Home Page

Column 165

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 10 June 1992

HOME DEPARTMENT

Offences

Mr. Quentin Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of males reaching the age of 30 years in 1991, or in the latest year for which statistics are available, had at some time committed (a) a notifiable and (b) a summary offence.

Mr. Jack : The information is not available in the form requested. Of all males born in 1953, one third had been convicted of a standard list offence by the age of 30. The information has been produced from a series of Cohort studies of persons born in 1953, 1958 and 1963, published in Home Office statistical bulletin issue 32/89 "Criminal and custodial careers of those born in 1953, 1958 and 1963", a copy of which is in the Library.

Data Protection

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's arrangements for consulting the Data Protection Registrar during the planning stage of any initiative involving the collection, use or disclosure of personal data ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Officials are aware of the need to consult the registrar about proposed legislation or other initiatives which might affect or be affected by the Data Protection Act 1984, and will consult him as necessary when planning the collection, use or disclosure of automated personal data.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will describe each separate index of personal data stored on the intelligence and investigation unit at Harmondsworth ; how many items of data are stored under each index ; how many entries are in each index ; and what was the number of accesses to each index over the last year.

Mr. Charles Wardle : There are two databases on the Immigration Service's intelligence and investigation unit's computer at Harmondsworth which contain personal data :

the ISIIU index contains information considered to be of long term immigration interest ;

the United Kingdom passport abuse database contains information about United Kingdom passports which have been detected in fraudulent use.

Individual records in the ISIIU database contain 11 fields of information. Those in the United Kingdom passport abuse database contain 15, of which 11 are the same as in the ISIIU index. The ISIIU database contains about 500,000 records ; the United Kingdom passport abuse database about 3,500. No record is kept of the number of accesses to either database.


Column 166

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will describe, in a form that does not jeopardise the prevention of crime or national security, the circumstances when the security services or the Customs and Excise (a) have terminal access to police computers or (b) can receive information from police computers.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Access to police computer systems and the disclosure of information from these systems and from the police national computer are matters for chief constables.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect on privacy of freely available copies of the council tax valuation lists, in relation to the list's combination with (a) the electoral register, (b) the credit reference agencies and (c) vendors of databases derived from public sources ; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None. Any evidence of misuse of automated personal information will be investigated by the Data Protection Registrar, who has responsibility for enforcing the Data Protection Act 1984.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meetings he has held with bodies representing the views of data subjects in relation to the European Commission's proposals for a data protection directive.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None since taking up this post, but the then Minister of State had one such meeting on 21 February 1991. Ministers and officials are regularly informed of the views of all who have an interest in data protection, whether as data subjects or data users.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will describe each category of suspect index made available to officials at ports of entry ; how many suspect persons are under each category ; how many items of data are stored about each category ; and what was the number of accesses made to each index over the last year.

Mr. Charles Wardle : There is a single suspect index, the purpose of which is to alert the immigration officer to take action in respect of an individual who might not be identified in the course of routine examination. The index currently contains about 10,000 entries. No record is kept of the number of occasions on which it is consulted by immigration officers.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will describe each separate index of personal data stored on INDECS ; how many items of data are stored on INDECS under each index ; how many entries are in each index ; and what was the number of accesses to each index over the last year.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Data are stored on INDECS according to a unique arrival number and relate to the immigration status of individuals given conditional leave to enter the United Kingdom on a non-permanent basis under the terms of the Immigration Act 1971. In each case, details entered on the landing card are recorded together with the expiry date of the leave to enter. The number of data elements linked to the arrival number will range from 20 to 40 according to the conditions applying and the


Column 167

number of subsequent movements in and out of the United Kingdom. There were 2.8 million records on INDECS at the beginning of June 1992. Information on the number of accesses to the system is not available.

Police Officers (Attacks)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in respect of 1990 and 1991 (a) how many police officers were attacked on duty, (b) how many of their assailants were charged and (c) how many were convicted.

Mr. Jack : Information collected by Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary shows that in England and Wales 17,568 police officers were assaulted on duty in 1990 and 18,372 in 1991. No information is collected centrally on how many assailants were charged or convicted. A survey covering the second half of 1991 showed that 2,500 offenders were sentenced for assaults against the police during that period. The results of this survey were published in Home Office Statistical Bulletin 3/92, a copy of which is in the Library.

