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Mr. John Patten : The police give high priority to dealing with street robbery. In 1988 robbery, including mugging, fell by 4 per cent. Certain high-crime urban areas will benefit from our safer cities programme, and we have produced a crime prevention handbook which contains advice on how to reduce the risk of being attacked ; nearly 2.5 million copies have been distributed.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the speed and efficiency of the passport issuing offices ; and if he will consider instituting regional offices for this purpose.
Mr. Renton : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 6 June to a question from the hon. Member for Bolton, South-East (Mr. Young) at column 47. There are at present six regional passport offices in the United Kingdom. Since the great majority of passport applications are usually dealt with by post, the location of the issuing office is not normally a significant factor in determining the speed of service. We shall, however, be reviewing the location and number of offices later this year.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : None directly, though the numbers of people registered to vote in each constituency or electoral area, and the numbers voting, are published after each parliamentary or European parliamentary general election, and following the local government elections in May each year. I understand that an opinion poll carried out by NOP in February/March 1988 found that nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that they would be more likely to vote in local elections when the community charge is introduced.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who compiled the video of the Hillsborough tragedy which was shown to the inquiry on 19 May ; who supervised the editing of it ; what steps he is taking to ensure that the edited-out film was not relevant to the policing of the event ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : These are matters for Lord Justice Taylor, but I understand that the video tape shown on 19 May to his inquiry into the Hillsborough stadium disaster was compiled by the west midlands police inquiry team and the Treasury Solicitor's Department from material supplied to the inquiry by the BBC, South Yorkshire police and Sheffield Wednesday football club. Further material was subsequently shown to the inquiry.
A catalogue of all the video material available to the inquiry has been given to counsel for all the parties represented, who may see any of it if they wish to do so.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Ealing, North of 20 April, Official Report, columns 289-90, what progress has been made with the review of the pay of lollipop ladies and gentlemen ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 325payable to school crossing patrols with effect from1 September 1988. I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the new rates of pay (including the arrears) will be paid from the middle of this month.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he gave to children's television programmes provision in drawing up his White Paper on broadcasting ; if he will take steps to ensure adequate funding for specific high-quality British material for children's television ; and what steps he will take to ensure a minimum adequate level of income for children's programmes on channels 3 and 5.
Mr. Renton : There is at present no specific requirement on the broadcasting authorities to provide children's television programmes, other than schools broadcasts and educational programming--and we see no case for creating such a new requirement in the future. The general approach of the White Paper on broadcasting is that regulatory bodies should no longer seek to lay down in detail what programmes are shown and when. The White Paper makes it clear that the BBC will continue to be expected to provide high- quality programming across the full range of public tastes and interests. The existing remit of channel 4 is also to be fully sustained. As regards channels 3 and 5, the White Paper proposes that licensees should be subject to a series of quality tests including requirements to provide a diverse programme service calculated to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests.
We see no reason why high-quality children's programmes, sustained by viewer demand, should not continue to flourish on British television after 1992.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies his Department has undertaken into the needs of children for high-quality British programmes other than educational programmes on television.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were imprisoned for failing to pay fines imposed for using a television set without a licence in the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 31 March 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, there were something over 3,100 young offenders having to slop out. The proportion of inmates in young offender institutions having to slop out on that date was approximately 46 per cent.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which rules of the European prison rules are not yet complied with by the prison service ; which rules the service does not currently have plans to comply with ; and what are the estimated dates for compliance with those rules which the prison service intends to comply with but has not yet done so.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The European prison rules are intended to guide member states of the Council of Europe in their internal legislation and practice. Her Majesty's prison service in England and Wales complies fully or partially with all of them. Those which are partially complied with are : 1, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 25, 39, 42, 65, 67, 71, 94, 96 and 99. There are at present no plans to comply fully with some aspects of rules 14, 39, 67, 96 and 99. The remainder will be complied with as soon as practicable, but it is not possible to give estimated dates.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it will be possible for participants in the electronic surveillance schemes in England and Wales to remove the equipment during the course of the pilot project.
