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Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Lancashire on the policing implications for the rest of Lancashire of police deployment during the Conservative party 1989 conference.
Mr. John Patten : Responsibility for civil defence planning rests with county councils who are assisted by district councils. We are satisfied that Wiltshire county council, and the district councils within the county, are making good progress towards meeting their statutory obligations.
Mr. Simon Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the figures for the authorised establishment of the Wiltshire constabulary for the last 10 years for which figures are available ; what was the actual strength of the force in post in each year ; and if he will express both as a proportion of the population of the United Kingdom.
Wiltshire constabulary Authorised Strength establishment 31 December |Number |As proportion of |Number |As proportion of |England and Wales |population of England |population of England|population figures<1> |and Wales |and Wales |(per cent.) |(per cent.) |(thousands) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |1,032 |0.002 |1,007 |0.002 |48,870 1980 |1,033 |0.002 |1,032 |0.002 |49,162 1981 |1,035 |0.002 |1,042 |0.002 |49,222 1982 |1,042 |0.002 |1,031 |0.002 |49,573 1983 |1,042 |0.002 |1,030 |0.002 |49,608 1984 |1,042 |0.002 |1,029 |0.002 |49,657 1985 |1,045 |0.002 |1,028 |0.002 |49,767 1986 |1,049 |0.002 |1,037 |0.002 |49,923 1987 |1,074 |0.002 |1,096 |0.002 |50,079 1988 |1,074 |0.002 |1,093 |0.002 |50,244 <1> The population figures are mid-year figures and relate to the previous year in each instance.
Details of the police/population ratio for Wiltshire and for the other police force areas in England and Wales for the last 10 years can be found in the annual reports of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary (appendix 7) copies of which are lodged in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of letters from hon. Members to his Department received a reply (a) in under four weeks, (b) within four to six weeks, (c) within six to eight weeks and (d) over eight weeks, in each of the last three years.
Turn-round time in calendar days |up to 30 days |31-60 days |more than 60 days |per cent. |per cent. |per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1986 |14.5 |46 |39.5 1987 |33 |41 |26 1988 |35 |47.5 |17.5
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for the latest year for which records exist and for the preceding three years, what was the average length of involuntarily separated or unaccompanied tours of duty for personnel in (a) the fire service and (b) the police service.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information about the deaths of persons in custody of the Metropolitan police, including the date, place and cause of death, and the circumstances surrounding the death, has been published, since 1980, in the annual report of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Information prior to 1980 is not available. To provide the names of the persons concerned could cause distress to their families.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Surrey listing the Surrey police officers who visited Birmingham during the pub bombings investigation ;
(2) what liaison took place between officers of the Surrey and West Midlands police forces during the Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings investigations.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : A full list of all Surrey police officers who visited Birmingham in the period referred to cannot be provided. Criminal and other records not part of a major inquiry are destroyed by the Surrey police after at most five years, and by the West Midlands police after seven years. Details of precise liaison between the two forces at that date are similarly unavailable, although there is no reason to think that normal liaison arrangements were not in force.
However, I understand that a team of nine Surrey officers was working in the west midlands area at the time
Column 40of the Birmingham pub bombings investigation. As the hon. Member knows, the actions of the Surrey officers who investigated the Guildford bombings are the subject of inquiries by the Avon and Somerset police. It would be inappropriate for me to identify the individual officers.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for reports from (a) the chief constable of Surrey and (b) the chief constable of the West Midlands as to whether Surrey police officers visited Queen's Road police station in Birmingham between 22 to 25 November 1974.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand that according to the records of the investigation conducted on behalf of the West Midlands police by the Devon and Cornwall constabulary, no Surrey police officers visited Queen's Road police station on the dates in question.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to establish the whereabouts of the non-material evidence in the Birmingham pub bombings case ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : None. I understand that the Devon and Cornwall police attempted to find these documents at the time of their investigation in 1987 and were unable to do so. As far as they could establish, the documents had been destroyed.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what actions he has taken to provide compensation to Carol Richardson, Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Paul Hill for their wrongful imprisonment ; and if he will make an interim payment.