Trespass

Mr. Hawksley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce a Bill to make trespass a criminal offence ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : We have no plans to extend the criminal law to all cases of trespass. However the Government


Column 168

recognise that the current law relating to squatting in premises is unsatisfactory and we have recently completed a consultation exercise which sought views on a range of possible options for improving the protection available to owners and legitimate occupiers. We are presently considering what action would be appropriate in the light of responses to that exercise.

Prisons

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list, by prison establishment, the current number of inmates held ; what is the recommended establishment per Her Majesty's prison ; and what was the comparable figure 12 months ago ;

(2) if he will list by Her Majesty's prison establishment, the current number of inmates held per cell ; what was the comparable figure 12 months ago ; and if he will indicate those establishments where women are held.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The number of inmates held in each Prison Service establishment in England and Wales and the certified normal accommodation (CNA) for 4 June 1991 and 4 June 1992 for those establishments are shown in the table.

Information on the number of inmates held per cell is not collected centrally. But on 10 May (the latest date for which figures are available) 9,392 inmates were being held two to a cell designed for one, 1,294 fewer than 12 months ago. The number of prisoners being held three to a cell designed for one was 1,038 which was 969 fewer than in May 1991.


Column 167


Establishment       |Population      |Certified normal|Population      |Certified normal                 

                    |4 June 1991     |accommodation   |4 June 1992     |accommodation                    

                                     |4 June 1991                      |4 June 1992                      

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Acklington          |514             |676             |626             |676                              

