HC Deb 13 July 1995 vol 263 cc690-1W
Mrs. Barbara Roche

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what has been the total time by which court proceedings have been delayed because of late delivery of prisoners by Securicor to courts in London; [32536]

(2) what has been the cost to public funds of delays to court proceedings caused by late delivery of prisoners by Securicor to courts in London; [32538]

(3) what sanctions he has in respect of Securicor's failure to deliver prisoners to the Court of Appeal on time; and what action he plans to take; [32540]

(4) how many prisoners Securicor has escorted to court since the service was contracted out; and how many of these have been delivered to court late, or within so little time to spare that court proceedings have been delayed. [32542]

Miss Widdecombe

[holding answer 6 July 1995]: Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 13 July 1995: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about the delivery of prisoners to courts in London by Securicor Custodial Services Ltd. Between the start of the contract on 27 June 1994 and 31 May 1995 Securicor escorted 52,422 prisoners to court. Of this total 1,520 prisoners (2.9%) were delivered late for reasons within Securicor's control. Prisoners may also be delivered late to court for reasons that are outside Securicor's control. Under the terms of the contract, a late delivery occurs if a prisoner arrives at a court less than 30 minutes before the court starts sitting. Securicor is meeting the performance target set out in the contract for delivering prisoners to court. If they fail to do so, default notices may be issued and financial remedies applied if performance does not improve. Ultimately, as with all contracts, the contract may be terminated. Since 20 June the latest time prisoners arrived at the Court of Appeal was 9.07 am. The contractual requirement is that they arrive by 9.30 am. It is not possible to say by how much court proceedings have been delayed as a result of prisoners arriving late at court or how much any such delays may have cost. Not all cases at court involving prisoners begin at the same time and not all courts hear custody cases first. You may be interested to know that in a recent survey, 86% of customers (the courts, the police and the prisons in London) were either satisfied or very satisfied with Securicor's punctuality and flexibility. In addition, 97% of court staff felt that Securicor were providing an equal (28%) or better (69%) service than they received before.