397

Country/offence1989199019911992199319941995199619971998(1)
England and WalesPersons aged 10-13
Murder--------22--------
Manslaughter(2)--1--11----1--1
Persons aged 10-16
Murder5874131010262610
Manslaughter(2)9285636537
Persons aged 10-17
Murder11111311231610262610
Manslaughter(2)239158138781019
ScotlandPersons aged 10-13
Murder1----------------n/a
Culpable homicide(3)--11--1------1n/a
Persons aged 10-16
Murder2223--2487n/a
Culpable homicide(3)144571243n/a
Persons aged 10-17
Murder2228-66128n/a
Culpable homicide(3)145685566n/a

(1) Data for England and Wales are provisional.

(2) Manslaughter offences under Common Law, Offences against the Person Act, 1861, sec. 5, 9 and 10 and Homicide Act 1957, sec. 2.

(3) Common Law offence of Culpable Homicide is the Scottish equivalent to manslaughter.

na = not available.


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Custodial Sentences

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many adults were given custodial sentences by:


    (a) magistrates' courts; and


    (b) Crown Courts in the last three years for which figures are available; and [HL3390]

    How many young people were given custodial sentences by:


    (a) magistrates' courts; and


    (b) Crown Courts in the last three years for which figures are available; and [HL3391]

    What were the average lengths of custodial sentences for adults sentenced by:


    (a) magistrates' courts; and


    (b) Crown Courts in the last three years for which figures are available; and [HL3392]

    What were the average lengths of custodial sentences for young people sentenced by:


    (a) magistrates' courts; and


    (b) Crown Courts in the last three years for which figures are available.[HL3393]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The data for England and Wales and Northern Ireland are given in the table.

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Number of young people and adults sentenced to custody and average sentence lengths for all offences by type of court, England and Wales and Northern Ireland, 1995-97

Magistrates' Courts The Crown Court
Country/yearNumberAverage sentence length (months)NumberAverage sentence length (months)
Young people(4)
England and Wales(5)
19953,7943.51,67017.6
19964,1023.52,39520.6
19974,1293.32,95420.1
Northern Ireland(6)
1995515.3719.7
1996435.6218.0
1997276.3636.3
Adults(4)
England and Wales(5)
199534,9393.039,13520.6
199637,0642.941,68822.2
199742,3882.844,37022.7
Northern Ireland(6)
19951,4734.956847.8
19961,3944.855431.1
19971,3844.757333.9

(4) For England and Wales young people are defined as 10-17 year olds and adults 18 or over, while for Northern Ireland they are defined as 10-16 year olds and 17 or over respectively.

(5) Includes unsuspended imprisonment, detention in young offender institutions and under sec. 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 as appropriate. Averages are based on non-life sentences.

(6) Includes prison and YOC only as appropriate. Lifers, those held at the Secretary of State's pleasure, those with an unknown age and training school orders are excluded.


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