Lord Kennedy of Southwark Written Questions

20 Questions to Home Office tabled by Lord Kennedy of Southwark


Date Title Questioner
6 Aug 2020, 3:11 p.m. Mobile Phones: Sales Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the safety and security of consumers, and (2) the prevalence of criminal activity, in the secondhand mobile phone market.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

To help keep the public safe from crimes related to their phones, the Government works closely with the police, industry and other partners. As part of this work police forces issue advice to the public on keeping their property safe, including ensuring that the range of security features on devices are activated by consumers to prevent them being used if stolen.

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (year ending March 2019) shows that the proportion of mobile phone owners who experienced theft of their devices in the last year continued to follow a downward trend, falling to less than 1% compared with 2.1% in March 2009 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/focusonpropertycrimeappendixtables

3 Aug 2020, 1:58 p.m. Nitrous Oxide: Young People Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of restrictions on the supply of nitrous oxide to young people; and what plans they have to strengthen those restrictions.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (‘the 2016 Act’) provides the legislative framework for restrictions on supply of psychoactive substances, which includes nitrous oxide. The 2016 Act makes it an offence (with limited exemptions) to intentionally supply psychoactive substances , where the person knows, or is reckless as to whether, the psychoactive substance is likely to be consumed by a person for its psychoactive effects. A review of the Act was published in November 2018, concluding that it had been effective in addressing the open sale of psychoactive substances. Further action in relation to addressing online harms, including online supply of psychoactive substances for their psychoactive effect, is set out in the Online Harms White Paper which aims to make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially for children and other vulnerable groups.

28 Jul 2020, 3:45 p.m. Asylum: Coronavirus Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fines have been issued to people arriving in the UK who have failed to provide an address to the authorities when requested as part of the measures to fight COVID-19.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

No Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued as a result of failure to supply an address.

2 Jun 2020, 12:35 p.m. Cybercrime: Coronavirus Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the prevalence of online crime during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

While it is yet too early to identify any trend in online crime since the outbreak of Covid-19 the Government and law enforcement colleagues are working tirelessly to identify and disrupt those seeking to use online platforms to commit these crimes.

Criminals are looking to take advantage; Covid-19-related fraud and cybercrimes now represent 2.7% of all reported fraud to Action Fraud. Operational partners, the National Crime Agency, the National Cyber Security Centre and City of London Police, have thwarted over 2,000 scams in April alone.

The Government is committed to preventing criminals from profiting from covid-19 and ensuring that the public and business can protect themselves.

  • On 21 April the National Cyber Security Centre launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service. This allows members of the public to report any suspicious emails. This has received over 160,000 reports, leading to over 300 previously unknown phishing campaigns being taken down.

  • On 23 April the Home Office launched a gov.uk page on coronavirus-related fraud and cybercrime, including easy-to-follow steps for people to better protect themselves as well as signposting all relevant advice and tips. This page can be at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime

  • The Home Office are working closely with partner organisations such Trading Standards, the Financial Conduct Authority and all major banks to ensure key online safety guidance and messages are communicated

9 Oct 2018, 4:33 p.m. Capital Punishment Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the UK has not sought death penalty assurances for British nationals or former British nationals when agreeing to their trial in another country.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Her Majesty’s Government does not have a role in agreeing to the trial of British or former British nationals in another country.

However, a review of available records (dating back to 2001) has been undertaken and I can confirm that we have identified one occasion where we provided mutual legal assistance without a death penalty assurance where the death penalty was an available sentence which involved a British or former British national.

Due to the potential to harm on-going criminal investigations or future prosecutions, and the confidentiality attached to mutual legal assistance, it would not be appropriate to share further information.

I reiterate the statement by the Minister of State for Security on 23 July who sought to reassure the House that our long-standing position on the use of the death penalty has not changed. The UK has a long-standing policy of opposing the death penalty as a matter of principle regardless of nationality. Requests for Mutual Legal Assistance must be considered in accordance with the Government’s Overseas, Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance, which requires an assessment of both human rights and death penalty risks.

The OSJA guidance, which has been in existence since 2011, permits the provision of assistance, without obtaining assurances, where there are strong reasons for doing so:

“Ministers should be consulted to determine whether, given the specific circumstances of the case, we should nevertheless provide assistance.”

27 Sep 2018, 2:17 p.m. Harassment: Public Service Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether measures to protect the partners and children of people in public life from harassment outside their homes by demonstrators are adequate.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society. However, rights to peaceful protest do not extend to violent or threatening behaviour, harassment or intimidation.

