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Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received on the mailing of lottery tickets to United Kingdom residents and if he has any plans (a) to prohibit participation by British citizens in such lotteries or (b) to permit the promoters of British lotteries to compete on equal terms.
Column 203Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976. In breach of that Act, invitations to participate in a number of such lotteries have been mailed to addresses here. Between 1 January and 30 October 1989 inclusive, three hon. Members have asked us questions related to this postal activity, and we have received 11 letters from hon. Members and 10 from organisations or members of the public about it. These representations have variously complained about this unlawful activity, or suggested that its continuance might argue for the introduction of domestic, major lotteries. We are taking steps to deal with this postal activity.
We do not propose that it should become an offence to participate in a foreign lottery. We keep the arguments for amending our law to allow domestic major lotteries under consideration.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many complaints have been lodged by Kurdish asylum seekers against interpreters ; and how many interpreters have had in excess of three complaints lodged against them since May ; (2) how many interpreters involved in Kurdish cases have been dismissed since 10 May ;
(3) how many investigations have been instituted against interpreters in Kurdish asylum cases since 1 May.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information is not maintained on the basis of ethnic origin. Since May, 13 formal written complaints by Turkish asylum seekers or their representatives have been referred to immigration service headquarters. One interpreter has been the subject of more than three of these since May. Three investigations have been started, of which two have been concluded. No interpreters have been dismissed during this period, but two names have been removed from the list of casually-employed interpreters.
(2) whether he will state the recruitment procedures for interpreters in immigration and asylum cases.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The recruitment of interpreters for permanent pensionable employment with the Home Office is conducted by the Civil Service Commission, which runs an open competition when a vacancy arises. In addition, fee-paid interpreting services are used by the immigration service on an ad hoc basis as required. Applicants are interviewed and assessed for the suitability by senior officers. No formal training is given, but interpreters are instructed to give a direct translation of questions put and answers given.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There are no written instructions for interpreters. Interpreters are briefed by senior officers before their services are used by the immigration service. The conduct of interviews in which an interpreter is used is the responsibility of the interviewing officer.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many interviews between the political asylum unit at Harmondsworth and Kurdish asylum seekers have been cancelled since 1 May at the request of the political asylum unit ; and how many of those interviewees were represented by solicitors or other advisers.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The available information is that of 1,500 interviews booked by the Harmondsworth interview unit, a total of 292 have so far been rescheduled, mostly at the request of the unit. A total of 184 interviewees were represented by solicitors or other advisers at the time the interview was rescheduled.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Turkish Kurds have been held in detention in excess of (a) one month, (b) two months and (c) three months since 1 May ; and of those held in detention in excess of each period, how many were subsequently granted exceptional leave to remain or political asylum.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information is not maintained on the basis of ethnic origin. In the period 1 May-30 October inclusive, 32 Turkish nationals were detained for longer than one month but less than two months ; 23 were detained for longer than two months but less than three months ; and 63 were detained for longer than three months. In all of these cases detainees were subsequently released from detention. Information is not readily available on the outcome of these cases.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Turkish Kurds were held in detention for 12 hours or more following a recommendation by group A that they be granted exceptional leave to remain or political asylum since 1 May.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information is not maintained on the basis of ethnic origin. The other information is not readily available in the form requested. When the immigration service is notified of a decision by the refugee unit of the Home Office that an applicant should be given asylum or exceptional leave to remain, it arranges for the applicant's release from detention as soon as is practicable.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many Turkish Kurds have been served with minded to refuse notices since 1 May ; how many of these have subsequently been granted (a) exceptional leave to remain and (b) political asylum ;
(2) how many Turkish Kurds, refused leave to enter, were subsequently granted exceptional leave to remain or political asylum since 1 May 1989.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : A total of 294 of the Turkish nationals who sought asylum on entry since 1 May have been allowed to remain here on an exceptional basis and 78 have been recognised as refugees under the 1951 convention. Central records do not distinguish at what stage of the procedure leave to enter was granted and this could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Column 205asylum has been submitted by a Kurdish applicant already in the United Kingdom (a) how many have been granted exceptional leave to remain without interview and (b) how many have been granted political asylum for the periods (i) January 1987 to 1988, (ii) July 1988 to 31 December 1988 and (iii) 1 January 1989 to 1 November 1989.
