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Afghan Refugees: Resettlement

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The number of people in receipt of a resettlement grant under the Return to Afghanistan Programme (RAP) between its commencement on 20 August 2002 and 31 March 2003 (the latest date for which information is available) was 40.

Information on the destination of enforced removals would only be available by examination of individual case-files; this would incur disproportionate cost. Information on the number of people who, having been removed from the United Kingdom, subsequently return is not available.

Licensed Premises: Criminal Offences in Vicinity

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will advise the Metropolitan Police to provide details of criminal offences committed on, or in the vicinity of, licensed premises, when requested to do so by the licensing authority.[HL3988]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Under the Licensing Act 2003, the chief officer of police for any police area in which premises are situated will be able to apply for a review of the premises licence if it appears to him that crime is taking place in or in the vicinity of those premises. In doing so, the police will have to provide the licensing authority with evidence of offences or suspected offences which have taken place there.

A revision of the draft statutory guidance for licensing authorities and the police that will accompany the Act will be available shortly. Final guidance will then require parliamentary approval.

Equinox Club, Leicester Square: Alleged Serious Criminal Offences

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many alleged serious criminal offences were reported to the police from the Equinox Club, Leicester Square, and its vicinity, from the beginning of 2002 to the latest convenient date.[HL3990]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In the period 1 January 2002 to 16 July 2003, the Metropolitan Police received 119 allegations of crime in or near the Equinox Club, Leicester Square. Of these, 17 can be viewed as serious cases. These are very broad statistics and further detailed research would need to be undertaken to ascertain how many of the allegations actually related to the Equinox Club.

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Criminal Offences: Motivation

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What statistics are maintained by police forces in England and Wales of criminal offences motivated by racial or religious hatred and homophobia; and whether convictions for offences aggravated by any of these factors are separately recorded for publication in national statistics; and[HL3976]

    How many offences were (a) reported to police forces in England and Wales; and (b) prosecuted in 2002 for incitement to commit offences against persons identified by their sexual orientation.[HL3977]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Police forces in England and Wales are currently required to forward recorded crime statistics to the Home Office for the following offences where they are racially or religiously aggravated:

    less serious wounding;


    common assault;

    criminal damage to a dwelling;

    criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling;

    criminal damage to a vehicle;

    other criminal damage.

Recorded crime figures submitted to the Home Office by police forces do not separately identify crimes motivated by homophobia. This is because, unlike racially or religiously aggravated offences, homophobic crime is not a distinct offence in law, and is instead included within the figures for other offences according to the nature of the action.

Statistics of persons proceeded against for offences of racially aggravated offences separately identify the following:

    wounding or inflicting grevous bodily harm;

    actual bodily harm;

    common assault;

    intentional harassment, alarm or distress;

    the offence of harassment;

    putting people in fear of violence;

    other criminal damage.

The figures are published as a group in Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System (a Home Office publication under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991), and are available individually on demand.

The same offences, but when religiously aggravated, or when both racially and religiously aggravated, have been collected since January 2002, but offences aggravated by homophobia are not collected separately, for the reason given above.

The numbers of crimes reported to police forces for incitement to commit offences against persons identified by their sexual orientation are not collected centrally. The statistics collected centrally on persons

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proceeded against do not enable such offences to be separately identified either.

Convention on the Future of Europe: Protocols and Proposed Constitutional Treaty

Lord Howell of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the United Kingdom's Schengen opt-out on border controls will be preserved under the proposed Constitutional Treaty of the European Union.[HL4006]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The draft constitutional treaty produced by the Convention on the Future of Europe makes clear that the protocols attached to it remain an integral part of it. This will include the protocol integrating the Schengen acquis, under which the UK has made a successful application for partial participation.

The Government's position on the Protocols relating to our frontier controls in general and our opt-out from the Schengen agreement in particular has not changed. We will maintain controls at the UK's frontiers.

Home Office: Accommodation

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

    When the present headquarters of the Home Office was built; and what was the cost (including fitting-out and moving costs) taking inflation into account.[HL4048]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The lease for the present headquarters of the Home Office commenced on 24 June 1976. The costs associated with their fitting out and moving are not known. They were the responsibility of the former Property Services Agency (PSA).

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

    What is the estimated total cost of building and fitting out the proposed new headquarters for the Home Office, and of moving there from the present headquarters.[HL4049]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The demolition of the previous building, design, construction, fitting out and operation of the new Home Office headquarters in 2 Marsham Street is a PFI for a period of 29 years (three years construction, 26 years operation) commencing 26 March 2002.

The net present cost (NPC) at the time of contract signature in March 2002 was £311 million reflecting an initial annual cost of £30.3 million. The capital cost of the building including its fit-out is the responsibility of the Supplier Annes Gate Property plc (AGP).

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The costs of moving staff, excluding IT, are part of the PFI. The IT costs associated with the move are currently being negotiated with the PFI supplier for the Home Office IT services, SIRIUS.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the Home Office's estimates of the current open market value with vacant possession of their surplus central London freehold properties Cleland House, Abell House and Horseferry House; and what professional advice they took on the risks of double-banking their exposure to the central London office market at financial close of their commitment to their new headquarters in March 2002.[HL4207]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The most recent open market valuations with vacant possession were prepared in March 2002:

Cleland House Abell House Horseferry House £23.3 million £27.3 million £17.7 million
Total£68.3 million

These figures were provided by a leading firm of independent property consultants familiar with the central London office market. The department's accommodation strategy has secured the disposal by way of an agreement for the transfer to the Department of Constitutional Affairs of the present Home Office at 50 Queen Anne's Gate. This follows the transfer in December 2002 of Clive House to that department. Together this reduces the department's exposure to the London office market by about 39,500m(1). Inclusion of the sale of the above freehold buildings in the PFI contract for 2 Marsham Street was considered. However, the property consultants advised the department that the price tendered by the developer of £33.75 million was unlikely to offer better value for money in comparison to their expectation of what the department would achieve by arranging disposal of these buldings using a competent firm of property agents. The Office of Government Commerce also advised that it could be better value to the Exchequer as a whole if the properties were retained for potential other government use should one be identified before the new headquarters at 2 Marsham Street is occupied, Decisions on the sale of these buildings have still to be reached.

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