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Diplomatic Representation: British Embassy in Paraguay

Baroness Hooper asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As I made clear in my Written Statement on 15 December (Official Report, cols. WS 84–88), the decision to close the British Embassy in Asuncion forms a part of a global reorganisation involving changes in a number of embassies and offices in different countries throughout the world. These changes reflect changing demands and challenges, and the need better to align our resources with our priorities, to maximise efficiency, and to ensure that the UK has a cost-effective and flexible network of overseas representation.

The decision in no way reflects on the quality of our bilateral relations. As we have made clear to the
 
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Paraguayan Government, we value the excellent relations we have with them and see no reason why that relationship should not be maintained when we establish coverage from our embassy in Buenos Aires.

Drug Treatment

Lord Adebowale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Information relating to the number of people on drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) in England and Wales who have received crack cocaine treatment is not available centrally and could only be collected at disproportionate cost. However, data received from probation areas, as part of the National Crack Action Plan, showed that there were 693 primary crack users resident in 38 drug action team areas designated as high crack areas (HCAs) who started a DTTO in 2003–04.

From April 2005 the DTTO will gradually be replaced by the drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR) of the new community order, which is being introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Targets for 2005–06 in relation to the delivery of DTTOs and DRRs have not yet been finalised.

Home Secretary: Security Arrangements

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Home Office does not comment on specific security arrangements for individuals.
 
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Asylum Seekers: Unfounded Claims

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The policies that are currently being undertaken by the Government to deter unfounded asylum claims are subject to continuous and ongoing review. The success of these policies is demonstrated by the 65 per cent fall in the detection of clandestine entrants in Kent in 2003 compared to 2002, which has been followed by a further 23 per cent fall in the first half of 2004, and the 61 per cent fall in asylum applications in the third quarter of 2004 compared to the same period of 2002.

The proportion of cases that are granted and refused in any particular period is determined by the case mix (i.e. the balance between new and older cases, and the different nationalities).

Each asylum claim is considered on its individual merits, taking into account the evidence submitted by the applicant, the information obtained at his or her substantive asylum interview and the available country information.

There is no inevitable relationship between the number of unsuccessful applicants and the number of successful ones.

Terrorism Act 2000

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Statistics provided to the Home Office by the police on arrests and charges from 11 September 2001 until 31 December 2004 under the Terrorism Act 2000 are on the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk/terrorism. (These are compiled from recent police records and are therefore subject to change as cases go through the system.)
 
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Key Facts and Statistics

Police records show that from 11 September 2001 until 31 December 2004, 701 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Charges

119 of these were charged under the Act. Of these, 45 were also charged with offences under other legislation. 135 were charged under other legislation. This includes charges for terrorist offences that are already covered in general criminal law such as murder, grievous bodily harm and use of firearms or explosives.

Convictions

17 individuals have been convicted of offences under the Terrorism Act.

Other Information

The following table gives the outcome for those not covered above:
Outcome
Transferred to Immigration Authorities59
On Bail to Return22
Cautioned7
Dealt with under Mental Health Legislation7
Awaiting Extradition1
Returned to Prison Service Custody1
Released Without Charge351




More detailed information is not held by the Home Office.






EU: Asylum and Immigration Procedures

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government's position remains unchanged since we negotiated our Title IV and Frontiers Protocols at Amsterdam in 1997. Under the former, the UK retains the right to opt-in to EU immigration and asylum measures. Where measures are in our interest, we will opt-in and are bound by the measure. Where they do not benefit the UK we do not participate. We have successfully used our opt-in for over five years, and we will continue to do so. We will also maintain our right, under the Frontiers Protocol, to operate immigration controls at our borders.

Immigration and asylum are international issues demanding international solutions. Co-operation with EU partners can help to deliver our domestic objectives of tackling abuse of the asylum system and combating illegal immigration.
 
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Airlines: E-borders Pilot Project

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: E-borders is initially being trialled as Project Semaphore. Under Project Semaphore, carriers provide passenger information on certain flights operating into the UK in advance of arrival. This information is received by the Joint Border Operations Centre (JBOC) where it is then processed, with alerts being provided to government agencies as appropriate.

The routes chosen for Semaphore were selected by multi-agency consensus and operate into Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow airports. Currently the JBOC is receiving passenger information on specific flights that arrive at Heathrow Airport. Passenger information on specific flights arriving at Birmingham, Manchester and Gatwick airports is expected to be available by the end of April 2005. The full e-borders system is expected to process passenger information on flights arriving in and departing from the UK at all major ports by 2010.


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