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Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the prisons in England and Wales that only receive inmates on rule 43.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : No prisons in England and Wales receive only inmates on rule 43.


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Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the prison remand population in England and Wales on 1 December 1987 and 1988.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 31 October 1988, the latest date for which information is available, there were about 10,250 untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners in prison service establishments in England and Wales. A further 1,531 prisoners, most of whom were on remand, were held in police cells. The corresponding figures on 31 October 1987 were 10,550 and 910 respectively.

Prisons (Strip Searches)

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the number of strip searches made on women prisoners in prisons in England and Wales from 1 January to 30 November ; and if he will list such searches at each prison.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information is not available.

Prisoners (Drugs)

Mr Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the number of prison inmates who have been charged under prison rules of having unlawful drugs in their possession in each of the last three years.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The number of charges for possession of controlled drugs, dealt with by governors or boards of visitors in prison service establishments was about 1,540 in 1987 and 1,630 in 1986. Information for earlier years is not available.

Immigration

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of overseas applicants for settlement in the United Kingdom have been successful on the basis of DNA testing since he approved that system for use in immigration and visa cases ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Renton : I regret that this information is not available.

Prisoners (Transport)

Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many divisions use taxis to transport prisoners (a) to court and (b) to other prisons ; and if he will give details of the numbers involved and a breakdown of the costs.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Information on the extent and cost of the use of taxis by prison establishments in England and Wales is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Taxis are used when circumstances--for example, short notice or urgency-- prevent recourse to the normal movement arrangements which operate in the particular locality and which mostly involve contract coaches or minibuses.

Prison Nurses

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will recognise the Royal College of Nursing to represent nurses who work in prisons.


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Mr. Douglas Hogg : No approach has been made by the Royal College of Nursing to represent nurse grade staff working in prison service establishments. Should an approach be made it will be considered on its merits.

Identity Cards

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department has investigated, or is currently studying, the usefulness of a national identity card to his departmental responsibilities towards national security and the implications of such a scheme for his Department's use of the national insurance computer in Newcastle ; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Hurd : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to a question from the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central, (Mr. Darling), on 15 December 1988 at columns 1080-82.

Prescription Charges (Policemen)

Mr. Favell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to alter the arrangements under which policemen are able to reclaim National Health Service prescription charges.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : This matter is under consideration by the police negotiating board. The staff side has rejected an official side proposal that police officers should be reimbursed NHS charges only when they arise from injury sustained on duty or from work-related illness and the board is now considering whether the issue should be referred to arbitration.

Satanic Verses"

Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from Bolton requesting prosecution of the publishers of Salman Rushdie's book "Satanic Verses" for incitement to racial hatred.

Mr. John Patten : My right hon. Friend has received no representations from residents of Bolton calling for the prosecution of the publishers of this book for the offence of incitement to racial hatred. He has, however, received several representations from hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East, (Mr. Thurnham) and numerous letters and petitions from members of the public and Muslim organisations, calling in more general terms for this book to be banned. My right hon. Friend has no power to ban any book. The law on incitement to racial hatred is contained in part III of the Public Order Act 1986. Prosecutions under this Act are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General.

Drinking (Christmas)

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state, in the light of the outcome of Alcohol Awareness Week, what measures the Government have planned to discourage excessive drinking over the Christmas period, particularly in connection with driving.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : My hon. Friend the Minister responsible for roads and traffic launched the latest phase of the Government's campaign against drinking and


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driving on 5 December. In addition to widespread Government advertising in all sections of the media, the campaign draws together initiatives by local authorities, the police service and the private sector, including the brewing industry.

The ministerial group on alcohol misuse, chaired by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council, is taking forward Government action on the wider aspects of alcohol misuse. Measures recently announced include joint departmental funding of the support costs for a pre-Christmas Radio 1 alcohol awareness initiative aimed at young people.

Police Operation (Acton)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on the conduct and timing of the police operation in Old Oak Common lane, Acton, on 14 December ; what liaison was carried out with the Post Office ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the robbery in Old Oak Common lane occurred during a surveillance operation in which there was no opportunity either to influence the timing of events or to liaise in advance with the Post Office. It would not be right to comment further on the conduct of the operation as the case is now the subject of criminal proceedings.

