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31. Mrs. Maureen Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the estimated costs of the Hillsborough police inquiry and the means of funding the West Midlands police responsible for that inquiry.
Mr Douglas Hogg : It is not clear at this stage what the total additional costs of the Hillsborough police inquiry will be. With regard to the means of funding the West Midlands police I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) on 28 April at column 702.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the West Midlands police authority will be fully reimbursed for the costs of the West Midlands police inquiry in support of the judicial review into the Hillsborough stadium tragedy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated cost to public funds of the police inquiry into the Hillsborough football disaster ; and if the costs will be met by his Department.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is not clear at this stage what the total additional costs of the police inquiry into the Hillsborough football disaster will be. With regard to the means of reimbursing the West Midlands police I refer my hon. Friend to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) on 28 April at column 702.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The enforcement of parking and waiting restrictions has been reviewed by a working party under Home Office chairmanship. The working party has recently submitted its report, which we will consider carefully.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Fresh start continues to improve the efficiency of the prison service. The service is on course to achieve the initial implementation efficiencies by the end of 1989-90. Under the framework agreement, half of the hours lost in the progressive reduction in prison officers' working week to 39 hours on 1 April 1992 are being made up by efficiency improvements. A management services group supports prison service managers in achieving best value for money and a programme of efficiency reviews is undertaken. Additional initiatives, including examination of the scope for civilianisation, are also being pursued.
Column 527My right hon. Friend announced on 3 February at column 420, in response to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry), a review of the organisation of the service above the level of individual establishments which is charged with identifying by the end of July the scope for further improvements in effectiveness and value for money.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to improve the organisation and structure of the police forces in the north-west region of England ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten : My right hon. Friend has recently made clear that we shall maintain the present structure of the police service, with responsibility shared under the 1964 Police Act between the chief constable, the police authority and the Home Secretary, while seeking to intensify co-operation within it.
There is provision in the 1964 Act for collaboration and aid between forces. Regional crime squads deal with serious criminal offences, including drugs, crossing force or regional boundaries. My right hon. Friend also has powers to provide common services. Examples include the national drugs intelligence unit, the Police staff college and district training centres, the crime prevention centre, and the police national computer.
Mr. Hurd : I visited Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia between 27 March and 3 April and had a number of useful meetings with senior members of the Governments of those countries. I discussed the scope for intensifying the level of co-operation with this country in a number of fields, including terrorism, drugs, organised crime and police training. In Saudi Arabia, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government to facilitate closer co-operation on these issues.
Mr. John Patten : In addition to the advice of the Association of Chief Police Officers and the recommendations of the Home Affairs Committee, my right hon. Friend has received this year some 130 letters on the subject of a national identity card from hon. Members and from the general public.
39. Mr. MacKay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to strengthen international co-operation against the trafficking and use of cocaine in prisons.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Department plays a full part in international co-operation against cocaine trafficking in general and there is not considered to be a need for separate international steps relating specifically to its misuse or trafficking within prisons.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : None so far this year to my right hon. Friend, but there are continuing discussions on the policing of ports between the Home Office and the forces and police authorities concerned.
43. Mr. Sumberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the number of neighbourhood watch schemes now operating in the Bury area ; and what was the figure five years ago.
Mr. John Patten : At the end of March 1989 there were 336 neighbourhood watch schemes in the Bury metropolitan district division of the Greater Manhester police force area. Five years ago there were none.
Column 5291988" (Home Office Statistical Bulletin issue 13/89), a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Table 8b shows that the proportion of addicts aged under 21 was 14 per cent. in 1987 and 12 per cent. in 1988.
52. Mr. Turner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure greater co-operation between the United Kingdom police and the police forces of European Economic Community partners.
Mr. John Patten : I refer the hon. Member and my hon. Friends to the reply that I gave to questions from my hon. Friends the Members for Dover (Mr. Shaw) and for Ludlow (Mr. Gill) on 2 February 1989 at column 384.
Mr. John Patten : The Home Office action plan on tackling offending encourages probation services to develop local action plans for dealing with more young adult offenders in the community. Intensive probation programmes mainly for young adult offenders at risk of custody are under discussion in 10 probation areas. Grants totalling about £1.5 million over three years have been made available to encourage voluntary sector participation in work with 17 to 20-year-old offenders in the community.
54. Mr. Harris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average number of working days currently taken by the London passport office to process an application for the issue or renewal of a passport ; and what the figure was a year ago.
55. Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women currently detained in Her Majesty's prisons have had children removed into care as a result of their imprisonment.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The West Midlands police authority has applied for an increase of 350 police posts in the force establishment in 1990-91. This will be considered, together with applications from other authorities, with advice from Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary. The aim is to announce increases towards the end of 1989.
My right hon. Friend has recently approved, as a permanent establishment increase, 14 police posts previously held supernumerary to establishment for duties at Birmingham airport. The costs are met by the airport authorities.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Home Office continues to play an active role in the work of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Community as it concerns drugs. In London next week my right hon. Friend and I will be chairing a meeting of Ministers of the Council of Europe's drug co-operation group (the Pompidou group) to consider some of the most urgent drugs problems facing European countries. We shall concentrate particularly on countering the threat posed by cocaine and "crack", confiscation of proceeds derived from illicit trafficking and the problem of AIDS and drug misuse. We hope that the meeting will give renewed political impetus to the valuable work being undertaken by the group and its 19 member states.
