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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
Column 616to 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.
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.
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.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 29 June 1994 :
Column 617The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Column 618the 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
The figures for England and Wales are as follows :
Year |Civilian |fatalities --------------------------------- 1989 |36 1990 |23 1991 |30 1992 |28 1993 |28
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"
"promote initiatives of benefit to ethnic minorities".
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. 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.
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 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
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.
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
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. 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 623the persons nominating and seconding a candidate for election to the European Parliament are published in the statement of persons nominated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
(i) The Dartmoor Steering Group and Working Party ;