The police have a range of powers to deal with such acts in line with their duties to keep the peace, to protect communities, and to prevent the commission of offences.

Decisions on how these powers are deployed are an operational matter for the independent judgement of chief officers of police.

8 Jun 2018, 12:29 p.m. Immigration: Personal Records Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what data are collected through landing cards; and how such data are used.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Passengers are required to complete fourteen pieces of data on landing cards. These are first name(s); date of birth; sex; nationality; town and country of birth; occupation; contact address in the UK; passport number; place of issue; length of stay in the UK; port of last departure; arrival flight/train number/ship name; and signature.

Landing cards are predominantly used to produce National Statistics on purpose of journey by category and nationality.

8 Jun 2018, 12:29 p.m. Immigration: Personal Records Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government from which countries citizens are required to complete landing cards on arrival in the UK.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Nationals of all non-EEA countries are required to fill out a landing card on arrival to the UK.

29 May 2018, 11:27 a.m. Police: Firearms Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of proposals for police officers in rural areas to be routinely issued with firearms.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The policy in this country has long been that the police should not generally be armed. This gives character to our policing that we should not readily give up and is vital in promoting good relations with the public and the community they serve.

Any proposal to change this longstanding position would have to be considered very carefully.

It is for chief officers to determine the number of armed officers in their areas. This is based on a thorough assessment of threat and risk, and capability is kept under constant review by the National Armed Policing Lead and the National Police Coordination Centre.

30 Apr 2018, 3:47 p.m. Slavery: Children Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle modern slavery involving children; and what financial support they are giving to local authorities, in the context of the level of funding available for children’s services by 2020.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Tackling human trafficking and modern slavery remains a top priority for this Government and we are committed to stamping out this abhorrent crime.

The Government recognises the particular vulnerabilities of child victims of modern slavery, including trafficking, and acknowledges the tailored support these children require in order to addresses their specific needs and vulnerabilities. To achieve this, the Government will continue with the implimentation of Independent Child Trafficking Advocates nationally; has committed £2.2m from the Child Trafficking Protection Fund to seven organisations to support victims of child trafficking, with a number of these projects working directly with local authorities to support trafficked children in their care; commissioned training for existing Independent Advocates which are a statutory provision available to all looked after children; and, working alongside our NGO partners, have trained thousands of foster carers, so that they are more aware of the specific needs of children who have been trafficked.

Funding for children’s services is an un-ring-fenced part of the wider local government finance settlement, to give local authorities the flexibility to focus on locally determined priorities, including tackling modern slavery. In addition, where a victim of modern slavery or potential victim of modern slavery is also an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, the Home Office provide separate funding to the local authority. These funding arrangements are currently under review.

17 Nov 2017, 11:29 a.m. Dublin Regulations Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need for a replacement for the Dublin III Agreement on refugees when the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Dublin III Regulation concerns asylum seekers, not refugees. It is the mechanism by which the Member State responsible for considering an asylum claim is identified.

The Government has been clear that it is in both the UK and the EU’s best interests to continue to cooperate on asylum and illegal migration issues when we leave the EU. We are ready to discuss the exact nature of this cooperation with our European partners.

As a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, we will continue to honour our international obligations when we leave the EU.

17 Nov 2017, 11:13 a.m. Deportation: EU Nationals Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of their enforcement of Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which permits member states to remove EU citizens after three months if they are not exercising a treaty right to freedom of movement; whether they plan to change their enforcement of that article; and whether they have made any estimate of the impact that a stricter enforcement of that article would have on the number of EU citizens in the UK.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union guarantees the free movement rights of workers. The conditions a worker, or any other EU citizen or their family member, must satisfy in order to enjoy their rights of entry and residence in a host member state are set out in the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC). If an EU citizen does not meet the requirements for residence as set out in the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, the UK’s implementing legislation, then they will not have a right to reside in the UK, and may be liable to removal. Removal is considered on a case by case basis.

17 Nov 2017, 11:10 a.m. Entry Clearances: Overseas Students Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 10 October (HL Deb, col 106), what assessment they have made of the compatibility of their commitments (1) not to limit the number of genuine international students who come to the UK to study, and (2) to reduce net migration whilst including international students in their net migration target.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

There is no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK and there are no plans to change this. So long as students are compliant with immigration rules they should make a very limited contribution to net migration numbers.