Missing Persons

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take steps to upgrade the computer system in the missing persons bureau in New Scotland Yard.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is for the Commission of Police of the Metropolis to determine whether the computer system currently used in the bureau should be upgraded. I understand that he has this under consideration, but it will have to be considered against other needs.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will take steps to ensure that persons whose names are on the register of missing persons in the missing persons bureau at New Scotland Yard are removed therefrom when they have been found ; (2) whether he will take steps to require the notification to the police national computer bureau and to the missing persons bureau at New Scotland Yard of persons known to be missing in the Metropolitan police district who are not themselves vulnerable, but whom the police have reason to believe may cause harm to others.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : These are operational matters for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. I understand however that when the missing persons bureau is notified that a person has been found their records are updated accordingly ; and that the bureau contains information on persons missing in the Metropolitan police district who are believed to be a risk to others.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what crimes have allegedly been committed by persons who are both missing and wanted for alleged crimes, during the last year for which records are available.


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Mr. Douglas Hogg : This information is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take steps to require all police authorities to inform the police national computer bureau of every unidentified dead body found in their jurisdiction.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : This is a matter for individual chief officers of police. I understand however that chief officers do circulate details of unidentified bodies as necessary and may use the police national computer broadcast system for this purpose.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has considered the report of the Association of Chief Police Officers concerning the creation of a national register for missing persons ;

(2) whether he will create a national register for missing persons as recommended by the report of the Association of Chief Police Officers ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) how much he estimates it would cost to create a national register for missing persons as recommended by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Association of Chief Police Officers has set up a working party to review police procedures for dealing with inquiries relating to missing persons. We have not yet seen the report, which I understand has yet to be considered by the association's council. We will be happy to consider any recommendations which the association may put to us.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will require all chief officers of forces other than the Metropolitan police to provide him with statistics relating to missing persons, similar to those which he supplied to the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West concerning the Metropolitan district, in his answer of 5 December, Official Report, columns 30-31.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to the reply to his questions on 5 December at columns 30-31.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will discuss methods whereby records in respect of missing and of wanted persons, respectively, may be made available where required by police trying to locate such persons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The decision on whether, and in what circumstances, information about missing and wanted persons should be circulated or otherwise made available is an operational matter for chief officers of police, who have established a working party to review police procedures for dealing with inquiries relating to missing persons.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consult the Salvation Army investigation department, so as to assist its efforts to reunite families where one of the spouses or parents has gone missing.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have received no requests for assistance from the Salvation Army investigation department. We would of course be willing to consider any such requests.


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Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has sought European Economic Community funding in order to comply with Council of Europe recommendation R(79)6, concerning the establishment of a national register of missing persons ;

(2) what steps have been taken to comply with the Council of Europe recommendation R(79)6 during each of the years since that recommendation was made.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Recommendation No. R(79)6 of the Committee of Ministers concerns operational procedures which are a matter for chief officers of police.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish the names, ages and last known whereabouts of all persons who have been missing in the Metropolitan police area for more than three months.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : It would not be right for my right hon. Friend to do so. I understand however that the police publish names and other details where it is appropriate to do so in the individual case, for instance where they have particular reason to believe that the person would be in danger.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the instructions concerning procedures for tracing missing persons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Responsibility for procedures for tracing missing persons rests with individual chief officers of police. It is for them to issue the necessary instructions within their force.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons are now wanted in connection with police inquiries in the Metropolitan police district and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, respectively, concerning alleged crimes ; and what steps are taken to trace such persons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that on 15 October 1988, 26,093 persons in the Metropolitan police district were wanted in connection with police inquiries concerning alleged crimes. In the whole of the United Kingdom the number of persons wanted was 97,010, although this figure includes missing persons, aliens and people wanted for non-payment of fines who were all excluded from the Metropolitan figure. More detailed figures are not readily available.

Steps taken to trace such persons include the circulation of their details in the Police Gazette, which is sent to all forces. If any of these persons are known to be living in a particular area this is brought to the attention of local police officers during briefings.

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will increase liaison with Interpol concerning persons missing in the United Kingdom and wanted in connection with criminal inquiries.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The use of Interpol is an operational matter for the police. All forces are well aware of the facilities provided by Interpol to assist them in their inquiries.


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Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inquiries the Metropolitan police received from other forces in respect of missing persons during the last year for which records are available.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The available information is published in the report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis 1987, Cm. 389, a copy of which is in the Library.

Broadcasting

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who will be responsible for setting the cost of transmission facilities for broadcasters on Channels 3 and 5.

Mr. Renton : The Government envisage that the UHF transmission system will move progressively into the private sector. The precise arrangements for setting transmission charges, both after privatisation and in the interim period before then, will depend on wider questions about the future of the transmission system on which the Government have yet to take a view. We will be consulting the BBC, the IBA and other interested parties about these matters.

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what sanctions will be available to the Independent Television Commission in the event of the owner of a Channel 3 franchise failing to meet his target of 25 per cent. production by independent companies.

