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Mr. Peter Lloyd : I am replying because chain letters involving money-making schemes have in some cases been held by the courts to be illegal lotteries under provisions now contained in the Lotteries and Amusement Act 1976 because they have the overall object of distributing money by chance. The schemes are also subject to the general criminal law on theft and fraud, for the enforcement of which--including the tracing of suspected offenders--the police are responsible.

Whether a particular scheme is an illegal lottery is a matter which only a court could decide. The advice given


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to recipients of "get-rich-quick" schemes is to ignore their claims or, if they wish to take matters further, to pass offending materials to the police for consideration and possible investigation. Information on prosecutions under the 1976 Act involving chain letter schemes is not held centrally.

During 1993-94 the Home Office received seven letters from Members of Parliament on behalf of constituents and four letters from members of the public about chain letter schemes. None of the letters concerned participants who had suffered financially.

Gammahydroxybutyrate

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he intends to propose to control the availability and promotion of gammahydroxybutyrate ; and what assessment he has made, and on what basis, about the availability of gammahydroxybutyrate in England and Wales and its promotion on a commercial basis.

Mr. Maclean : Gammahydroxybutyrate--also known as GHB or GBH--is manufactured in the United States of America for use as an anaesthetic. It is not available as a licensed medicine in the United Kingdom but the manufacture, advertisement and sale of the substance fall within the scope of the Medicines Act 1968 as it has pharmacological effects.

We understand that the Medicines Control Agency, an agency of the Department of Health, is currently investigating its promotion and sale following recent press reports that the substance is being marketed in the United Kingdom. The maximum penalties on indictment for advertising, production and sale of an unlicensed medicine are two years imprisonment and/or a fine of £5,000.

Gammahydroxybutyrate has only recently emerged as a drug of misuse in the United Kingdom. We understand it has a stimulant effect if taken in small doses and that larger doses can cause vomiting, drowsiness, depressed breathing and heart rate. The first reported seizure of GHB was made in April this year using powers under the Medicines Act 1968.

There have been up to now only a few reports of

gammahydroxybutyrate misuse and we have no plans at present to bring it under the controls of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The key criterion for bringing a substance under the Act's controls is whether misuse of the substance has or is capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem. The position is being kept under review.

Escort and Custody Services

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks are carried out by the police on applicants who apply for work at contracted-out prisons and for the contracted-out court escort service.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 29 June 1994 :


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The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the checks carried out by the police on applicants who apply for work at contracted out prisons and for the contracted court escort service.

In my letter of 22 June, Official Report, column 171, I referred to the routine enquiries that are made about all people who wish to work at contracted out prisons and for the contracted court escort service. These investigations are similar to those made in relation to applicants for Prison Service employment and include checks made by the police against records held in the Criminal Records Office. Candidates applying for employment in custodial duties and escort functions in both the public and the private sector are exempted from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 by the Rehabilitation Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. Convictions which ordinarily are regarded as "spent" are therefore taken into account.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 22 June, Official Report, column 169, how many grades of employee working in the court escort service in the Metropolitan police area there will be when Securicor takes over the contract ; what will be the pay for each grade ; and how the pay and grading compare with that of the current incumbents.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 29 June 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of grades of employee working in the court escort service in the Metropolitan Police area when Securicor takes over the contract ; the pay for each grade and how the pay and grading compare with that of the current incumbents.

There are two basic uniformed grades, prisoner custody officers and supervisory prisoner custody officers, excluding the senior management and administration staff at Securicor's headquarters. The core grades who are currently performing these duties are police constables and police sergeants, prison officers and senior prison officers.

The pay of prisoner custody officers is determined by the contractor concerned. Details are not held by the Prison Service and it is for the contractor to decide whether they should be made public.

Market Testing

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his Department's policy towards the publication of external consultants' reports in relation to market testing.

Mr. Charles Wardle : A decision on whether to publish a particular report by external consultants in relation to market testing would be based on all the relevant circumstances, including any necessary commercial considerations.

