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Mr. Michael Forsyth: I received two letters in October form the Prison Officers' Association, which raised matters concerning the pay and conditions of prison officers in England and Wales. Responsibility for this year's pay negotiations and for related conditions of service lies with the Prison Service.

Fire Services

Mr. Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the effects of the standard spending assessment on fire services in South Yorkshire fire authority.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: My right hon. and learned Friend met a delegation from South Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority on 24 August when concern was expressed about the authority's financial position. In September, two members wrote on the authority's behalf about the calculation of the fire standard spending assessment.

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are planned to provide adequate transitional funding in preparation for the establishment of any new combined fire authorities established as a result of the review of local government.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: In England it is proposed that the new combined fire authorities should operate within the same, or as nearly as possible the same, boundaries as existing fire authorities. It is therefore the Government's expectation that the transition to the new arrangements can be made without the need for any of the authorities involved to incur significant additional costs.

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Racially Motivated Attacks

Mr. Deva: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what view he has formed of the effectiveness of current laws to deal with racially motivated attacks; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: All violent attacks are already criminal offences. Racially motivated attacks are particularly abhorrent and that is why the courts can and do take racial motivation into account as an aggravating factor when passing sentence.

We strengthened the process to deal with racially motivated attacks in the Criminal Justice Act 1994 and believe that our laws are now adequate. We must now concentrate on making sure that they are used consistently and effectively across the country to deal with these odious crimes.

Prison Discipline

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he intends to improve the disciplinary regime in prisons; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: The prison disciplinary system, incentives and privileges are all matters which I am currently considering and expect to reach conclusions shortly.

Political Parties

Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce proposals for the registration of political parties.

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


Mr. Hain: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will be monitoring current levels of funding for the West Glamorgan drugs initiative in 1995 96.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: The three-year period of funding for the drugs prevention team in West Glamorgan will be completed in March 1995.


Mr. Sykes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which quangos his Department has abolished since 1979.

Mr. Howard: The information to 1 April 1993 is as follows: Advisory Committee on Suspension and Revocation of Authorities for Wireless Personnel

Advisory Committee on Radio Interference

Advisory Council on the Penal System

Central Committee on Common Police Services

Chief Constables Committees for District Police Training Centres Committee on Training for Justices' Clerks' Assistants

Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship

Conference on Local Government Electoral Law

Criminal Law Revision Committee

Electoral Advisory Conference

Fire Service College Board

Frequency Advisory Committee

Joint Committee for Refugees for Vietnam

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Licensing Planning Committees

Local Authority Committee for District Police Training Centres London Building Acts Tribunal of Appeal

Mobile Radio Committee

New Town Licences Premises Committees

Police Disciplinary (Senior Officers) Tribunal

Police National Computer Policy Committee

Police Advisory Committee on Sexual Offences

Queen's Police Gold Medal Essay Competition Committee

Race Relations Research Advisory Committee

Regional Probation Staff Development Consultative Committee Standing Advisory Committee on Cinematograph (Safety) Regulations

Standing Conference on Crime Prevention

Standing Committee on Probation Manpower Needs

Television Advisory Committee

Wireless Telegraph Appeals Tribunal

Working Party on Magistrates Courts

Mr. Sykes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many quangos his Department was responsible for (a) in 1979 (b) in the latest year for which a number is available.

Mr. Howard: The Home Office was responsible for 282

non-departmental public bodies in 1979, and for 280 on 1 April 1993, the latest year for which a published figure is available.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much money is planned to be distributed to local authorities through section 11 funding in 1995 96; how much of this is estimated will be available for new bids; and how much is committed to on- going projects.

(2) what is the overall level of section 11 funding for each of the last five years; and how much of the section 11 budget has been transferred to the single regeneration budget.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: Expenditure under section 11 in each of the past five financial years was as follows:

Year     |£ millon         


1989-90  |114.8            

1990-91  |135.5            

1991-92  |113              

1992-93  |129.7            

1993-94  |131.2            

The single regeneration budget came into operation on 1 April 1994. The following sums were transferred from section 11.

Year      |£ million          


1994-95   |60.5               

1995-96   |53                 

1996-97   |53                 

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary announced on 22 November, Official Report, column 64 that the Government are making available an additional sum of £15 million in each of the next two financial years for new section 11 projects starting in 1995 96. This has doubled the amount which was earlier expected to be available for new projects, and is additional to previous

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Home Office provision under section 11 of £43.8 million for 1995 96. Precise figures for new funding, and the division of funding between local authorities and other eligible recipients such as further education colleges and grant maintained schools, will depend upon actual expenditure in the current financial year and the outcome of the current applications round for which the closing date has been extended to 30 December.

