Previous Section Index Home Page

21 Jul 2005 : Column 2193W—continued

Freemasons

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what measures have been taken to encourage the declaration of membership of a masonic lodge among the police and the judiciary; [12586]

(2) who maintains the register of names of members of the (a) police and (b) judiciary who have declared membership of a masonic lodge; [12590]

(3) whether information in the register of members of the police and judiciary who are members of a masonic lodge is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 2000; [12592]

(4) what estimate he has made of the numbers of members of the (a) police and (b) judiciary who are members of a masonic lodge who have not declared their interest. [12600]

Hazel Blears: Voluntary arrangements for the declaration of freemasonry membership have been established for the judiciary and the police service.

For the judiciary, all first time successful candidates for appointment must, as a condition of appointment, declare their freemasonry status prior to appointment and must also declare any later admission to them. No central register of freemasonry membership is held.

For the police, there is no statutory basis for the registers which are held internally by forces. We do not monitor centrally which forces continue to administer such registers. It is not possible to estimate the number of members who failed to declare their interest.

Any requests for information held on registers would have to be considered by the force concerned on a case-by-case basis. Decisions on whether information should
 
21 Jul 2005 : Column 2194W
 
be released are the responsibility of the public authority receiving the request, acting in accordance with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act.

Identity Cards

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of existing facial images in police force databases which will be transferred into the Facial Images National Database. [9945]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Police Information Technology Organisation are currently gathering data from all the forces in England and Wales. At present eight forces have provided data and the total number of images held within these forces are 793,000.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice his Department has received from (a) the Government Chief Information Officer and (b) the e-Government Unit on the identity cards scheme, with particular reference to the (i) costs and (ii) feasibility of the project. [10997]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Identity Cards Programme Team has regular and wide ranging discussions across Government in relation to different aspects of the scheme, including with the Government Chief Information Officer and the e-Government Unit. A senior member of the Unit is a member of the Programme Board and the Chief Information Officer is a member of the Identity Cards Programme Strategy Board. These discussions have informed the contents of the Regulatory Impact Assessment which was published on 25 May and the Identity Cards Scheme Benefits Overview which was published on 28 June.

Illegal Drugs

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what changes have taken place in the prevalence of the consumption of (a) heroin, (b) cocaine and (c) cannabis in each year since 1998. [10908]

Paul Goggins: The British Crime Survey (BCS) measures the extent of drug use in England and Wales in the year before interview. The prevalence of the consumption of cannabis, heroin and cocaine (powder cocaine and crack cocaine) between 1998 and 2003–04 are shown in the table.

In the 16 to 24 age range, the use of cannabis has fallen by 12 per cent. since 1998. The Schools Survey 1 also shows a decline in cannabis use among 11 to 15-year-olds. The use of cannabis remained stable among the full 16 to 59 age group.

The BCS considers separately the extent both of powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Since 2000 the prevalence of powder cocaine by 16 to 24-year-olds has remained stable following a significant increase between 1998 and 2000. There has been no significant change in the prevalence of use of either crack cocaine or heroin between 1998 and 2003–04, for any age group.


 
21 Jul 2005 : Column 2195W
 

Figures for the proportion of (a) young people (aged 16 to 24 years) and (b) all adults (aged 16 to 59 years) reporting having used different drugs in the year before interview based on British Crime Survey data

199820002001–022002–032003–04Significance of percentage change 1998 to 2003–04
16 to 24-year-olds
Cannabis28.227.026.925.824.8(59)
Cocaine (powder)3.15.24.94.74.9(59)
Crack Cocaine0.30.90.50.50.4n/s
Heroin0.30.80.30.20.4n/s
16 to 59-year-olds
Cannabis10.310.510.610.910.8n/s
Cocaine (powder)1.22.02.02.12.4(59)
Crack Cocaine0.10.30.20.20.2n/s
Heroin0.10.30.10.10.1n/s




n/s=no significant difference.
(59)Statistically significant difference at the 5 per cent. level.
Notes:
1.As with all survey estimates, particularly those for comparatively rare behaviours such as class A drug use, these estimates are subject to uncertainty. Apparently large year on year changes can occur by chance and cannot necessarily be considered indicative of a real trend over time.
2.From 2001, the reporting year for BCS data switched from calendar to financial years.
3.The figures are weighted using population estimates provided by the Office for National Statistics.
Sources:
1998, 2000, 2001–02 and 2002–03 BCS.




Illegal Immigrants

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to ensure that illegal immigrants are returned to their country of origin. [12560]

Mr. McNulty: Between 1999 and 2003, the total number of people removed from the UK has more than trebled.

The Government have introduced a number of measures to ensure that we return those who have no basis of stay in the United Kingdom, and who fail to leave voluntarily. These include increased staffing; more intelligence led operations; increasing the use of charter flights; expanding the detention estate; enhancing contact management by introducing measures such as electronic tagging and promoting and increasing the number of voluntary returns and seeking greater co-operation from overseas counterparts to speed up documentation and open up more return routes.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much is being spent to combat illegal immigration at Tilbury Docks. [12563]

Mr. McNulty: It is not possible to provide a breakdown of the amount of money that is spent specifically at Tilbury on combating illegal immigration.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds in a year of illegal immigrants residing in the UK. [12564]

Mr. McNulty: No government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally.

InnerChange Prison Programme

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the InnerChange prison programme at HMP Dartmoor. [7599]


 
21 Jul 2005 : Column 2196W
 

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 27 June 2005]: The programme has been in place for too short a time to analyse effectively the effect it has had on the attendees of the course and assess its benefits. There are no plans at present to introduce this programme to other prisons. At the conclusion of this pilot programme at Dartmoor, a thorough analysis and evaluation will be undertaken prior to any decisions being made on expansion.


Next Section Index Home Page