Paedophile Unit

Mr. Alison : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are expected to be taken to enhance the effectiveness of the new paedophile unit at the National Criminal Intelligence Service in the context of the possible disbanding of the obscence publications branch at Scotland Yard.

Mr. Charles Wardle : No proposals about the future of the obscene publications branch have yet been made, but


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the Metropolitan police has given assurances that its work will continue whatever the recommendations of the current headquarters and specialist units' review.

The branch is an operational unit, responsible for the investigation of paedophile offences. The paedophile unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service is a non-operational, national intelligence unit. The two units have different and distinct roles and it would not be appropriate for the National Criminal Intelligence Service to take on any operational functions from the branch.

Firearms Certificates

Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been raised from the issue of firearms and shotgun certificates in each year since 1990 and in the current year to date ; and when he expects to make an announcement of the outcome of discussions on the levy attached to firearm and shotgun certificates.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The following sums have been raised from the issue and renewal of firearm and shotgun certificates.


Year      |£                  

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

1990      |5,286,500          

1991      |5,130,200          

1992      |4,988,800          

Figures are not yet available for 1993 or 1994. An announcement on the outcome of the current review of firearms fees will be made as soon as possible.

Secure Training Centres

Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now name the fifth site for a secure training centre covering the London and south-east area.

Mr. Maclean : The centre will be located on Home Office land at Cookham wood in Kent adjacent to, but separate from, the Prison Service establishment.

Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make draft rules for secure training centres available to the House.

Mr. Maclean : Rules for the regulation and management of secure training centres will be made by statutory instrument and, as such, will not be available in their final form until after the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill receives Royal Assent. However, in order to indicate to potential contractors what areas the rules will cover in order to assist them in formulating their tenders, an administrative paper has been prepared which outlines proposed rules for secure training centres. A copy of this paper has been placed in the Library today.

Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now publish details of the design and build specification of the proposed secure training centres for young offenders.

Mr. Maclean : I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of the design and build specification, together with an associated note to tenderers containing information on performance standards.


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Criminal Offences (Charges)

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in tabular form which actions have been made criminal offences by legislative changes for each year since 1979, giving details of the Act which brought about the change.

Mr. Maclean : The information requested is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Firearms

Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearm permits and shotgun certificates were issued in Wales in 1993 ; and what are the projected figures for 1994.

Mr. Charles Wardle : A total of 2,976 firearms certificates were issued in Wales during 1992--701 new certificates and 2,275 renewals--and 20,481 shot gun certificates were issued--3,252 new certificates and 17,229 renewals.

Figures for 1993 are not yet available and it is not the practice to make projections for the future.

Police Cars

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many civilians have died in each of the last five years in accidents involving police cars.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The centrally available information relates to accidents where death to civilians has arisen in the course of either police pursuits or responses to emergency calls.

The figures for England and Wales are as follows :


Year       |Civilian             

           |fatalities           

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

1989       |36                   

1990       |23                   

1991       |30                   

1992       |28                   

1993       |28                   

Single Regeneration Budget

Mr. Sutcliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect of the inclusion of section 11 funding into the single regeneration budget on metropolitan authorities.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Existing commitments under section 11 will continue to the end of the approved project life. Thereafter, the allocation of funding under the single regeneration budget will be determined on the basis of applications reflecting local priorities, within the terms of the bidding guidance. The specific aims of the budget include initiatives intended to

"enhance the employment prospects, education and skills of local people, particularly the young and those at a disadvantage, and promote equality of opportunity"

and to

"promote initiatives of benefit to ethnic minorities".


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Immigration

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many different individuals have been detained under the Immigration Act powers during the most recent 12-month period ; and how many of them were (a) asylum seekers and (b) others.

Mr. Charles Wardle : In 1993, 10,530 people were detained overnight or longer under powers contained in the Immigration Act 1971. These records do not distinguish between asylum seekers and others.