Mr. John Patten : The solicitors representing the four persons have been informed that interim payments will be made. The amount has been assessed by the independent assessor appointed under the provisions of section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. We have also invited them to supply any information they would wish the assessor to take into account in assessing the total amount of compensation that should be paid.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has had the views of Lord Denning on the convictions of those found guilty of the Birmingham pub bombings brought to his attention ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waddington : We have considered a number of views, from Lord Denning and others, on the convictions of those found guilty of the Birmingham pub bombings. My right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) referred this case to the Court of Appeal on 20 January 1987 and after a thorough investigation by the Devon and Cornwall police the court heard the case in November and December 1987. In its judgment, announced in January 1988, the Court concluded that it had no doubt that the convictions were safe and satisfactory. I am always ready to consider new evidence or other information which has not been before the courts and which appears to cast doubt on the safety of the conviction.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received seeking to make hacking, including the laying of viruses, a criminal offence ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten : The Government have received a report from the Law Commission (Law Commission 186, Cm 819) recommending new criminal offences of unauthorised access to a computer and unauthorised modification of computer material. The Law Commission, the Home Office and the Department of Trade and Industry have all received various representations urging legislation on these lines. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has indicated that he is inclined to accept the Law Commission's recommendations, subject to comments from interested parties upon them.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report on the death in custody of Jamie Lloyd Stewart who died at Holloway police station on 4 July ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. The circumstances of Mr. Stewart's death are being investigated by the Metropolitan police under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority. An inquest has been opened and adjourned until January 1990. The case is therefore sub judice.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my hon. Friend the Minister of State gave him on 26 October at column 1031. I recognise that some targets used in non-international disciplines may be regarded as being in poor taste, but I am not aware of any risk to public safety arising from their use. We have no plans, therefore, to prohibit their use.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There is no statutory power under the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1988 to introduce regulations for this purpose. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State informed my hon. Friend on 26 October at column 1031 we are looking most closely at the issue of temporary membership of gun clubs to see whether further controls are necessary.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the Commissioner that, between 7 am on Monday 23 October and 9 pm on Tuesday 24 October, 104 Metropolitan police vehicles were used to provide emergency ambulance cover.
Mr. Chris Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the west midlands as to how many officers were serving with the serious crime squad at the time it was disbanded.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit for class XX vote 10 will be increased by £290,000 from £1,242,000 to £1,532,000. The Privy Council Office running cost limit will be increased by £290,000 from £1,262,000 to £1,552,000. This increase reflects additional expenditure being incurred by the Privy Council Office in respect of recommended security improvements and the acquisition of additional staff following changes in ministerial responsibilities. This increase will be charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : The Select Committee on televising have agreed that the "clean feed" from the Chamber, as it will be provided to the broadcasters after the State Opening, will be shown on two television sets in the Voting Lobbies between 2.30 and 10 pm on Mondays to Thursdays with effect from 1 November. Arrangements are also being made through the usual channels for access to taped material covering proceedings between 2.30 and 5.30 pm.
Column 43involuntarily separated or unaccompanied tours of duty for service personnel in (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Air Force, (c) the Royal Navy, (d) the Royal Marines and (e) the women's services.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Statistics on the average lengths of involuntarily unaccompanied tours of duty are not maintained. The practice in the Army and the Royal Air Force is that postings where personnel are required to serve unaccompanied should not normally exceed six months. For the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines, unaccompanied tours arise mainly when personnel are at sea. The average length of sea postings is about two years, although not all that time will be spent away from home.
|Consultant radiologists |Consultant paediatricians -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Royal Navy |3 |1 Army |5 |5 Royal Air Force |<1>3 |1 |------- |------- Totals |<1>11 |7 <1> Plus 1 part time.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average number of patients per military doctor (a) in the United Kingdom, (b) in the British Army of the Rhine and (c) elsewhere.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of British armed forces are engaged in training Cambodian guerrillas ; where they are based ; what is their rank ; when the programme commenced ; and what has been the cost to public funds.
Mr. Alan Clark : The European Commission last year published a proposal concerning the suspension of import duties on certain weapons and military equipment (European Community Document No. 8461/88, COM(88) 502). We are currently discussing this proposal with the Commission and with NATO Allies. An explanatory memorandum was submitted to the House on 2 December 1988.