Grants of refugee status or of exceptional leave to Turkish nationals<1> who applied for refugee status when already in the United Kingdom Number of persons |Granted refugee status |Granted exceptional leave ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987 |2 |3 January 1988 to June 1988<2> |<3> |5 July 1988 to December 1988<2> |<3> |15 January 1989 to September 1989<2> |90 |280 <1>The ethnic origin of asylum applicants is not recorded but the majority of Turkish applicants have stated that they are Kurds. <2>Provisional estimates; figures rounded to the nearest 5. <3>=less than 3.
Information on the number of these decisions which were made without interview is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Full information on decisions since September 1989 is not yet available.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : On appointment all immigration officers attend a basic training course which includes training and practice in interview techniques, followed by an intensive period of supervised interviewing of passengers, who may include asylum seekers. The course also includes lectures from officers of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and specialists from the refugee unit of the Home Office, and exercises in the handling of asylum applications. In addition instructions are issued from time to time on the handling of these cases.
Mr. 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 listing the West Midlands police officers who visited Guildford during the pub bombings investigations.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Full records are no longer available to show the movements of west midlands police officers during the pub bombings investigations. Such records as exist do not show that any west midlands officer visited Guildford at that time.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 30 October, Official Report, columns 39-40, if he will ask the Chief Constable of Surrey how many of the nine police officers referred to are still serving.
Column 206most of the police records relating to the time of the Birmingham pub bombings have been destroyed. The nine police officers cannot therefore all be identified. Of the officers that have been identified, I understand that three are still serving.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 30 October, Official Report, columns 39-40, whether normal liaison arrangements included the presence of Guildford police officers at interrogations conducted by West Midlands police with terrorist suspects.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what liaison took place between officers of the West Midlands police force and the Metropolitan police following the Woolwich bombing.
Mr. Straw : 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 circumstances in which police officers were called to the Royal Ordnance factory, Blackburn, following the detention there by civilian guards of a photographer from the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, on Thursday 9 November.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Figures supplied by the police to the national drugs intelligence unit, which may not be complete, show that police forces made crack seizures as follows between 1 January and 31 October 1989 :
Force |Number of seizures --------------------------------------------------------- Greater Manchester |7 Merseyside |5 Lancashire |1 North Wales |1 Nottinghamshire |2 South Yorkshire |1 West Yorkshire |1 West Midlands |9 Surrey |2 Avon and Somerset |9 Dorset |1 Metropolitan |48 |-- Total |87
|£ ---------------------- 1987 |800 1988 |11,500 <1>1989 |21,000 <1> January to September.
I understand that further information is available in the Library.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many written parliamentary questions to him in the parliamentary Session 1988-89 received answers that the information (a) was not available, (b) was not separately recorded, (c) was not centrally recorded, (d) was not recorded in Government statistics and (e) could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost to his Department of answering parliamentary (a) oral and (b) written questions in the parliamentary Session 1988-89.
Mr. Alison : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has, in the context of the review of the organisation of the prison service, to ensure that the headquarters team of the prison chaplaincy can continue to exercise an appropriate supervisory role, on behalf of diocesan bishops, in regard to the ministry in prisons of full- time chaplains ; how this church linkage will be reconciled or integrated with possible changes in the chaplains' operational accountability to governors ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 208retaining a chaplain general for the prison service, with a small team of staff providing professional support to chaplains and contributing to the development of policy on the role of chaplains in the service. There are no proposals for changing chaplains' operational accountability to governors.
We have yet to reach decisions on the report's proposals. Any new organisational structure for the prison service would have to take account of the role of the relevant Church authorities in respect of the appointment and ministry of chaplains.