Drink Driving

Mr. Miller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many notifiable offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs there were in (a) 1992 and (b) 1993, when the criteria used to calculate the 1991 figures are applied.

Mr. Maclean : The offence of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drugs or alcohol was created by the Road Traffic Act 1991. Since 1992 police forces have provided the Home Office with the number of offences of causing death by dangerous driving together with the number of offences of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These combined figures for 1992 and 1993 were published in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin, "Notifiable Offences England and Wales 1993". It is not possible to ascertain what the numbers of offences would have been if the pre-1992 classification were still in place.

Combat 18

Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the activities of Combat 18 ; and what plans he has to ban the organisation.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The Government deplore the activities of any group which advocates violence. The police are well aware of the activities of Combat 18 and any alleged attacks or intimidation should be reported to them. There are no statutory powers to proscribe organisations in Great Britain other than in the special circumstances provided for in the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Arrests

Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested by the Metropolitan police each year from 1980 to 1993.

Mr. Maclean : The information requested is given in the following table :


Arrests made by the           

Metropolitan Police for       

notifiable offences, 1980 to  

1993                          

Year      |Number of          

          |arrests            

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

1980      |105,017            

1981      |97,276             

1982      |100,804            

1983      |99,258             

1984      |104,017            

1985      |109,786            

1986      |103,084            

1987      |109,706            

1988      |108,706            

1989      |111,420            

1990      |116,865            

1991      |113,570            

1992      |100,426            

1993      |93,020             

Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested in each police force area in England and Wales in 1992 and 1993.

Mr. Maclean : The information requested is given in the following table :


Arrests in England and Wales in 1992 and 1993, by police force area                     

Police force area                 |Arrests in       |Arrests in                         

                                  |1992             |1993                               

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

Avon and Somerset                 |35,532           |36,874                             

Bedfordshire                      |17,220           |18,136                             

Cambridgeshire                    |17,787           |18,307                             

Cheshire                          |30,688           |30,603                             

Cleveland                         |29,462           |29,430                             

Cumbria                           |21,132           |20,020                             

Derbyshire                        |24,241           |23,309                             

Devon and Cornwall                |33,538           |35,049                             

Dorset                            |18,716           |16,826                             

Durham                            |24,828           |24,986                             

Essex                             |41,986           |38,526                             

Gloucestershire                   |18,284           |17,341                             

Greater Manchester                |121,466          |123,996                            

Hampshire                         |62,016           |61,991                             

Hertfordshire                     |25,313           |25,388                             

Humberside                        |35,324           |30,926                             

Kent                              |54,254           |52,551                             

Lancashire                        |62,345           |63,285                             

Leicestershire                    |22,859           |22,287                             

Lincolnshire                      |21,286           |15,175                             

London, City of                   |4,516            |5,202                              

Merseyside                        |75,634           |70,414                             

Norfolk                           |19,750           |19,386                             

Northamptonshire                  |19,906           |19,873                             

Northumbria                       |70,734           |69,907                             

North Yorkshire                   |23,020           |23,867                             

Nottinghamshire                   |46,733           |41,512                             

South Yorkshire                   |46,297           |46,324                             

Staffordshire                     |38,935           |38,322                             

Suffolk                           |16,612           |15,758                             

Surrey                            |20,511           |17,846                             

Sussex                            |38,365           |37,844                             

Thames Valley                     |59,144           |57,748                             

Warwickshire                      |13,612           |15,439                             

West Mercia                       |35,042           |36,269                             

West Midlands                     |135,262          |131,753                            

West Yorkshire                    |84,332           |63,407                             

Wiltshire                         |13,860           |15,624                             

Dyfed Powys                       |14,823           |14,325                             

Gwent                             |17,552           |18,708                             

North Wales                       |24,568           |25,674                             

South Wales                       |57,412           |57,030                             

                                                                                        

England and Wales (excluding MPD) |1,594,897        |1,567,238                          

                                                                                        

Metropolitan Police<1>            |100,426          |93,020                             

<1>Notifiable offences only.                                                            


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Asylum Seekers

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much in cash terms and in constant prices the Government spent in 1980, 1990, 1991 and 1992 on the reception of asylum seekers.

