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Freedom of Information

Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will bring forward proposals for a Freedom of Information Act.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: No. Current open government initiatives plus the further commitments set out in the White Paper on Open Government, Cm 2290, will provide a more practical alternative to freedom of information legislation.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Badgers

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals to amend the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 to allow police officers powers of entry on to private land.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: We have no plans to do so.

Asylum Seekers

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of those who applied for asylum (a) since 26 July 1993 and (b) since 1 January 1994, and are liable to detention under paragraph 16(1) and 16(2) of schedule 2 and paragraph 2 of schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971 have been detained under these provisions.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: On 28 October 1994 a total of 702 people who had sought asylum were detained. This figure includes people awaiting the setting of directions for removal following refusal of the application, as well as those whose application was under consideration or subject to appeal. Of this figure, 332 were detained under paragraph 16(1) of schedule 2, 306 under paragraph 16(2) of schedule 2 and 64 under paragraph 2 of schedule 3 of the Immigration Act 1971. Information on the percentage of those applying for asylum since 26 July 1993 and 1 January 1994, who were detailed, is available only at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been detained under the provisions of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 (a) since 26 July 1993 and (b) since 1 January 1994; and how many asylum seekers are currently detained under those provisions.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 refers to appeals from the immigration appeals tribunal. It has no provisions for the detection of asylum seekers, but at 31 October 1994 there was one case in detention awaiting the outcome of such an appeal.

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are currently detained under the Immigration Act 1971; and how long, on average, those detainees have been held.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: On 28 October 1994 a total of 702 people who had sought asylum were detained. This


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figure includes people awaiting the setting of directions for removal following refusal of the application, as well as those whose application was under consideration or subject to appeal. Of this figure, 216 had been in detention less than one month, 118 between one and two months, 262 between two and six months and 106 had spent longer than six months in detention.

Police

Mr. George: To ask the Secretary of State for Home Department what the actual establishment for the police was for each year since 1978 in (a) England and Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) the west midlands and (e) H division, Walsall.

Mr. Maclean: The information for England and Wales and the West Midlands police is set out in the table. The position in Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The setting of divisional establishments within the West Midlands police is for the chief constable to decide.


Establishment of police service in England and Wales<1>               

as at 31 December                                                     

              |England and  |West Midlands|H Division                 

Year          |Wales        |Police       |(Walsall)                  

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

1978          |118,967      |6,509        |423                        

1979          |119,765      |6,509        |423                        

1980          |120,261      |6,509        |423                        

1981          |121,353      |6,684        |421                        

1982          |121,480      |6,684        |419                        

1983          |121,802      |6,684        |419                        

1984          |122,233      |6,684        |419                        

1985          |122,457      |6,684        |417                        

1986          |123,514      |6,684        |424                        

1987          |124,370      |6,684        |427                        

1988          |125,390      |6,754        |451                        

1989          |126,592      |6,830        |450                        

1990          |127,588      |6,893        |459                        

1991          |128,265      |6,958        |461                        

1992          |128,972      |6,977        |460                        

1993          |128,859      |6,977        |470                        

1994<2>       |128,954      |6,991        |470                        

<1> Includes central service, regional crime squads and inter-force   

units.                                                                

<2> Establishment as at 31 August 1994.                               

Mr. George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional police officers have been released to operational duties as a result of civilianisation in the past five years in each of the following areas: (a) England and Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) the west midlands and (e) H division Walsall.

Mr. Maclean: Over the last five years--1989 to 1993--the following number of police officer posts have been civilianised thereby releasing those police officers for redeployment to other tasks. It is a matter for individual chief officers to decide how these additional resources should be used.

England and Wales - 3,327 posts

West Midlands police - 61 posts

Progress on civilianisation within Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Information on H division Walsall is not readily available.


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Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the organisations consulted on the issues covered by the Home Office review of core police functions.

Mr. Maclean: Consultation is currently under way with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Superintendents Association, the Police Federation, the Association of County Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. My right hon. and learned Friend will decide on the appropriate level and type of wider consultation in the light of recommendations made by the review in its final report at the turn of the year.

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the nature, length of time and extent of the consultation exercise he intends to carry out in response to the recommendation of the Home Office review of core police functions.