Albany              |357             |389             |293             |309                              

Aldington           |109             |127             |126             |127                              

Ashwell             |385             |404             |395             |404                              

Askham Grange<1>    |103             |134             |107             |129                              

Aylesbury           |239             |296             |236             |241                              

Bedford             |244             |171             |250             |170                              

Belmarsh            |374             |360             |760             |841                              

Birmingham          |993             |575             |959             |567                              

Blantyre House      |87              |87              |95              |95                               

Blundeston          |398             |410             |336             |410                              

Brinsford           |-               |-               |339             |336                              

Bristol             |394             |379             |415             |374                              

Brixton             |1,061           |739             |773             |630                              

Brockhill           |241             |161             |155             |160                              

Bullingdon          |-               |-               |386             |635                              

Bullwood Hall<1>    |95              |119             |104             |126                              

Camp Hill           |453             |461             |422             |481                              

Canterbury          |337             |230             |173             |207                              

Cardiff             |457             |338             |425             |325                              

Castington          |260             |300             |294             |300                              

Channings Wood      |579             |594             |570             |594                              

Chelmsford          |374             |244             |360             |244                              

Coldingley          |246             |299             |220             |222                              

Cookham Wood<1>     |119             |120             |117             |120                              

Dartmoor            |526             |619             |521             |599                              

Deerbolt            |354             |404             |383             |422                              

Dorchester          |208             |152             |200             |139                              

Dover               |220             |347             |265             |312                              

Downview            |276             |286             |283             |286                              

Drake Hall<1>       |189             |262             |186             |261                              

Durham<1>           |880             |640             |805             |579                              

East Sutton Park<1> |75              |84              |87              |90                               

Eastwood Park       |89              |134             |86              |134                              

Elmley              |-               |-               |313             |635                              

Erlestoke           |212             |218             |206             |218                              

Everthorpe          |265             |304             |223             |228                              

Exeter              |403             |243             |430             |317                              

Featherstone        |585             |599             |541             |599                              

Feltham             |781             |874             |734             |874                              

Finnamore Wood      |84              |116             |87              |112                              

Ford                |518             |568             |518             |536                              

Frankland           |421             |432             |327             |332                              

Full sutton         |424             |634             |463             |624                              

Garth               |503             |512             |456             |512                              

Gartree             |276             |320             |235             |245                              

Glen Parva          |736             |854             |687             |854                              

Gloucester          |254             |200             |169             |107                              

Grendon             |196             |225             |190             |226                              

Guys Marsh          |112             |180             |116             |240                              

Haslar              |103             |105             |109             |110                              

Hatfield            |151             |180             |175             |180                              

Haverigg            |331             |351             |322             |351                              

Hewell Grange       |109             |136             |137             |136                              

Highpoint           |773             |824             |717             |747                              

Hindley             |384             |323             |404             |323                              

Hollesley Bay       |305             |569             |307             |569                              

Holloway<1>         |504             |517             |461             |517                              

Holme House         |-               |-               |193             |649                              

Hull                |600             |402             |349             |277                              

Huntercombe         |159             |166             |211             |225                              

Kingston            |141             |150             |93              |96                               

Kirkham             |569             |632             |516             |632                              

Kirklevington       |75              |106             |-               |-                                

Lancaster           |239             |186             |257             |186                              

Latchmere House     |31              |127             |58              |131                              

Leeds               |960             |627             |938             |591                              

Leicester           |332             |205             |326             |200                              

Lewes               |431             |230             |373             |301                              

Leyhill             |409             |410             |403             |410                              

Lincoln             |578             |391             |606             |389                              

Lindholme           |752             |800             |723             |800                              

Littlehey           |527             |593             |530             |543                              

Liverpool           |1,158           |931             |1,192           |931                              

Long Lartin         |417             |432             |352             |362                              

Low Newton<1>       |229             |167             |305             |199                              

Maidstone           |515             |549             |511             |517                              

Manchester          |180             |185             |337             |350                              

Moorland            |-               |-               |627             |620                              

Morton Hall         |155             |168             |164             |168                              

The Mount           |305             |484             |386             |484                              

New Hall*           |101             |122             |146             |122                              

North Sea Camp      |187             |202             |201             |204                              

Northallerton       |186             |146             |192             |148                              

Northeye            |225             |249             |206             |210                              

Norwich             |467             |495             |466             |421                              

Nottingham          |221             |218             |204             |218                              

Onley               |419             |520             |409             |460                              

Oxford              |157             |121             |161             |121                              

Parkhurst           |220             |239             |225             |286                              

Pentonville         |811             |754             |791             |756                              

Portland            |465             |527             |421             |439                              

Preston             |492             |408             |426             |331                              

Pucklechurch*       |49              |56              |61              |56                               

Ranby               |334             |363             |345             |347                              

Reading             |253             |184             |114             |184                              

Risley*             |399             |417             |370             |417                              

Rochester           |313             |306             |256             |306                              

Rudgate             |292             |300             |289             |300                              

Send                |100             |101             |108             |113                              

Shepton Mallet      |241             |175             |193             |158                              

Shrewsbury          |293             |176             |251             |168                              

Spring Hill         |214             |210             |201             |210                              

Stafford            |742             |606             |733             |657                              

Standford Hill      |366             |384             |361             |384                              

Stocken             |394             |396             |387             |396                              

Stoke Heath         |276             |360             |281             |300                              

Styal               |170             |258             |201             |189                              

Sudbury             |506             |523             |453             |523                              

Swaleside           |498             |504             |496             |504                              

Swansea             |315             |229             |281             |213                              

Swinfen Hall        |178             |182             |170             |172                              

Thorn Cross         |204             |300             |208             |300                              

Thorp Arch          |148             |150             |128             |163                              

Usk                 |192             |240             |198             |241                              

The Verne           |590             |600             |564             |580                              

Wakefield           |652             |753             |621             |638                              

Wandsworth          |1,335           |1,275           |1,214           |965                              

Wayland             |572             |580             |580             |580                              

Wellingborough      |203             |344             |275             |314                              

Werrington House    |95              |110             |109             |110                              

Wetherby            |156             |196             |163             |196                              

Whatton             |162             |161             |201             |204                              

Whitemoor           |-               |-               |414             |518                              

Winchester          |564             |530             |481             |458                              

Wormwood Scrubs     |865             |743             |703             |472                              

Wymott              |766             |816             |755             |768                              

The Wolds           |-               |-               |113             |320                              

<1> Establishment holding females.                                                                       

Police (Absence from Duty)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct chief constables to maintain separate records in respect of absences from duty of police officers due to (a) injury on duty and (b) other sickness.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) on 20 May, column 141. Separate records are already maintained on absences from duty of police officers due to sickness as a result of assault on duty, and other sickness. The recent issue of guidance about the recording of data will ensure that more accurate information is collected.

Prevention of Terrorism

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by (a) year and (b) nationality for the last 10 years the number of people detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts.

