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Immigration Advisory Service: Funding

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government recognise the importance to the Immigration Advisory Service of an early decision on payment of grant-in-aid under Section 81 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 in order for them to plan for a service which can respond to the demands arising from IND's increasing output and other business pressures. Subject to other resourcing needs, and taking account of IAS' other income, the Home Office will play its part in seeking to ensure, as quickly as possible in consultation with IAS, that adequate funding is provided for IAS.

Grant-in-aid under Section 81 of the Act is not the IAS' only source of funding.

Illegal Sexual Services: Arrests

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Individual offences are not identified separately in centrally collected arrests data. However, the table, derived from the Home Office Court Proceedings and Cautions Database, shows persons proceeded against and those cautioned for offences of procuration, brothel keeping and prostitution in England and Wales in 1999.

The Immigration Service does not routinely receive statistics on police arrests for non-immigration criminal offences such as the provision of sexual services. No correlation of these offences and immigration status can therefore be made.

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Prosecutions and cautions for certain sexual offences, England and Wales, 1999

Offence descriptionPersons proceeded againstPersons cautioned
Indictable offences
Procuration (6):
Procuring female for immoral purposes, or using drugs to obtain or facilitate sexual intercourse53
Householder permitting unlawful sexual intercourse with girl under 16--1
Person responsible for girl under 16 causing or encouraging her prostitution etc1--
Living on earnings of prostitution or exercising control over prostitute489
Man or woman living wholly or in part on the earnings of male prostitution1--
Male of or over the age of 21 procuring or attempting to procure or being party to the commission by a male under 18 of an act of gross indecency with another male12
Male procuring or attempting to procure or being party to the commission by a male of an act of gross indecency with another male, other than above73
Summary offences
Brothel keeping (7)5417
Offences by prostitutes (8)3,6881,973
Persons aiding and abetting offences by prostitutes (8)3--

(6) ss. 2, 3, 4, 12, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and s. 5(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.

(7) ss. 33, 34, 35, 36 of the Sexual offences Act 1956 (and as amended by the Sexual Offences Act 1967).

(8) ss. 3 and 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 and s. 1 of the Street Offences Act 1959 and similar offences.


Immigration Act Detainees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a table showing the number of people being detained soley under the Immigration Act powers, by stage of application and immigration status, as at the latest convenient date.[HL869]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The most recent information relates to the number of persons detained under the Immigration Act 1971 as at 31 December 2000. At that date a total of 1,195 persons were recorded as detained.

Current information on persons detained who have claimed asylum, by stage of application and immigration status, is not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

Miss Zainas Hussain Nazir Hammad

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Miss Zainas Hussain Nazir Hammad, whose claims of slavery were reported in the Sunday Telegraph of 17th September 2000, has requested political asylum; if so, what are the grounds claimed; and how these grounds are being assessed.[HL928]

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: It is Home Office policy not to disclose to a third party any information with regard to an individual's immigration details. I am therefore unable to confirm or deny whether Miss Hammad has claimed asylum in this country.

Asylum applications are determined on their individual merits in accordance with the criteria set out in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

Abnormal Loads: Communication with Escort

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 7 November 2000 (H.L. Deb., col 1360-64), how many loads were escorted by the Metropolitan Police during the week commencing 17 December 2000 and, of these, how many movements involved the use of mobile phones whilst a load was in motion.[HL795]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Metropolitan Police escorted 30 loads during this period, none of which involved the use of mobile phones as the mode of communication between the police and the abnormal load. This is because in contrast with other forces, abnormal loads escorted by the Metropolitan Police are usually accompanied by police motorcycles.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 7 November 2000 (H.L. Deb., col. 1360-64), what evidence supports his assertion that mobile phones are routinely used as a mode of communication between the police escort and the escorted load whilst in motion.[HL796]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has confirmed that mobile phones are the normal mode of communication between the police and the abnormal load's second man.

Immigration and Asylum Act 1999: Implementation

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to implement Part III of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.[HL849]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 does not specify a date by which Part III has to be implemented. While it was not proposed to implement Part III before October 2001, the actual implementation date is currently under review and a final decision has yet to be taken.

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Prison Overcrowding

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the Lord Chief Justice, in his lecture given 31 January, that prison overcrowding in England and Wales debilitates the whole system; and, if not, why not; and[HL903]

    What steps they will take to eliminate the problem of prison overcrowding in England and Wales; and [HL904]

    What steps they will take to make a sure Home Detention Curfews are used as much as possible.[HL906]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The prison population of 23 February 2001 was 64,488. This was 6,838 below the total certified operational capacity of 71,326 for the same day. The Government set no target for the prison population, as it is for the courts to determine who is sent to prison. The Government will provide the places necessary to accommodate safely and securely those sentenced by the courts. New prison capacity is opening this year. Rye Hill, a 600-place prison near Rugby, opened in January 2001 and Dovegate, an 800-place prison in Staffordshire, is scheduled to open in July 2001. The 2000 Spending Review also provides funding to increase capacity by a further 2,660 by 2004.

Overcrowding does not debilitate the whole prison system. It is mainly concentrated in local prisons, which are expected to absorb prisoners as and when the courts remand them. Overcrowding can impact on the daily regime of a prison and constrain the time that prisoners spend on constructive activity. However, it is carefully monitored to ensure that prisons experiencing population difficulties receive support in moving sentenced prisoners to those prisons with vacancies as speedily as operationally possible. The sharing of cells can in certain circumstances be beneficial, such as for prisoners at risk of self harm or suicide.

The purpose of Home Detention Curfew (HDC) is to provide selected short-term prisoners with a monitored return to the community, helping them re-integrate into society in a way which best protects the public. Governors may not release prisoners on HDC unless they first pass a stringent risk assessment. I am satisfied that this test is being applied properly and would not wish to encourage governors to release those who might be at higher risk of reoffending or breaching their curfew conditions, or who might pose a danger to the public, simply in order to free up prison places.


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