Mr. Charles Wardle : There are no formal reception arrangements for asylum seekers. They are entitled to a range of statutory benefits and services which are available to the rest of the population. The Government provide funding to voluntary organisations to advise and assist newly arrived asylum seekers, and to meet the costs of short term, emergency accommodation and maintenance for destitute asylum seekers before they gain access to the statutory system. Grants to voluntary organisations for this purpose for the financial years 1990-91, 1991-92, and 1992-93 are set out in the table and taken at 1990 prices. No grants were made to assist the reception of asylum seekers in 1980.


           |Cash terms|Constant             

                      |prices               

Year       |£         |£                    

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

1990-91    |312,000   |312,000              

1991-92    |830,650   |781,421              

1992-93    |939,600   |851,087              

Commercial Vehicles (Accidents)

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the verdicts of unlawful killing which have been recorded by coroners in relation to accidents involving (a) light goods vehicles and (b) PCVs over the last five years.

Mr. Charles Wardle : This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

European Elections

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will cause an inquiry to be undertaken, in cases where European law forbids the revelation of names and addresses of nominators of a candidate in European Union elections and where there are prima facia grounds for complaint, which could examine the bona fides of the nominators and investigate the background and political and financial connections of relevant candidates whose departure abroad makes them unavailable for questioning ;

(2) if he will cite the precise European statute which prohibits (a) other candidates and (b) members of the public from having sight of candidates' nominators, their names and addresses, in an election to the European Parliament.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We know of no such European law. As is the case at parliamentary elections, at European parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom candidates and the elections agents, proposers and seconders of candidates may attend the proceedings and inspect the nomination papers during the period for delivery of nomination papers. The addresses of the proposer, seconder and assentors are not given on nomination papers, although their electoral numbers are given. The names of


Column 623

the persons nominating and seconding a candidate for election to the European Parliament are published in the statement of persons nominated.

UK Det. Services Ltd.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the contractors have defaulted on any part of the contract to manage Blakenhurst prison ; what was the nature of the default on each occasion ; and what was the penalty imposed.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 28 June 1994] : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 29 June 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about Blakenhurst prison.

Default notices have been issued against the contractors on two occasions and payment has been withheld on one occasion. Under the terms of the contract, a default notice may be issued if satisfactory progress has not been made within 20 days of a warning.

On the two occasions where default notices have been issued, the first related to security in cells and the second to maintenance. These problems were rectified satisfactorily. There are no default notices outstanding at present.

In the light of the incident on 24 February which occurred in one of the houseblocks, the Prison Service did not consider that UKDS fully delivered the required service during that month. During the incident, some parts of the prison were not fully in control, with consequent effects on regime delivery ; and public relations and contingency arrangements were not satisfactory. The areas where the service was not considered to be up to the required standard were outlined in my letter of 12 April (Official Report, Column 3). There was a financial penalty imposed, and the sum which was withheld from UKDS was £41,166.90, exclusive of VAT, which in our judgement represented the extent to which the required level of service had not been delivered in February.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the Home Office has given consent for United Kingdom Detention Services Ltd. to alter the services provided under the terms of the contract to run Blakenhurst prison ; and what alterations were made.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 28 June 1994] : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 29 June 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of occasions on which consent has been given for United Kingdom Detention Services Ltd. to alter the services provided under the terms of the contract to run Blakenhurst Prison ; and what alterations were made.