Mr. Jack : Information on the number of people detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts in Great Britain is given in Home Office Statistical Bulletin 9/92 "Statistics on the operation of prevention of terrorism legislation--1992 first quarter". Table 1 contains annual information about detentions in connection with Northern Irish terrorism for the past ten years. The information for international terrorism is given in table 2 for the period since the introduction of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 on 22 March 1984. A copy of this bulletin is in the Library. Information on the nationality of those detained under the legislation could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Automatic Fingerprint Systems

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has held with the Data Protection Registrar with respect to the standardisation of automatic fingerprint systems (a) within the United Kingdom and (b) as part of the Trevi arrangements.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None. It is the responsibility of individual chief constables to register their local computer systems with the Data Protection Registrar. As for the national automatic fingerprint identification system being


Column 172

implemented by the Home Office, it is still too early in its development for useful discussions about it and its relationship to the Trevi arrangements to be held with the registrar.

Boundary Commissioners

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the parliamentary boundary commissioners and assistant commissioners for the Yorkshire and Humberside area, giving their period of office, and appropriate qualifications.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Madam Speaker is chairman of the Commission. The other members are :


                       |Appointed by      |Period of                            

                                          |appointment                          

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Justice Knox       |Lord Chancellor   |1.1.91-31.12.95<1>                   

Miss Sheila Cameron QC |The Home Secretary|3.3.89-31.12.92                      

Mr. David Macklin      |The Secretary of  |16.2.89-31.12.92                     

                       |State for the                                           

                       |Environment                                             

<1> Deputy Chairman. First appointed 1 January 1987.                            

The deputy chairman is required to be a High Court judge. No other formal qualifications are prescribed.

The Home Secretary has appointed the following assistant commissioners for the purpose of conducting local inquiries during the general review of constituencies currently being undertaken by the Commission :

Miss Caroline Alton

Michael Findlay Baker Esq, QC

George Robert Bartlett Esq, QC

Francis Martin Thomas Burkett Esq

John Anthony Bush Esq

James Charles Gibbs Esq

David Thomas Hallchurch Esq

Simon Tristram Hammond Esq

Michael Guy Vicat Harrison Esq, QC

Christopher Robert Jervis Esq

William Martin Kingston Esq

Brian Joseph Knight Esq, QC

Michael Edward Lewer Esq, QC

Humphrey John Lloyd Esq, QC

Donald Alexander McConville Esq

John Oliver Neligan Esq

David Price Esq

John Edward Anthony Samuels Esq, QC

Paul Anthony Spencer Esq

John Victor Williamson Esq


Column 173

Additional assistant commissioners will be appointed in due course. Appointees are usually senior lawyers with extensive court experience, nominated by the Commission.

Commisioners and assistant commissioners are appointed to consider proposals for constituencies across the whole of England. Where practicable, local inquiries are conducted by assistant commissioners from a nearby area.

Vehicle Clamping

Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received regarding the clamping operation being run by Nationwide Carpark Services ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : I have been asked to reply.

I receive correspondence from time to time regarding the activities of wheelclamping companies on private land but have no record of receiving any representations concerning Nationwide Carpark Services. The issues concern the rights of private citizens on land off the highway. Unlike wheelclamping on-street, the activities of wheelclampers off-street are governed by common law, not by statute. We are keeping the matter under review.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Student Grants

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many full-time third level students (a) have had to withdraw from their course and (b) returned to their course after a period of absence due to illness, during the past five academic years.

Mr. Hanley : The information requested is as follows :


<

Academic       |Withdrawals   |Returned                     

year           |due to illness|to course                    

------------------------------------------------------------

1986-87        |158           |135                          

1987-88        |162           |136                          

1988-89        |148           |126                          

1989-90        |148           |117                          

1990-91        |159           |121                          

               |-------       |-------                      

Totals         |775           |635                          

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what current financial provisions exist to support full-time third level students during periods of absence from their course, as a result of illness ; and if he will introduce appropriate regulations to provide for such students who do not as a result receive education grant or other benefits.

Mr. Hanley : Students retain their entitlement to grant under the Students Awards Regulations for periods of illness lasting not more than 28 days. Students can also apply for a student loan if they are still meeting course attendance requirements. Assistance from access funds may also be obtained.

Income support and housing benefit are available throughout the year to prescribed groups of students, in particular, lone parents and disabled people. Any student who is ill for more than 28 weeks and has been submitting medical evidence can claim benefits available to disabled students.


Column 174

There are no plans to change the current arrangements.

Vehicle Licensing Authority

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the average length of time taken to process an application for (a) a driver's licence, cars, (b) an HGV licence, (c) a PSV licence, (d) a provisional driving licence and (e) a driving test.

