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Mr. John Patten : The sum of £3,000 has been allocated in this financial year to support crime prevention working groups, including that chaired by Mr. Grade. The Home Office will also provide administrative and secretarial support for Mr. Grade's working group and will meet the cost of publishing the working group's report.
Mr. John Patten : Questions about fear of crime were included in the British crime survey, in a recent international survey conducted by telephone, and in local surveys on housing estates. In each survey care was taken to provide a representative sample of both men and women.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received on the need for a public interest defence to be incorporated in Official Secrets legislation.
Mr. Hurd : From the publication of our White Paper on the reform of secion 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 on 29 June 1988 up to 4 April 1989 I have received representations in support of a public interest defence from 30 organisations, including 11 from the branches of two national organisations, and from 113 individuals.
Mr. John Patten : The Court of Appeal has made it clear that custody should be used only when a court considers it absolutely necessary. Last July, the Government published proposals for punishing in the community more offenders convicted of less serious and non-violent offences ; we are considering how to take matters forward in the light of the responses to those proposals.
Column 712Meanwhile, the national standards for community service orders, which came into effect on 1 April, asked probation areas to ensure that community service placements are available for women offenders, including those who are pregnant, and offenders with young children. We are also revising the handbook "The Sentence of the Court" which reflects the Court of Appeal's guidance on the use of custody, and the new edition will refer specifically to women offenders with family responsibilities.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Prison medical officers have statutory responsibility for all aspects of the health care of prisoners. In the exercise of that responsibility they make extensive use of the specialist consultancy, treatment and counselling services of the National Health Service and other outside agencies. Whether such help is called upon in a particular case is a matter for the clinical judgment of the medical officer concerned.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The number of pregnant women released by the exercise of the royal prerogative, between 1979 and 1988 is provided in the table. Information on pregnant women released on completion of their sentences is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|c|Pregnant inmates released by royal prerogative|c| |Number --------------------- 1979 |3 1980 |5 1981 |3 1982 |1 1983 |6 1984 |8 1985 |8 1986 |6 1987 |15 1988 |9
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy on the carrying out of a full social inquiry report on pregnant women and mothers of dependent children before sentencing.
Mr. John Patten : Home Office policy on social inquiry reports is set out in Home Office circular 92/1986. This states that a social inquiry report should inter alia contain information about the defendant's personality and character including the family situation. I would expect social inquiry reports written on pregnant women and mothers of dependent children to draw attention to those facts without fail and to make recommendations that take account of them in order to help the courts decide on a suitable disposal.
Mr. John Patten : Of the people under 21 convicted in 1987, the latest year for which full figures are available, 8 per cent. were convicted of drunkenness or drink-driving offences. No reliable estimate can be made of the extent to which the offences of which the remaining 92 per cent. convicted were alcohol related.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the commissioner that, of the 1,419 members of the Metropolitan special constabulary of 14 March 1989, 9 per cent. (134) were from ethnic minorities and 32 per cent. (460) were women.
61. Mr. Burt : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he is making in negotiations to establish a new European convention on standards of taste and decency in transfrontier broadcasting.
Mr. Renton : Agreement on the final text of the Council of Europe convention on transfrontier television was reached on 15 March. We hope that a decision to open the convention for signature will be taken shortly.
64. Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the average times taken to process non-urgent passport applications at major passport offices ; and what were the comparable times one year ago.
Mr. Renton : The current processing times for straightforward non- urgent postal applications at the six United Kingdom passport offices are shown in the table below, together with those of a year ago. Urgent applications are given priority, and are not normally subject to delay.
@ |c|Average time between receipt of application|c| |c|and issue of passport (working days)|c| Passport office |9 April 1989 |10 April 1988 ---------------------------------------------------------------- London |21 |55 Glasgow |33 |28 Peterborough |26 |27 Newport |33 |17 Liverpool |42 |13 Belfast |4 |3
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend has regular discussions with chief officers of police in the course of meetings, visits and conferences. He has not had any recent formal meetings with representatives of the Association of Chief Police Officers, but will be attending the ACOP drugs conference on 20 and 21 April.