Mr. John Patten : If a participant who is otherwise suitable does not have a telephone, one will be installed, free of charge. But it will not be possible for him to use it in the normal way : it will provide solely for communication with the central monitoring station through electronic barring at the telephone exchange. The trials will proceed on the basis that participants must be resident in the petty sessional division concerned or be able to make suitable arrangements for such residence during any period of electronic monitoring.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what will be the maximum length of time that a participant can expect to spend tagged in an electronic surveillance scheme in England and Wales.
Mr. John Patten : The information is not available in the form requested. The period for which a participant may be monitored will depend on a number of factors, including whether the case is committed for trial to the Crown court. In such a case the average waiting time from first appearance to completion at magistrates' courts in 1988 was eight weeks. The average time from committal to a Crown court to the start of the case was 12.2 weeks.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the code of conduct concerning the use of firearms by police officers of the Metropolitan police.
Mr. Douglas Hurd : The guidelines on the issue and use of firearms, which apply to all police forces in England and Wales, were revised in December 1986 by the Association of Chief Police Officers in conjunction with the Home Office working group on the police use of firearms.
A copy of these guidelines was placed in the Library on 3 February 1987, as part of a summary of the working group's 1986 report.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to accept applications for political asylum from Chinese students presently studying in the United Kingdom, who fear for their safety if they return to China.
In addition, while the situation in China remains uncertain, we shall look sympathetically at any application by a Chinese national to extend their stay, depending on their individual circumstances.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has sought or received from the Isle of Man authorities regarding police action against Transport and General Workers Union officials, Bernard Moffat and David Quirk, following allegations regarding leaked information ; if he has received representations that such action contravenes the European convention on human rights ; what action he has taken or proposes to take ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend has received no representations on the matters referred to. Having ascertained the facts from the Isle of Man authorities, he is satisfied that the matters are the responsibility of the Isle of Man Government. He has received no indication in this connection of a possible contravention of the European convention on human rights.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the content of training manuals used in police forces in relation to HIV infection, AIDS, hepatitis B, and other similar issues ; and whether copies of such manuals can be placed in the Library.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Individual police force training manuals are not held centrally. However, Home Office circulars have been issued to all police forces in England and Wales giving guidance on AIDS (No. 72/1988 on 12 August 1988) and on hepatitis B (No. 48/1989 on 9 June 1989). Copies were sent to the Library.
Mr. Dickens : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if in view of investigations taking place in the United States of America by the criminal investigation division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Army, chief of police of the state of Utah and the Attorney-General of County Medolino in northern California of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino of the United States Army involving allegations of serious sexual offences against children, he will take steps to deny him entry into the United Kingdom until such time as all allegations have been tested in a court of law in the United States of America ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : It is unlikely that action under the immigration rules could be taken on the basis of untested allegations alone, but should Colonel Aquino either come here or apply for an entry clearance to do so, a decision about his eligibility under the immigration rules would be taken in the light of all the information available at the time.
Mr. Channon : Yes. I expect investment by BR in the railway to be some £781 million this financial year, the highest in real terms since 1962. BR plans to increase its investment by a further 19 per cent. by 1991 -92.
Column 329more than doubling the trunk road programme to over £12 billion, are aimed at relieving congestion on motorways and trunk roads.
We have today launched a new campaign against drinking and driving, using fresh TV commercials and publicity material. The basic message remains that "drinking and driving wrecks lives".
Mr. Portillo : We have received many representations about the importance of rail freight traffic through the Channel tunnel. We have also received representations about the railway lines which British Rail proposes to use to carry this traffic. This is a matter for the board. It is not its current intention to use the proposed new rail link between London and the tunnel for heavy freight trains.
Mr. Portillo : We have received many representations about the importance of rail freight traffic through the Channel tunnel. We have also received representations about the railway lines which British Rail proposes to use to carry this traffic. This is a matter for the board. It is not its current intention to use the proposed rail link between London and the tunnel for heavy freight trains.
19. Mr. Curry : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give figures showing the months of the year with the highest incidence of drinking and driving ; and if he will explain the reasons underlying the Department of Transport's campaign strategy.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : A good indicator of drink-driving patterns is the number of death and injury accidents involving drivers over the legal limit. These tend to peak in the summer as the monthly figures for 1987 (the latest complete year available) show.