Miscarriages of Justice

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the responses he received to his consultation on the proposed review body to deal with alleged miscarriages of justice and indicate which of them favoured leaving investigations entirely in the hands of the police.

Mr. Maclean: Fifty individuals and organisations responded to the Government's discussion paper "Criminal Appeals and the Establishment of a Criminal Cases Review Authority". Of the 23 responses which considered the alternative approaches to investigation canvassed in paragraphs 54 to 64 of the paper, 10 favoured inquiries by police forces overseen by the review body; four favoured the secondment of police officers and other investigators to the review body; seven favoured a mixture of these two approaches; and two proposed the exclusion of police officers from any investigation by the review body. Neither the discussion paper nor any respondent to it suggested that investigations should be left entirely in the hands of police forces. The Government have concluded that the review body in investigating cases put to it should have power to commission inquiries by police officers, where appropriate from an outside force, who would work in accordance with the review body's specific requirements and would report to it.


Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what measures are taken to monitor the activities of cults in the United Kingdom;

(2) if his Department has considered agreeing a code of conduct with religious groups, cults and so on with the aim of mitigating their worst excesses.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The Government do not monitor the activities of new religious movements. It is for the police to investigate any allegations of illegal activities on the part of such organisations. The Government believe that it would not be feasible to agree and enforce a code of conduct for religious movements.

Christmas Expenditure

Mr. Bayley: To ask the Lord President of the Council how many official Christmas cards he and his Ministers intend to send in 1994; how much these cards will cost (a) to buy, (b) to post and (c) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes; and if he will place in the Library a sample copy of the official Christmas card he intends to send this year.

Mr. Howard: This year Home Office Ministers intend to send 440 Christmas cards. The cost of purchasing and posting these cards will be £217.14, inclusive of VAT, and £79.20 respectively. It is not possible to estimate accurately the cost in staff time of sending out these

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Christmas cards; but it would be minimal. I have today placed examples of the Home Office Christmas cards in the Library.


Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the responsibilities of his Department in relation to the investigation into the Pan Am 103 crash over Lockerbie.

Mr. Howard: My Department has an interest in any general issues arising from the Lockerbie bombing in view of my overall responsibility for counter-terrorist policy in Great Britain. The Metropolitan police, the forensic explosives laboratory of the Defence Research Agency and many other police forces and agencies have provided assistance to the Dumfries and Galloway constabulary during the course of the investigation.

Computer Pornography

Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about how the outcome of the review of the future of the obscene publications branch will affect investigations into computer pornography.

Mr. Maclean: The Commissioner's management restructuring exercise has been looking at the whole of the Metropolitan police, including headquarters functions and specialist units, such as the obscene publications branch. Its aim is to make the best possible use of resources. Action against pornography remains a high priority. There will be no change in the responsibilities of the obscene publications branch for the investigation of computer pornography.

Firearms Certificates

Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to introduce the five-year shotgun and firearms certificate.

Mr. Maclean: An order was laid before the House on 13 October to extend the life of firearm and shot gun certificates from three to five years. We intend that all certificates granted from 1 January 1995 will be valid for five years.


Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the lowest age of a defendant who has been charged with rape; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean: Statistics on the age of defendants when they are charged by the police are not recorded centrally. Up to the end of 1993, the latest year for which figures are available, the lowest age of a person prosecuted and proceeded against for rape was 13.

Road Traffic Accidents

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he gives to coroners on the collection and recording of evidence in fatal road traffic accidents.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: Coroners are independent judicial officers who carry out their inquiries in

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accordance with procedures laid down in the coroners rules 1984. These include provisions relating to the treatment of witnesses, exhibits and documentary evidence. The collection of evidence for the purpose of an inquest following a fatal road traffic accident is a matter for the individual judgment of the coroner according to the particular circumstances of each case. My right hon. and learned Friend has issued no specific guidance on the matter.

Anthony O'Kere

Mr. Parry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the current case of Anthony O'Kere; and when a final decision may be reached.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: A decision will be made shortly and I will write to the hon. Member.

Political Refugees

Mr. Parry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many political refugees from China are now settled in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The available information is that, in the period 1 January 1979 to 31 October 1994, around 160 Chinese nationals, including associated dependants, were recognised as refugees and granted asylum in the United Kingdom. Chinese nationals granted asylum may apply for settlement after four years. Information on the number of Chinese nationals granted asylum and who were accepted for settlement in 1992 and 1993 is published in table 6.1 of the Command Papers "Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1992" CM2368 and "Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1993" CM2637. Copies of both these publications are available in the Library. Information prior to 1992 is not readily available.