Mr. John Patten : We have welcomed the support local authorities have given the safer cities programme and encouraged their direct involvement in those areas where projects have already been established. We shall continue to seek local authority involvement in the programme as further projects are set up. We have also involved seven local authorities in the two year experiment to test byelaws which prohibit alcohol consumption in particular public places.
78. Mr. Buckley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the imposition of a duty on all local authorities to undertake crime prevention work.
Dame Peggy Fenner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received the Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal's proposals for a dog registration scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
The RSPCA sent to the Department its proposals for a dog registration scheme on 3 December 1987. We have no plans to introduce such a scheme.
Mr. Hurd : Records are readily available only from April 1984. They include no contracts placed with, nor payments made to Sapphire Investigations Bureau by or on behalf of my Department during that period.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received the feasibility study into the privatisation of the Horserace Totalisator Board ; and when he intends to make a statement on the inquiry into the long-term funding of British racing.
Mr. John Patten : I understand that Lloyds merchant bank has completed its work on the feasibility study on the privatisation, and my right hon. Friend expects to receive it soon. As my right hon. Friend explained in reply on 22 March to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for
Column 716Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt) at columns 600-1 he will announce his conclusion on the possibility of an inquiry into the long -term funding of racing when he has considered that advice.
Mr. Hurd : The next ministerial meeting will take place in London on 18 and 19 May. I hope it will give a powerful encouragement to efforts throughout Europe to pass legislation on the confiscation of drugs traffickers' assets and to establish a network of reciprocal agreements. We shall also be discussing AIDS and drug misuse, which is a major problem in a number of European countries, and the growing threat to Europe posed by cocaine.
Mr. Tony Banks : 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 as to the number of police officers deployed on public order duties outside the News International plant at Wapping on 24 January 1987 ; and what were the ranks from commander downwards of those employed, the length of the tours of duty of police officers on that date, and the number of divisions within the Metropolitan district from which officers were drawn.
|Number ------------------------------ Superintendent |1 Chief Inspector |2 Inspector |42 Sergeant |102 Constable |871
A commander and a chief superintendent were initially in charge of police operations ; a deputy assistant commissioner subsequently took charge. The average tour of duty was 8.8 hours. No central record was kept of the number of divisions from which officers were drawn.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Health visitors from the local area health authority regularly visit the three mother and baby units and provide child care advice to inmate mothers. Arrangements for a Department of Health team to inspect the units and report periodically on matters such as child care practice are being considered.
Column 717out into the effects of the imprisonment of a parent who has care of a child on the long-term development of the child.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : None. Research commissioned by the Home Office into the physical and psychological development of babies in prison, compared with those not subjected to this experience, has recently been published by the university of Sussex. We are not aware of any current research into the long-term effects of imprisonment on prisoners' families.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the war crimes inquiry to submit its report to him on the presence of alleged Nazi war criminals in the United Kingdom
Mr. Hurd : The provisional clear-up rate for offences of violence against the person and sexual offences recorded by the police in England and Wales in 1988 was 75 per cent. This is the same figure as that for 1987. The police rightly give high priority to detecting these types of crime.
Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the White Paper, "Broadcasting in the '90s," whether he will take steps to protect the rights of charities to continue to have air time allocated for the purpose of making appeals.