It was agreed in May 1994 that United Kingdom Detention Services Ltd. could alter the contractual basis on which two of the services were provided. First, the number of hours out of cell was reduced from 15 to 14. Second, visiting arrangements were changed to take account of actual visiting patterns. As a result the visiting period has been changed from 13.00-- 21.00 to 13.00 20.00, and additional morning visits, particularly during school holidays, at Christmas and on other Bank Holidays, have been added.


Column 624

LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

House of Commons

Mr. Walden : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement on the origins of the 10 o'clock rule in respect of business of the House ; what assessment he has made to its suitability to current conditions ; and what plans he has to change it.

Mr. Newton : The origins of the 10 o'clock rule lie in the 1880's. Following a report from the Select Committee on Parliamentary Procedure in 1886, William Smith, the then First Lord of the Treasury, proposed in 1888 a series of rules of procedure. The impetus for the regulation of the hours of the House resulted from a series of very late sittings in the previous sessions. The hours of sitting of the House have been regulated by Standing Order since 1888 to the present day, except during the period 1940-47 when they were regulated by Sessional Order. Prior to 1888 only Wednesday and morning sittings were regulated.

I am currently having discussions with the hon. Member for Newcastle Upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown), in the light of the report of the Select Committee on Sittings of the House. The report did not however envisage a change to the 10 o'clock rule.

Disabled People

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will set up a Select Committee specifically to consider the needs and rights of disabled people.

Mr. Newton : I have no plans to do so.

DEFENCE

Parachute Jumps

Ms Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 March, Official Report, column 749, about static line fatalities, whether the four fatalities were included in "Static Line Fatalities Under Training", published in October 1992.

Mr. Hanley : Of the four static line parachute jump fatalities at Weston-on-the-Green between 1978 and 1983 included in my answer of 16 March, three were listed in October 1992 in a document entitled "Static Line Fatalities Under Training". The fourth, that of Private Bradshaw on 13 June 1978, was not included owing to an administrative error.

Ms Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the accident during military training at Weston-on-the- Green in August 1972 involving Nicholas James.

Mr. Hanley : Senior Under Officer Nicholas James sustained concussion and injuries to his legs and lower spine as a result of a military parachute training accident at Weston-on-the-Green on 15 August 1972. He was treated at the John Radcliffe hospital, Oxford and later returned to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The accident was caused by SUO James becoming entangled with the parachute of another parachutist during the course of his descent.


Column 625

Ms Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the accident during military training at Weston-on-the- Green on or about 13 June 1978 involving John Bradshaw.

Mr. Hanley : Private Bradshaw, a regular soldier on the military basic parachute course, died on 13 June 1978 as a result of the injuries sustained in an accident at Weston-on-the-Green. Private Bradshaw's parachute pack made contact with the door post of the aircraft as he exited, causing him to become entangled in the parachute rigging line and the canopy only partially to open. Private Bradshaw did operate his reserve parachute, but too late to allow its full deployment.

Accountancy Firms

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contracts and for what total sum were let out by his Department and agencies for which it is responsible to (a) Coopers and Lybrand, (b) KPMG Peat Marwick, (c) Ernst and Young, (d) Price Waterhouse, (e) Arthur Andersen, (f) Touche Ross, (g) Grant Thornton, (h) Robson Rhodes and (i) Pannell Kerr Forster for (i) privatisation, (ii) market testing, (iii) management advice, (iv) accounting, (v) audit, (vi) consultancy and (vii) other services in (1) 1980 to 1983, (2) 1984 to 1987, (3) 1988 to 1991 and (4) 1992-93.

Mr. Hanley : The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Public Bodies

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department which are required to lay their annual reports before Parliament.

Mr. Hanley : There is no formal requirement for any of my Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies to lay their annual reports before Parliament. The annual reports in respect of the Dartmoor steering group and working party and the Review Board for Government Contracts have, however, been placed in the Library of the House on previous occasions.

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which are required to produce annual reports.

Mr. Hanley : The following advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by my Department are required in their terms of reference to produce an annual report :

(i) The Dartmoor Steering Group and Working Party ;


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