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29. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to prevent broadcasting of obscene and violent programmes in the United Kingdom from foreign-owned satellites.
40. Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department will be taking to prevent broadcasting of obscene and violent programmes in the United Kingdom from foreign-owned satellites.
72. Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to prevent broadcasting of obscene and violent programmes in the United Kingdom from foreign-owned satellites.
Mr. Renton : I refer my hon. Friends to paragraphs 7.12 to 7.14 of our White Paper "Broadcasting in the '90s : Competition, Choice and Quality" (November 1988, Cm. 517), copies of which were placed in the Library. Since the White Paper was published, we have made further significant progress, at last month's Stockholm ministerial conference, towards achieving agreement on an effective Council of Europe convention on transfrontier broadcasting (to which paragraph 7.13 refers). Subject to further discussion by Ministers' deputies, prospects now seem good for opening the convention for signature early in 1989.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 5 December 1988 the number of reported HIV antibody positive prisoners in England and Wales was 55. These are the identified cases. An informed assessment of the rate of infection in the prison population could be made only by taking the unacceptable step of requiring prisoners to submit to blood testing arrangements different from those which apply in the general community. Prisoners will, however, where appropriate be included in future approved research programmes based on anonymous blood testing.
Column 70729 June up to 6 December I had received representations from 13 organisations and eight individuals supporting a public interest defence. In addition, right hon. and hon. Members had passed to me representations supporting such a defence which they had received from three organisations and three individuals.
33. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with representatives of the Scottish broadcasting media regarding the Government's White Paper, Cm. 517.
66. Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with representatives of the Scottish broadcasting media regarding the Government White Paper, Cm. 517.
84. Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with representatives of the Scottish broadcasting media regarding the Government's White Paper, Cm. 517.
70. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why his broadcasting White Paper proposes that the new television channels should be available only to EEC companies and that each such station should have a required quota of programmes produced in the EEC.
Mr. Renton : Under European community rules the Government must not discriminate between United Kingdom and other EC television companies. The White Paper's proposals reflect well-established principles in existing legislation. Terrestrial television channels have power, immediacy and influence, and are a scarce national resource : the Government do not consider it desirable that non-EC companies should be able to control them. We are considering further whether this restriction should also apply to the proposed franchise for the local delivery of TV. The requirement for a proper proportion of programme material of EC origin should help to maintain a competitive and flourishing United Kingdom programme market.
34. Mr. Boateng : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will refer the Guildford four cases to the Court of Appeal, in view of the new evidence submitted to him concerning the cases ; and if he will make a statement.
62. Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce the outcome of his review of the convictions of the four people convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings.
35. Miss Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that United Kingdom immigration rules and the United Nations draft conventions on the rights of the child are consistent ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The review committee's assessment of the prison population effects of the proposed scheme is given in paragraphs 429-434 and in table 10, appendix 5 of its report, "The Parole System in England and Wales", November 1988, Cm. 532.
39. Sir Bernard Braine : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates of Her Majesty's prisons are currently serving custodial sentences for the crime of child destruction under the Infant Life Preservation Act.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The records held centrally show one offender currently serving a custodial sentence having been convicted under the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929. I also refer my right hon. Friend to the reply given earlier to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Amess).
41. Mr. Harry Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has discussed with chief police officers in England and Wales the role of police in attendance at football grounds in relation to incidents involving players on the field of play.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : No. It is for the appropriate chief officer of police to decide whether criminal charges should be brought as a result of incidents during football matches. Any cases in which charges are made in England and Wales are then referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Home Office meets, through police specific grant, 51 per cent. of all police authorities' expenditure for policing purposes. An additional contribution is made from central funds through block grant.
Applications by police authorities for increases in police establishments in 1989-90 are under consideration and decisions will be announced as soon as possible. Eight hundred police posts are available outside London.
Mr. Hurd : I hold many meetings with the officers and committees of ACPO. The most recent was with members of the ACPO traffic committee on 24 October. The matters that we discussed included police breath-testing powers and the enforcement of road traffic law.
Mr. Renton : We have received representations on this matter from various interested parties on behalf of the Gaelic community in Scotland, including the report "Towards a Gaelic Television Service" submitted by Comunn na Gaidhlig. Those representations were taken into account in the preparation of the Government's recently published White Paper on broadcasting which, amongst other things, addresses the question of Gaelic broadcasting and how it might benefit from future television services.