Mr. Renton : There is at present no requirement on the broadcasters to allocate air time to charities for the purpose of making appeals. We shall be considering the general question of positive programme requirements in the light of the responses to the White Paper.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) why relatives of the six persons convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings were not permitted to display a banner saying, in English and Russian, "Justice for the Birmingham Six," near the Guildhall during the visit of President Gorbachev ;
(2) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of the City of London police as to the basis on which a demonstration by relatives and friends of the persons convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich bombings near the Guildhall during the visit by President Gorbachev was broken up ;
(3) if he will call for a report from the commissioner of the City of London police as to how many persons were arrested or detained during a demonstration by relatives and friends of the persons convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings near the Guildhall, during the visit of President Gorbachev ; and why.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police for the City of London that a crowd of several hundred were present to see the arrival of President Gorbachev at the Guildhall. A group was chanting and produced a number of banners which obstructed the view of others. The reaction of the rest of the crowd, and the ensuing arguments and jostling, led the police to direct the demonstrators to move on. They did so but resumed their disruptive behaviour nearby. Further police requests to desist were met with abuse and nine arrests were made in order to prevent a breach of the peace. Those concerned were subsequently released without charge.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why relatives of the six persons convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings were not permitted to display in Whitehall a banner saying, in English and Russian, "Justice for the Birmingham Six," during the visit of President Gorbachev to Downing Street.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that to prevent the occasion of the visit turning into a demonstration, which might infringe sessional orders or lead to a breach of the peace, the police did not allow the display of any banners which required two or more people to hold them aloft.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received the National Association of Probation Officers' report entitled "Women, Children and Custody", dated March 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Mrs. Riffat Iqbal, ref : IMP A421556 and KA55157, applied to the post in Karachi to enter the United Kingdom ; when the application was referred to him ; and when he expects a decision will be taken on this application.
Mr. Renton : Riffat Iqbal applied for entry clearance as a fiancee at the British Consulate-General, Karachi on 10 December 1987. The entry clearance officer was informed on 2 February 1988 that she had married the sponsor on 10 January 1988 in Pakistan. Mrs. Iqbal was interviewed by the entry clearance officer on 3 July 1988 ; following further inquiries, the application was referred to the Home Office for a decision on 8 March 1989. The decision to refuse Mrs. Iqbal's application is to be sent to the entry clearance officer in Karachi today ; Mrs. Iqbal will be informed of this decision and of her right of appeal to the independent appellate authorities once the papers are received there.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the procedures for the revocation of the granting of naturalisation if evidence becomes available that recommendations given in support of the application are unfounded.
Mr. Renton : In circumstances prescribed in section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981, the Home Secretary may deprive a person of British citizenship obtained by naturalisation or registration if citizenship was obtained by fraud, false representations or the concealment of material fact, provided he is satisfied that it is not conducive to the public good that that person should continue to be a British citizen.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration was given to the case of Hosni E. Farhat in reaching the decision to ban the operations of Libyan Arab Airlines from the United Kingdom in October 1986.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement regarding the recommended minimum length of sentence to be served in the case of Hosni E. Farhat ;
(2) whether the decision regarding the recommended minimum length of sentence to be served, in the case of Hosni E. Farhat, was made by the Home Secretary.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The date of the first formal review by the local review committee of a life sentence prisoner's case is determined by the Secretary of State in the light of advice by the trial judge and the Lord Chief Justice on the period of detention necessary to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence in his case, and is normally set three years before the expiry date of that period. Following the judgment of the Divisional Court on 2 March 1987 in R. v. Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Handscomb and others, the date of the first review in cases where a life sentence is imposed at the discretion of the court rather than as the mandatory penalty for murder is fixed strictly in accordance with the judiciary's advice. The date of the first review in Mr. Farhat's case, which had then already been set, was reviewed following the judgment but there was no reason to change it. His case is due to be reviewed in accordance with these arrangements in 1998, when he will have been detained for 17 years.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council on whose authority the limit of six letters allowed to be placed by any hon. Member on the Members' letter board at any one time was established ; what are the reasons behind this limitation ; and if he will review this limitation with a view to its abolition.
Mr. Wakeham : The limit of six letters which right hon. and hon. Members may place on the letter board each day is approved by the Services Committee. Should any greater number be permitted, the handling of urgent mail would be significantly delayed.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council, if he will estimate the cost incurred by the House of hon. Members having to use franked envelopes to communicate with colleagues where they have reached their limit of six unfranked letters on the Members' letter board ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Lord President of the Council what is the procedure for hon. Members' private secretaries to claim redundancy payments in the event of the death of the hon. Member by whom they are employed ; if he has any plans to change the present arrangements ; and if he will make a statement.