Mr. Waddington : Following the two recent tragic shooting incidents in the Greater Manchester police area I have considered carefully whether further steps need to be taken to tighten controls on gun clubs in the interest of public safety.
Under section 15 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 a member of a rifle or pistol club approved by the Secretary of State may, without holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession a firearm and ammunition when engaged as a member of the club in, or in connection with, target practice. This exemption does not extend to club members who are involved in competition, for which a firearm certificate is required.
Both of the recent shootings involved a person who had gained access to firearms and ammunition by signing on as a day member of a shooting club. Having reviewed the matter carefully, I am minded to decide that in future clubs operating day or temporary membership schemes shall no longer be approved by me. Any applicant for probationary membership of an approved club will be required to be sponsored by two full members of the club both of whom are firearm certificate holders.
Probationary members when in possession of firearms or ammunition will be required to be constantly supervised by the range master or a full member of the club holding a firearm certificate. Probationary members, who must under the club's scheme remain probationers for at least six months, must also be given a course of instruction in the safe use of guns. No club should at any time have more probationary members than full members.
These proposed arrangements reflect the high standards which already operate in many approved clubs. I have no wish to impose unreasonable burdens on genuine gun clubs. But the public have a right to expect that they should be operated with proper regard for public safety. The package of controls which I propose will help to ensure that only those genuinely interested in pursuing the sport will attain full membership. It will also help to exclude those interested in guns for the wrong reasons. It will also ensure that probationary members are properly selected, supervised and instructed.
Approved gun clubs will continue to be encouraged to offer properly constituted probationary membership schemes for novice shooters. They will also be allowed to organise open days for those interested in taking up the sport, but those attending will not be allowed to possess, handle or use firearms. Full members of approved gun clubs will continue to be allowed to become visiting members of other approved clubs.
Column 209Section 15 of the 1988 Act which came into operation on 1 July 1989 gives the police new power to enter and inspect club premises. This power will be used to ensure that clubs are complying with the provisions of the section and any limitations in the Secretary of State's approval.
Before reaching a final decision on these proposed new controls I am asking the Firearms Consultative Committee as a matter of urgency to let me have its views following its next meeting on 30 November.
Mr. John Patten : The three pilot studies started according to schedule in the Nottingham, North Tyneside and Tower Bridge magistrates courts on, respectively, 14 August, 18 September and 23 October. As at 10 November we have received notification that 76 defendants in these areas had been recommended for consideration of the grant of bail subject to a condition of electronic monitoring ; of these cases, 26 were granted bail by magistrates and Crown courts subject to this condition ; of these, 14 are still on bail and being monitored. Electronic monitoring as a condition of bail is granted by the courts only in those cases where a defendant would otherwise have been remanded in custody. These cases therefore represent 26 defendants who, but for the availability of electronic monitoring, would have been remanded immediately in custody.
Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government have reached a conclusion on their response to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Brogan and others concerning detention under the prevention of terrorism legislation.
Mr. Waddington : The European Court of Human Rights held in the case of Brogan and others that the detention of the four applicants under schedule 12 of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 (now schedule 14 of the Act of 1989) constituted a breach of article 5(3) of the European Convention on Human Rights because none of the applicants was brought "promptly" before a judicial authority. Under schedule 14 a person who is arrested on reasonable suspicion of involvement in acts of terrorism may be held by the police for a maximum of 48 hours during which period the necessity for continued detention must be reviewed regularly by a senior police officer not involved in the investigation. The Secretary of State may then extend that period of detention up to a maximum of a further five days before that person must either be released, or must be charged or excluded from a part or whole of the United Kingdom.
Since the court delivered its judgment on 29 November 1988 the Government have been considering whether it would be possible to introduce a judicial element in the procedure for authorising extensions of detention in a way which would be compatible with the provisions of the convention and which would not weaken the effectiveness of their response to terrorism.