Mr. John Patten : In addition to correspondence on the subject from hon. Members, we have received representations from and on behalf of the International Professional Security Association, the Institute of Professional Investigators, the Electrical Contractors Association, "Ex Police in Industry and Commerce", the Retail Consortium, the British Retailers Association, the Multiple Shoe Retailers Association and the Drapers Chamber of Trade. We shall also be considering the views of the working group which has been set up to look at the self-regulation of the industry.
68. Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he will take to ensure that local authorities who stand in loco parentis are obliged to pay court fines imposed upon children in their care.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend has no such plans. Hon. Friends whose constituencies lie within the Warwickshire constabulary force area discussed the establishment of the force with my right hon. Friend on 6 March.
|Number of babies ------------------------------------------------------- Aged under one month |3 Aged 1-2 months |4 Aged 2-3 months |2 Aged 3-4 months |4 Aged 4-5 months |1 Aged 6-7 months |3 Aged 7-8 months |2 Aged 9-10 months |4 Aged 17-18 months |1
Mr. John Patten Community service schemes for convicted offenders must provide some work placements whose purpose is to improve the appearance and amenities of a neighbourhood. Home Office Circular 18/1989 about national standards for community service orders gives as examples for this work : cleaning off graffiti in public places ;clearing litter from paths, pedestrian precincts and bus shelters ; clearing waste ground ; erecting litter bins. Community service orders are available for offenders aged 16 and over.
Mr. Douglas Hogg I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on 13 April 1989 at column 710.
76. Mr. Summerson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many ethnic minority business initiative projects currently receive Home Office funding ; where they are located ; what is the extent of that funding ; and whether it represents an increase over 1988 funding levels.
Mr John Patten The Home Office ethnic minority business initiative funds 10 projects. They are located in Birmingham, Bristol, Brent, Brixton, Deptford, Ealing, Finsbury Park, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth. Funding for the 1988-89 financial year totalled £196,252, which represented a 48 per cent. increase on funding for the 1987-8 financial year.
77 Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the use of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 in connection with the setting up of private police forces.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have received representations from four right hon. and hon. Members (one on behalf of one of his constituents), one noble lord and the chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he has made to representations on the Broadcasting White Paper dated 20 April from the Nottinghamshire chamber of commerce.
Mr. Renton : This letter was acknowledged on 4 May and will be taken into account along with over 3,000 other responses to the broadcasting White Paper. We want to look carefully in the round at all the representations we have received.
Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to implement the recommendation for the appointment within each police force of 75 scene of crime officers per 100,000 notifiable offences.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is for chief officers to decide, in the light of the particular circumstances of their forces, how many scene of crime officers to employ. In making this decision, they will no doubt take fully into account the recommendations of the Audit Commission that each force should employ 75 scene of crime officers per 100,000 notifiable offences.
Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recommendations have been made concerning the police fingerprint service by the advisory group established by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers in February 1988 ; and when he expects to receive the comments of the Association of Chief Police Officers on these recommendations.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The group has so far made recommendations on the introduction of best practice for the collection and maintenance of fingerprint records, guidelines for searching regional and national fingerprint collections and revised training for fingerprint officers to improve the quality of fingerprint marks obtained.
We expect to receive the comments of the Association of Chief Police Officers on these recommendations in the autumn.
Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in evaluating an automatic fingerprint recognition system for use by the police fingerprint service.
Column 534automatic fingerprint recognition systems and are considering the case for providing such a system on a national basis.
Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to ensure that, within police forces, force general orders reflect the powers granted by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to obtain fingerprints.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : No specific steps are considered necessary. The police are bound by the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the codes of practice made under the Act, and it is up to individual chief officers to ensure that their force orders accurately reflect these provisions.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to relax controls on the import of morphine derivatives to provide greater competition in the United Kingdom market.
Mr. Hurd : The Monopolies and Mergers Commission, in its report on the supply of opium derivatives in the United Kingdom, recommended that, in order to increase competition in the United Kingdom market, I should work towards a relaxation of the restrictions which I now maintain on the importation of these products. The restrictions, which are supported by the International Narcotics Control Board, are designed to help limit the volume of international trade in these products, thereby minimising the risks of diversion to the illicit market. Similar restrictions are maintained by a number of other countries, including several of our European Community partners. In the light of the MMC report, I am discussing with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how increased competition may be provided in this field consistent with the need for strict control of supply.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made with the review of the stop-and-search provisions of the PACE codes of practice ; when he expects to be able to make known to Parliament any proposals for change ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We undertook to keep the operation of the codes under review when they were debated in 1985. Last year we initiated a consultative exercise on all the codes and we are currently considering the many responses received. The responses on the stop and search provisions raise some difficult issues which will need careful thought. We hope to be able to circulate revised draft codes for public consultation later this year and then to lay these before both Houses, in accordance with the provisions of section 67 of PACE.
Mr. Alexander : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current car mileage allowance paid to (a) prison departmental staff, (b) police officers, (c) prison local review committee members, (d) prison visitors and (e) members of boards of visitors whilst travelling on official business in their own cars.