That is why we are today launching a summer drink-drive campaign with two new TV commercials, to complement the regular Christmas campaigns.
Column 330The monthly figures are as follows :
Accidents involving death or personal injury where the driver or rider had a blood or alcohol level above the legal limit-1987 |Number ------------------------ January |680 February |740 March |880 April |890 May |1,140 June |1,050 July |1,060 August |1,100 September |970 October |1,030 November |1,020 December |970
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The continuing rapid growth in the demand for non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks ( NABLABS--) show that they are attractive alternatives for the driver as well as others. This sector of the drinks industry has doubled each year over the last two years. NABLABS- - mean that no driver has any excuse at all for drinking and driving. There is always an attractive alternative drink available in pubs and clubs. These should be in restaurants, too. Private hosts should ensure the same is true when they entertain.
22. Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made an assessment of the transport infrastructure requirements of the east coast of England ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : My right hon. Friend announced in "Roads for Prosperity" major improvements to the A1 and other trunk roads in eastern England resulting from our detailed assessment of trunk road needs. It is respectively for British Rail, local authorities and port authorities to assess the need for investment in rail, local roads, airports and ports.
Mr. Channon : Environmental considerations figure prominently in the development of transport policy. We have recently produced a booklet "Transport and the Environment", which describes our action in this area.
In the key area of vehicle emission standards, my noble Friend the Minister for Housing, Environment and Countryside reached agreement last week with our European partners on much stricter limits for small cars. These will take mandatory effect from 1992.
25. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made on the EEC directive proposing to restrict the use of volunteer drivers in the use of vehicles for disabled people owned by charities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We are continuing to press the European Commission at every level to avoid placing unnecessary restrictions on the drivers of minibuses. Formal discussion of the directive among member states is not expected to start before the autumn. The proposal would have the effect of reducing mobility without improving safety.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We shall be consulting soon on draft regulations to implement the standards which were agreed last year in the European Community for cars, buses and goods vehicles. My noble Friend the Minister for Housing, Environment and Countryside reached agreement last week with our European partners on much stricter limits for small cars. These will take mandatory effect from 1992.
27. Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what detailed studies of the comparative cost advantages of road and rail access to major cities he carried out before announcing his latest roads programme.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The relative market shares of road and rail mean that even a 50 per cent. increase in rail travel would be equivalent to less than 5 per cent. of road traffic. Against this background, the Government concluded that the way to tackle congestion on inter-urban roads is by widening existing roads and building new roads, as proposed in "Roads for Prosperity".
37. Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by how much expenditure will have been increased since 1979 on the trunk road and motorway network when his new expanded roads programme is completed.
Column 332"Roads for Prosperity". This will require increased annual expenditure which will be determined in future public expenditure surveys. Capital expenditure on roads has increasd by some 60 per cent. in real terms between 1978-79 and 1989-90.
£ million in 1987-88 prices |1989-90|1990-91|1991-92 ----------------------------------------------- National roads Current |117 |105 |112 Capital |1,138 |1,384 |1,384 Local roads Current |1,639 |1,627 |1,628 Capital |778 |738 |750
Structural maintenance on national roads is classified as capital expenditure, but on local roads local authorities treat it largely as current expenditure.
28. Mr. Prescott : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the report prepared for his Department by Deloitte, Haskins and Sells, entitled, "Study of Structural Options for Railway Privatisation."
Mr. Channon : No. Deloitte, Haskins and Sells was not asked to make recommendations or reach conclusions : its study for the Department and British Rail consists of a set of working papers which will form a basis for further studies. They contain commercially confidential information and would be unsuitable for publication.
If a decision is taken to privatise British Rail, I shall publish the Government's conclusions in due course.
Mr. Portillo : We consider that travellers and freight consigners should generally be free to make their own choices between different means of transport, in the light of their relative cost and quality. The Government's chief concern is to ensure that each means of transport can operate efficiently, provide services linked closely to customer demand, and compete on equal terms.