Mr. Renton : We have received one representation from a Member of Parliament on behalf of his constituent. The question of Gaelic broadcasting, and how it might benefit from future television services, is addressed in the Government's recently published White Paper on broadcasting, and Home Office officials have met Comunn na Gaidhlig to discuss the implications of this part of the White Paper.
50. Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further resources he intends to make available in order to reduce the backlog of submissions to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
90. Mr. Holt : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average waiting time between the injury and receipt of compensation payments from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Mr. John Patten : The statistics kept by the board use the date of application as the baseline and not the date of the injury. The available information on the proportion of cases submitted to a single member for decision within certain periods from the date of application is published in the Board's annual reports. The most recent report was published on 6 December (Cm. 536).
47. Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent talks he has had with European Ministers about security and frontier controls following implementation of the single European market, in particular in connection with the fight against terrorism.
Mr. Hurd : I attended a meeting of Trevi Ministers in Athens on 9 December under the presidency of the Greek Minister for Public Order, Mr. Petsos. We agreed that Trevi should pursue its study of border checks, which had been instituted at my initiative at our previous meeting in Munich, so that the changes to take place on 1 January 1993 should not adversely affect prevention of terrorism, drug trafficking and other serious crime in the Community.
In view of recent events and the important contribution that effective extradition arrangements can make to counter terrorism, we also agreed to ask our Foreign Minister colleagues to arrange for the working group on judicial co-operation to examine co-operation over the preparation and processing of extradition applications as part of its consideration of the subject as a whole. We also agreed an updated assessment of the terrorist threat to the Community countries.
In recent months I have also had bilateral discussions with my French, Italian and Spanish counterparts on terrorism, including the security aspects of frontier checks and controls.
48. Mr. Archer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has yet considered the implications for United Kingdom legislation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Brogen and others ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the statement I made on this matter when moving the Second Reading of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill on 6 December at columns 210-11.
Mr. John Patten : From 1 February next, under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the Attorney-General will be able to bring before the Court of Appeal for review sentences imposed by the Crown court for the most serious offences which appear unduly lenient. We have no plans for further legislation for the purpose which the hon. Member suggests.
Column 712generally used for purposes of comparison) upon conviction of rape at the Crown court increased by 16 per cent. between 1986 and 1987, the latest year for which figures are available. The average sentence is now over six years.
53. Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions there have been as a result of prosecutions brought under the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929 in the last 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Solitary confinement, which entails deprivation of all human contact, is not available as a punishment in England and Wales. Cellular confinement may be awarded as a punishment at a disciplinary hearing, but figures are not available for the number so held at any one time. In such circumstances, governors have discretion concerning matters such as visits, education facilities and religious observance.
Mr. Renton : We have received a number of representations on the proposal for licences to be allocated by competitive tender subject to a quality threshold. We have invited comments on the White Paper before 28 February 1989.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand that the parking enforcement working party is nearing the end of its deliberations and is likely to submit its report early in the new year. A decision about publication of the report will be taken when it is received.
80. Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he used when deciding that it was not in the public interest to order an inquest on the baby of 21 weeks gestational age aborted at the Carlisle city general hospital in July 1987.
92. Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the procedures adopted in determining whether inquests should be held on the deaths of babies aborted alive.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : After the decision was made not to direct the coroner to hold an inquest into the death of the Carlisle baby, we received some representations from Members and six letters from the public variously supporting or seeking reconsideration of the decision.
Mr. John Patten : There were 73,000 fewer recorded burglaries in England and Wales in the 12 months ending September 1988, compared with the corresponding period to September 1987, a decrease of 8 per cent. This is very encouraging and great credit is due to the police and the public in their co-operation in a range of crime prevention measures, in particular neighbourhood watch.
Mr. John Patten : Our proposals are set out in the Green Paper "Punishment, Custody and the Community" (Cm. 424). We have invited responses to our long-term proposals by 31 January 1989. Meanwhile we issued in August an action plan for dealing with young adult offenders (those aged 17 and under 21). This calls on probation services in co- operation with other agencies to make arrangements to enable more offenders to be kept out of custody.
Mr. John Patten : A number of representations have been received from individuals and organisations. We asked for comments by 31 January 1989, and we shall then give detailed consideration to all the responses.
73. Mr. Lester : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to legislate to ensure that a conviction for any crime of violence will automatically disqualify the offender from the proposed national football membership scheme.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to the report of the working party chaired by my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport, published on 9 November. A copy is in the Library. The working party recommended that disqualification from membership should be linked specifically to conviction for football related offences. The Government's conclusion will be made known shortly when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment introduces a Bill on the football membership scheme.