The independent Office for National Statistics is responsible for the production of the net migration statistics. In line with the internationally agreed UN definition these statistics define a migrant as someone changing their normal place of residence for more than a year. Students are therefore included in the same way as other migrants. International students who stay for longer than 12 months, like other migrants, have an impact on communities, infrastructure and services while they are here so it is right that they are included in the net migration count.

17 Nov 2017, 11:10 a.m. Entry Clearances: Overseas Students Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to excluding international students from their net migration target.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

There is no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK and there are no plans to change this. So long as students are compliant with immigration rules they should make a very limited contribution to net migration numbers.

The independent Office for National Statistics is responsible for the production of the net migration statistics. In line with the internationally agreed UN definition these statistics define a migrant as someone changing their normal place of residence for more than a year. Students are therefore included in the same way as other migrants. International students who stay for longer than 12 months, like other migrants, have an impact on communities, infrastructure and services while they are here so it is right that they are included in the net migration count.

1 Nov 2017, 1:41 p.m. Deportation Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any projection of the number of deportations of (1) EU, and (2) non-EU, nationals from the UK after Brexit; and if so, what.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

After the UK leaves the EU, as now, we will seek to deport EU and non-EU nationals who commit serious crimes or otherwise pose a threat to the UK. We have not made any projections of numbers.

1 Nov 2017, 1:40 p.m. British Nationality: Ceremonies Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance is given to local councils on the costs of gifts presented to new British citizens at citizenship ceremonies.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

There is no specific guidance on the costs of gifts presented to new citizens at citizenship ceremonies. The cost of the gift is covered within the £80 ceremony fee.

1 Nov 2017, 1:39 p.m. Deportation Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many intended deportations have been overturned by a discretionary decision to naturalise non-UK citizens by nationality, annually since 2010.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

All grants of naturalisation as a British citizen are at the discretion of the Home Secretary. She may, if she sees fit, naturalise a person who meets the provisions set out at section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981. These include a requirement to have been lawfully resident in the UK for a continuous period, be free of immigration time restrictions, be of good character and have sufficient knowledge of English and of life in the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary has some discretion over certain residence requirements, but there is no power in law to grant citizenship outside of the statutory requirements of the 1981 Act.

One of the statutory requirements for naturalisation is that a person should not have been in breach of the immigration laws in the residential qualifying period before applying. Another is that he or she is of good character. As such, a person who is subject to a deportation order would not normally qualify for naturalisation.

Information of persons naturalised as a British citizen by previous nationality is published annually and given in the table attached.

Statistics on grants of British citizenship by category and previous nationality is published in the Home Office ‘Immigration Statistics’ Citizenship table cz_07, available on the .GOV.UK website.

1 Nov 2017, 1:39 p.m. Naturalisation Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the number of naturalisations by discretion (1) by nationality, (2) by gender, (3) by age, and (4) by ethnicity, annually since 2010.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

All grants of naturalisation as a British citizen are at the discretion of the Home Secretary. She may, if she sees fit, naturalise a person who meets the provisions set out at section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981. These include a requirement to have been lawfully resident in the UK for a continuous period, be free of immigration time restrictions, be of good character and have sufficient knowledge of English and of life in the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary has some discretion over certain residence requirements, but there is no power in law to grant citizenship outside of the statutory requirements of the 1981 Act.

One of the statutory requirements for naturalisation is that a person should not have been in breach of the immigration laws in the residential qualifying period before applying. Another is that he or she is of good character. As such, a person who is subject to a deportation order would not normally qualify for naturalisation.

Information of persons naturalised as a British citizen by previous nationality is published annually and given in the table attached.

Statistics on grants of British citizenship by category and previous nationality is published in the Home Office ‘Immigration Statistics’ Citizenship table cz_07, available on the .GOV.UK website.

19 Sep 2017, 1:57 p.m. Farms: Theft Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they are planning to take to address the theft of equipment, vehicles and livestock from farms.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

It is for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, as operational leaders and elected local representatives, to decide how best to deploy resources to manage and respond to crime and local priorities, in rural and urban areas alike.

18 Sep 2017, 1:43 p.m. Acids: Sales Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to control the sale of dangerous acids.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

We are developing a set of voluntary commitments for retailers to restrict access to the most harmful corrosive products. We are currently discussing the commitments with the British Retail Consortium. We are also undertaking work to review the Poisons Act 1972 and how it controls the sale of particular acids and corrosive substances.