Mr. Renton : Paragraph 6.19 of the White Paper "Broadcasting in the 90s" proposes that the ITC should have power to issue a formal warning--a yellow card--and one year later to remove a licensee--a red card. The Government are considering whether, as an additional sanction, the ITC should be able to impose financial penalties.

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Independent Television Commission will have the power to preview programmes to be broadcast on Channels 3, 4 and 5.

Mr. Renton : The ITC will not have the IBA's responsibility for detailed approval of scheduling or prior clearance of particular programmes, but the Government are considering further whether there are any circumstances in respect of which the ITC should have a reserve power to preview programmes.

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make it his policy to leave to the discretion of the Independent Television Commission the decision on when, in relation to the financial bids for franchising, to review assurances of programme quality.

Mr. Renton : Paragraph 6.17 of the White Paper "Broadcasting in the 90s" proposes that the ITC should operate a two-stage procedure. In the first stage applicants for licences would have to pass a quality threshold, including satisfying the ITC that they would meet consumer protection and positive programme requirements. In the second stage applicants who pass this quality threshold would be invited to offer financial tenders for the licence.

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) further to his White Paper on


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broadcasting, whether the Independent Television Commission will have the power to limit the number of minutes of advertising broadcast each hour on Channels 3, 4 and 5 ;

(2) whether the Independent Television Commission will have the power to limit the number of advertising breaks per broadcast on Channels 3, 4 and 5 ;

(3) further to his White Paper on broadcasting, whether the Independent Television Commission will have the powers to ensure that advertising is sold only at rates specified on the rate card ; (4) further to his White Paper on broadcasting, whether the Independent Television Commission will require commercial broadcasting companies to submit advertising rate cards for approval.

Mr. Renton : Paragraph 6.47 of the White Paper envisages that the ITC will have a duty to draw up and enforce a code on advertising, and that any maximum limits on advertising minutage should be subject to Government approval. The Government will consider the formulation of legislative provisions affecting advertising regulation in the light of comments on the White Paper, and of progress in finalising the detail of the Council of Europe convention on transfrontier broadcasting.

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentage of viewers will be able to receive Channel 5 ; (2) whether he will list the geographic areas in which viewers will need to instal new aerials to receive Channel 5.

Mr. Renton : Current assessments are that 65 to 70 per cent. of the population will be able to receive Channel 5. Most viewers will require a new or additional external aerial.

Irish Republican Army (Complaints)

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters he has received complaining about remarks made by (a) the Irish Republican Army, (b) supporters of the Irish Republic Army and (c) apologists for the Irish Republican Army, in the past year.

Mr. Renton : Letters of complaint are not classified under these particular categories.

BBC Licence Fee

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters he has received in the past year complaining about the level of the BBC licence fee.

Mr. Renton : Since 1 January 1988 there have been 149 letters complaining about the level of the ordinary television licence fee.

Prison Disciplinary Code

Mr. Rees : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the new prison disciplinary code will come into operation.


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Mr. Douglas Hogg : We aim to lay revised rules on prison disciplinary matters, including a new code of offences, in January 1989. Our intention is that these should come into force on 1 April 1989.

Prisoners

Mr. Rees : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (i) life sentence prisoners and (ii) determinate sentence prisoners have been in prison for over 10 years.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The latest readily available information is given in the table.


Population<1> of prisoners in prison service             

establishments in England                                

and Wales on 30 June 1988 whose initial reception under  

sentence was                                             

10 years or more earlier<2>                              

Type of sentence      Number of prisoners                

                     |All        |Recalled<3>            

---------------------------------------------------------

Life sentence        |665        |85                     

Determinate sentence |29         |5                      

<1> The figures are those recorded centrally and are     

approximate; detailed checking of individual cases would 

involve disproportionate cost.                           

<2> Includes time spent on licence by prisoners recalled 

after having been released on licence.                   

<3> Prisoners who had been recalled after having been    

released on licence.                                     

Prisoners (Complaints)

Mr. Rees : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to how many complaints from prisoners were received by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration between 1967 and 1987 ; and how many of these were investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have no information about complaints received by the Commissioner but records in the Department suggest that over this period he investigated some 150 complaints from prisoners.

Prison Building

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average current cost per place of prison building.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Seven new prisons are under construction, with others at varying stages of design and planning. These seven new prisons will provide some 4,042 new places at a total estimated cost, including resource and development costs, of £353.5 million at current prices. This produces an overall average cost per place of approximately £87,500. The actual costs vary according to the size, design, location, use of the prison and facilities which need to be included in a normal community, for example, workshops, hospitals and gymnasia.


 

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