HC Deb 06 March 2003 vol 400 cc1217-8W
Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many laptop computers were used by(a) Ministers and special advisers and (b)officials in his Department in each year since 1995; how many were (i) lost and (ii) stolen; what their cost was; and if he will make a statement. [97500]

Hilary Benn

Information on the issue of laptop computers by year is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Three laptop computers have been provided over the last 26 months to Ministers and special advisers and none have been reported either lost or stolen.

A further 4,721 laptop computers have been issued to officials including those within the Executive Agencies.

In both 1995 and 1996 no laptop computers were reported lost. In 1997 one was reported lost. In 1998 four were reported lost. In 1999 two were reported lost, although one was subsequently recovered and since then no laptop computers have been reported lost.

In terms of thefts we have reported to the House before seven laptop computers were reported stolen in 1995 with a combined value of £3,924. Nine were reported stolen in 1996 with a value of £20,300. In 1997 a further nine laptop computers were reported stolen with a value of £25,000. In 1998 a single laptop was stolen but no reliable data has been recorded regarding its value. In 1999 a number of laptops were stolen from a storeroom and were valued at £20,421. During 2000 a further 18 thefts of laptop computers were reported. The total value for these losses was £53,429 but the figure is distorted by at least one machine having no formal value recorded against it and in another case a PowerPoint Projector being included in the financial loss. From 2000 through to 13 February 2003 a further 39 further thefts were reported, with one subsequent recovery but a financial value is not available. In part this is because 897 laptop computers are now provided as a managed service from a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) partners. Where loss occurs the financial risk has been passed to the partner organisation.

In addition to these figures 14 laptop computers have been lost from the Forensic Science Service at a cost of £1,200 each since 1995.