Mr. Neubert : Since existing anti-submarine weapons have an effective life extending into the next century, and since we have yet to be convinced that an effective low-cost anti-submarine weapon could be produced, we currently have no plans to develop such a weapon. We are, of course, keeping developments in this area under review.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards the development of the advanced short-range air- to-air missile in the light of the decision of West Germany on 13 July to withdraw from the programme to develop it ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Clark : The RAF has a requirement for an advanced short range air-to-air missile, and the United Kingdom remains committed to the four power family of weapons arrangements for the next generation of air-to -air missiles. Following the German withdrawal, we are considering with Norway and Canada revised proposals from the prime contractor, British Aerospace, for the next stage of the advanced short range air-to-air missile programme.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards the development of the Merlin anti-tank ammunition by British Aerospace ; and what financial support has been given by his Department in every year since the project commenced.
Mr. Alan Clark : The MOD has, at present, no formal requirement for the Merlin anti-tank ammunition. It remains our policy to encourage United Kingdom companies to undertake private venture developments which may have relevance to our future requirements, and we are continuing to take a close interest in the completion of the development of Merlin. The MOD contributed £3.4 million in 1983-84 and £2.2 million in 1984-85 by way of financial support towards the feasibility and systems definition phases of the British Aerospace work.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards the funding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air base at Crotore, Italy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Clark : The United States and the United Kingdom jointly withdrew from this programme because the differing national requirements were considered to be too difficult to reconcile even within a modular programme. The United States wanted a short-range lightweight weapon for use primarily on F16 aircraft ; we wanted a heavier longer-range weapon for use on Tornado.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the importance of equestrian skills for cavalry officers in units which do not have a mounted ceremonial role ; and if he will list those units which have such a role.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Cavalry officers in regiments which do not have a ceremonial role are not required to ride, although they are encouraged to do so. The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery have mounted ceremonial roles.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to have overnight at RAF Chivenor a helicopter such as the Sea King with night radar capacity ; and if he will list the number of incidents resulting in death by drowning off the north Devon coast during the current year to date.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have no plans to alter the present arrangements for the provision of search and rescue cover at RAF Chivenor. I understand that three people have died through drowning off the north Devon coast this year.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, during his discussions with United States Defence Secretary Cheney on 25 October in London, he raised the issues of (a) the implications for United Kingdom and United States commitments to article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty of new nuclear weapons systems deployments and (b) the status of the Fylingdales facility in Yorkshire in regard to the provisions of the anti- ballistic missile treaty.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend discussed a range of matters of mutual interest when he met the United States Defence Secretary on 25 October, but it is not our practice to reveal the details of confidential bilateral discussions of this kind.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on procurement from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) European and (c) United States-owned defence industries.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on procurement from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) European and (c) United States-owned defence industries.
Mr. Turner : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on procurement from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) European and (c) United States-owned defence industries.
Mr. Neubert [pursuant to the reply, 7 February 1989, col. 666] : The following should have appeared in the Official Report : Whilst we have regard for other factors including the location of the manufacturer and the ownership of suppliers, our prime consideration is to obtain the best value for money.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to evaluate the applicability to the United Kingdom of organic farming methods recommended in the report on alternative agriculture, released by the United States National Research Council in September.
Mr. Maclean : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 18 October 1989 to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray) at column 132 which outlined ways in which the Government are encouraging British farmers to respond to demand for organic produce. My Department will also consider the recent American report.
Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the United Kingdom Government's response to the European Commission's proposal to limit the amount of total compensatory payment to individual farm holdings in lesss favoured areas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry : The Government remain strongly opposed to the principle of limits based on farm size. Such limits are particularly difficult to justify in less favoured areas, since there is no correlation between the size of a farm and the
Column 47degree of severity of the permanent natural handicap. I have left the Agriculture Council in no doubt as to the strength of my views on the Commission's current proposals for hill livestock compensatory allowances.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what requirements are stipulated by his Department in respect of the submission of receipts and invoices accompanying claims for payment under agricultural grant schemes operated by his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : The principal farm capital grant schemes currently operated by my Department are the farm and conservation grant scheme and the farm diversification grant scheme. For both, claims for grant must be supported by appropriate documentation which normally consists of a properly receipted invoice. We reserve the right, however, to seek additional information where this is thought necessary to ensure that public money is being properly disbursed.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many staff will be employed in his food safety directorate ; how many of these will be food inspectors ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will make a statement about the remit of his food safety directorate ;
(3) whether he intends to consult outside organisations on the establishment of a food safety directorate ; and if he will make a statement ;
(4) whether he will create any new posts in setting up his food safety directorate ; and if he will make a statement ;
(5) whom he will appoint as the director of his food safety directorate.