Column 210The Government believe that in the context of the continued threat to the United Kingdom, on a scale unknown elsewhere in Europe, posed by terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland the power to hold terrorist suspects for a period of up to seven years is essential. The continued necessity for this power--and the other powers in the Prevention of Terrorism Act--is reviewed annually by both Houses of Parliament.
Decisions to authorise the detention of terrorist suspects for periods beyond 48 hours may be, and often are, taken on the basis of information, the nature and source of which could not be revealed to a suspect or his legal adviser without serious risk to individuals assisting the police or the prospect of further valuable intelligence being lost. Any new procedure which avoided those dangers by allowing a court to make a decision on information not presented to the detainee or his legal advisor would represent a radical departure from the principles which govern judicial proceedings in this country and could serious affect public trust and confidence in the independence of the judiciary. The Government would be most reluctant to introduce any new procedure which could have this effect. The Government further believe that the present arrangements represent reasonable safeguards for the detained person. They guarantee to the suspect an early review of the continued need for his detention, provide that any extension of that detention beyond two days must be authorisied by the Secretary of State, and that he must be released, charged or excluded within a maximum of seven days from his arrest.
The Government have concluded that a satisfactory procedure for the review of detention of terrorist suspects involving the judiciary has not been identified. The derogation notified on 23 December 1988 under article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights must and will therefore remain in place for as long as circumstances require. The derogation is limited to the powers under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 to detain for up to seven days those suspected of involvement in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on (a) the frequency with which the £400 maximum fine has been imposed for littering under the Litter Act 1983 and (b) the average fine recorded for this offence.
Defendants found guilty and fined under the Litter Act 1963 England and Wales Year |Total found guilty|Total number fined|Number fined £400 |Average fine (£) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1986 |1,425 |1,390 |3 |35 1987 |1,694 |1,628 |1 |35 1988 |1,607 |1,555 |2 |40
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in the last 10 years have been killed in the course of carrying out duties involved in investigating drug-related crime.
Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 3 November 1989] : Twenty- five police officers in England and Wales died in the course of their duties as a result of murder or manslaughter between 1978 and 1988 inclusive. Details of the circumstances surrounding these deaths are not held centrally. It is not therefore possible to determine in which of the cases the officer was investigating an offence, and, where he or she was doing so, whether or not there was any form of drugs connection.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many defendants have been electronically tagged since the scheme became operational ; how many of these defendants have breached the conditions of their bail ; and how many have experienced difficulty in obtaining benefit because of the length of their curfew.
Persons electronically monitored<1> in Home Office trials Trial area |Number of defendants|Number breaching |monitored |conditions<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Nottingham |13 |5 North Tyneside |<3>9 |3 Tower Bridge |4 |1 |--- |--- Total |26 |9 <1> As at 10.00 am on 10 November 1989. <2> Defendants breaching bail conditions or committing further offence. <3> One of these persons has been monitored twice. Following arrest for breach of conditions a further recommendation for monitoring was accepted and conditions reimposed. Note: Two of the persons monitored in Nottingham have been sentenced to periods of imprisonment, one for 12 months and the other for 18 months. One person in north Tyneside had his bail conditions altered to exclude electronic monitoring.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security is writing to the hon. Member about the question of eligibility for benefit.
14. Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any meetings arranged with Scottish university principals to discuss the effect of student loans upon Scottish four-year degree courses.
31. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any meetings arranged with Scottish university principals to discuss the effect of student loans on Scottish four-year degree courses.
114. Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any meeting arranged with Scottish university principals to discuss the effect of student loans upon Scottish four-year degree courses.
118. Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how he plans to ensure that disabled students are not disadvantaged by the current proposals in the White Paper on top-up loans for students.
Mr. Jackson : The top-up loans scheme has been designed to apply to students in a variety of circumstances and those of disabled students have not been overlooked. They will remain eligible for the additional allowances available with the grant and will retain their entitlement to social security benefits. After their courses, they will be protected by the provisions for deferment of repayments and write-off of the debt if their income is low.