Mr. Parry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report the numbers of political refugees settled in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The available information on those given leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a recognised refugee is that in the period 1979 to end-June 1994 around 44,000 persons, including associated dependants, were given such leave. These comprise some 20, 400 asylum applicants who were recognised as refugees and granted asylum in the United Kingdom, and 23,600 south-east Asian refugees accepted for settlement, mainly on arrival.

Persons granted asylum here may apply for permanent settlement after four years. Information on the number of persons granted asylum and who were accepted for settlement in the years 1979 1993, along with south-east Asian refugees, is published in table 8 of the Home Office statistical bulletin issue 22/90 "Refugee Statistics United Kingdom 1989" and Table 10.1 of Home Office statistical bulletin Issue 17/94 "Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 1993". Copies of both these publications are available in the Library.

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International Drug Trafficking

Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in tackling international drug trafficking.

Mr. Maclean: The Government remain fully committed to the international fight against illicit drug trafficking, as part of their comprehensive anti-drugs strategy, comprising action on supply and demand reduction. Action is being taken forward vigorously by the Government on a number of fronts, aimed at improving the effectiveness of international co- operation against the drug traffickers:

United Kingdom enforcement agencies maintain extensive operational links with overseas counterparts, reinforced by 37 drug liaison officers in 22 countries, who work closely with local law enforcement agencies.

The United Kingdom is playing a prominent part in the development of the European Police Office, Europol, based on a United Kingdom initiative to establish a European drugs intelligence unit. The first stage of Europol, the European drugs unit, formally opened in February 1994. It exchanges and analyses criminal intelligence on drug trafficking and associated money laundering activities affecting European Union member states.

The United Kingdom staff at the Europol drugs unit report to the National Criminal Intelligence Service--NCIS--which provides an intelligence co- ordinating role for police and Customs in this country and a national focal point for exchange of information and intelligence about serious crime, including drug trafficking, and major criminals of international interest.

We actively support the leadership role of the United Nations international drug control programme--UNDPC--supporting a range of multilateral anti- drugs projects worldwide. We also give support bilaterally, through for example the provision of training and equipment to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in appropriate countries. In the last three years, the United Kingdom has provided over £29 million in drug-related assistance overseas. The United Kingdom has continued to encourage countries that have not done so to ratify the 1988 United Nations convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to implement its provisions fully in domestic legislation. The 1988 convention established a solid basis for international co- operation in a number of important areas, such as seizure and confiscation of drug traffickers' assets, mutual legal assistance, extradition, controlled deliveries, precursor control and maritime intervention. Provisions enabling the United Kingdom to ratify the 1988 convention, in June 1991, were included in the Criminal Justice (International Co- operation) Act 1990.

The United Kingdom fully implemented, last year, European Community legislation controlling trade in the precursor and essential chemicals required to manufacture illicit drugs, based on the recommendations of the chemical action task force. We have continued to work within the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations and with other major donors to promote good practice and to ensure more effective action against drugs, particularly in relation to countries of central and eastern Europe.

The United Kingdom recognises the important role of the International Criminal Police Organisation--Interpol--and the World Customs Organisation- -WCO, formerly the Customs Co-operation Council--and supports its activities in a practical way, providing expert practitioners from HM Customs and police to participate in its initiatives. The United Kingdom has been particularly instrumental in the promotion of the WCO's

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initiative on customs/business co-operation against drugs trafficking and has implemented its own national programme of memoranda of understanding with trade associations and members.

Lobbying Companies

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the guidelines issued by his Department to regulate relationships with lobbying companies.

Mr. Howard: There is no specific guidance to staff on relationships with lobbying companies. Staff are, however, bound by the general principles governing the conduct of Crown servants, which require them not to misuse information which they acquire in the course of their duties; not to make use of their official position to further their private interests or those of others; and not to receive gifts, hospitality or benefits of any kind from a third party, which might be seen to compromise their personal judgement or integrity.

"Questions of Procedure for Ministers" provides general guidance for Ministers.

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list and date those occasions over the last two years, when Ministers or officials in his Department have met lobbying companies, prior to a decision being made on the subject of the meeting with the lobbying company.

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

Next Steps Agencies

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the salary and other emoluments of the civil servant who did the work of, or work comparable to that of, the chief executive of each next steps agency established by his Department before the agency was established.

Mr. Howard: It is not the general practice of the Department to publish the salaries of individual civil servants. The salaries of the civil servants running the organisations in the Home Office which subsequently became executive agencies fell within the following ranges:

United Kingdom Passport Agency: £33,970 - £44,996

Prison Service: £62,504 - £73,216

Forensic Science Service: £45,000 - £52,100

Fire Service College: £36,178 - £47,921

There were no emoluments additional to the salary.

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