Mr. Maclean: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 21 July, columns 493-94 .

Drinking Ban, Yarm

Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made towards imposing a ban on drinking in public places in Yarm, Cleveland.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The Home Office gave provisional approval on 31 October to the making of byelaws by Stockton-on-Tees borough council prohibiting the consumption of intoxicating liquor in designated parts of Yarm and Thornaby; and to the making of similar byelaws by Yarm town council in respect of two areas under its control.

Prisons

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will be announcing the findings of his review into prison day release and home leave procedure.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: I have reviewed the arrangements for home leave and temporary release and expect to be able to announce our detailed conclusions shortly.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average cost per prisoner place, at the latest available date.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 24 October 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 2 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question on the average cost per prisoner place.

The average cost per prisoner place in 1993-94 was £22,712. This figure excludes exceptional items consisting of the costs of holding prisoners in police cells and compensation for abandonment of plans to relocate the Prison Service headquarters to Derby.

Dorset Police Authority

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department from which police authorities police officers were seconded to Dorset police authority to police the annual Conservative party conference in


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Bournemouth; and how many officers were seconded from each of those authorities.

Mr. Maclean: It is not the practice to provide details of security arrangements.

Quangos

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which former hon. Members of this House have been appointed since 1988 by his Department to quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations; and if he will list, in each case, the title of the post, the salary, the duration of the appointment and the party which each represented as an hon. Member.

Mr. Howard: The following former Members have been appointed to Home Office non-departmental public bodies since 1988.

David Bellotti

Trustee of the Community Development Foundation

Expenses only

Appointed January 1992 for 3 years

Liberal Democrat

Right Hon. Lord Carlisle of Bucklow, QC

Chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Salary £31,350

Appointed 1 March 1989 until 31 March 1995

Conservative

John Cartwright

Deputy Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority

Salary £44,750

Appointed for 3 years from 1 August 1993

SDP

Sheila Faith

Former Member of the Parole Board

Fee Paid; £139 per attendance

Appointed 1 June 1991 for 3 years

Conservative

Ben Ford

Member of the Firearms Consultative Committee

Expenses only

Appointed 1989 for 2 years

Labour

Cecil Franks

Member of the Parole Board

Fee Paid; £149 per attendance

Appointed 1 August 1994 for 2 years

Conservative

Lord Kimball

Chairman of the Firearms Consultative Committee

Expenses only

Appointed for 5 years from 1989

Conservative

Anna McCurley

Member of the Horserace Betting Levy Board

Salary £11,640

Appointed 1988 for 3 years extended until 1994

Conservative

Michael Meadowcroft

Trustee of the Community Development Foundation

Expenses only

Appointed 1986, extended until 1994

Liberal

Norman Miscampbell, QC

Member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Fee £246 per day

Appointed 22 March 1993 until 31 March 1995

Conservative


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Lord Wyatt of Weeford

Chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board

Salary £90,918

Appointed 1976; reappointed 1993 for 2 years Labour

Information in respect of the parole local review committee is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The committees ceased to exist from October 1994.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average cost to his Department of answering (a) a written and (b) an oral parliamentary question.

Mr. Howard: I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the then Financial Secretary to the Treasury, my right hon. Friend the member for Loughborough (Mr. Dorrell), to my hon. Friend the member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) on 30 November 1993, column 391 .

Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill

Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from Cleveland on the measures against crime in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill.

Mr. Maclean: My hon. Friend has himself informed us of a number of representations which he has received about the Bill, and we have also received a small number--in similar terms--direct from members of the public in Cleveland.

I am confident that the people of Cleveland generally will appreciate that fears expressed about the Bill are misplaced and that it has a valuable part to play in fighting crime and protecting the public.

Film Censorship

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to require that if the British Board of Film Classification finds it necessary to edit a section of a film under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill the board should state in full the reasons for the editing of the film.

Mr. Maclean: The British Board of Film Classification already provides the owner to the rights of a video in which it requires cuts with an explanation of those cuts. Owners who consider the decision by the board to be overly strict have a right of appeal to the video appeals committee, which has the power to vary the decision made by the board.

If in future the board reviews a work already classified before the introduction of the new statutory criteria, the owner of the work will similarly have the right of appeal against any fresh decision by the Board.


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