Mr. Atkins : The average processing times are as follows : --An ordinary driving licence (cars)--15 working days.

--An IGV (formerly known as HGV) licence--16 working days. --A PCV (formerly known as PSV Bus) licence--16 working days. --A taxi driver licence (initial)--43 working days.

(renewal)--6 working days.

--A provisional driver licence--15 working days.

--A driving test--43 working days.

Applications for LGV and PCV licences which have to be referred to the medical authorities or the police for further advice on average take twice as long.

Figures for taxi driver licences and driving tests were provided by the chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency.

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the average monthly number of (a) drivers licences, (b) HGV licences, (c) PSV licences, (d) provisional driving licences and (e) driving test applications processed by the Vehicle Licensing Authority in the most recent year for which figures are available.

Mr. Atkins : The information requested is as follows (based on 1991- 92 financial year) :


                                         |Number       

-------------------------------------------------------

Driver licences                          |6,900        

LGV (formerly known as HGV) licences     |910          

PCV (formerly known as PSV Bus) licences |910          

Taxi driver licences                     |123          

Provisional driver licences              |2,900        

Driving test applications                |4,175        

Figures for taxi driver licences and driving test applications were provided by the chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency.

Parole

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners were scheduled for parole in 1992 ; and of these how many have subsequently had their hearings postponed.

Mr. Mates : There is no system of parole for prisoners in Northern Ireland. However, there are schemes which allow for the temporary release of prisoners on compassionate grounds, summer and Christmas home leave for the longest serving prisoners, and pre-release leave.

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners were scheduled to have their sentences reviewed by the Life Sentence Review Board in 1992 ; and how many of these have subsequently been informed that their reviews have been postponed.

Mr. Mates : A total of 80 indeterminate sentenced prisoners cases are scheduled for review by the Life


Column 175

Sentence Review Board during 1992. Thirty seven of these have been reviewed to date, of these, the review board decided to defer 11 cases for further review.

Police Complaints

Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will lay before Parliament the annual report of the Independent Commission for Police Complaints for Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : The report, which is the fourth annual report produced by the Commission since its inception in 1988, has been laid before Parliament today. It reflects the Commission's considerable efforts to maintain and build upon its relationship with both the public and the Police Service. It also continues the essential process of promoting wider understanding of what the Commission is required to do and how it does it by providing detailed and helpful explanations of a number of important aspects of its work. These include how the Commission supervises complaints against the police, its role in disciplinary proceedings following a complaint and the procedure by which relatively minor complaints are resolved informally. It makes clear that, as is right and proper, the police are accountable to the community they serve.

I am grateful to the Commission for all its work. I have no doubt that it will continue to contribute significantly to the enhancement of public confidence in the police. I know it will continue to apply its own high standards of objectivity and impartiality--thus ensuring that complaints against the police are thoroughly and fairly investigated. In doing so it will have my fullest support.

Rathfriland Ward

Mr. Trimble : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any representations have been made, directly or indirectly, through the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference or otherwise, to Her Majesty's Government or the Boundary Commissioner by the Government of the Republic of Ireland concerning the proposal to transfer the ward of Rathfriland from Newry and Mourne district council to Banbridge district council.

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 2 June 1992] : Responsibility for reviewing local government boundaries and wards rests entirely with the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner who is independent of Government. At the inter-governmental conference meeting in November 1991 both Governments took note of the Commissioner's independence in drawing up his recommendations. At no time during the current review have representations been made by either the United Kingdom or the Irish Government, directly or indirectly, to the Commissioner about the Rathfriland ward.

DEFENCE

Support Management Group

Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much accommodation is required to house the support management group and related command units following his review, together with ancillary domestic accommodation for personnel.


Column 176

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Some 19,200 sq m of office accommodation ; and 1,760 sq m of workshop and hangar space. The estimated requirement for domestic accommodation is some 350 married quarters, and some 270 mess spaces. The requirement for domestic accommodation for support staffs would vary according to location chosen, and the eventual provision of domestic accommodation would depend on the individual circumstances of those involved.

Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the sites examined as potential accommodation for the relocation of the support management group with or without the related logistics command units, in the vicinity of Harrogate.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Harrogate itself ; the MOD site at Pennypot ; RAF Church Fenton ; and RAF Linton on Ouse. The latter two sites were assessed as homes for technical support services, with and without the support management group.


Next Section

  Home Page