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Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 6 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking for a definition of a prison riot.
A riot is defined in section 1 of the Public Order Act 1986, a copy of which will be found in the Library of the House. Riot can take place in a public or private place, including a prison. There is also an offence of prison mutiny which is defined in section 1(2) of the Prison Security Act 1992, a copy of which can also be found in the Library.
In addition, the Prison Service maintain statistics on the number of acts of concerted indiscipline which take place. Concerted indiscipline takes place when two or more prisoners refuse to conform to the rules and regulations of a prison. Such incidents include both passive disobedience and active indiscipline.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam of 25 January, Official Report, column 230, if he will list candidates assessed as of an acceptable standard for the post of Director General of the Prison Service; and in what order of suitability those candidates were placed.
Mr. Howard: No. Candidates put themselves forward for posts in the civil service on the understanding that their applications are treated in confidence. It is not the practice to make public details of candidates who are not appointed.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 18 January, Official Report , column 534 , which prison the prisoners at large had escaped from; what their offence was; and for how long they have been on the run.
Column 112Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 6 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about prisoners unlawfully at large.
The total number of prisoners who have escaped since 20 June 1988 and are still unlawfully at large at 13 January 1995 is 123. The attached table lists the prison or escorting contractor from whose custody each prisoner escaped, their offence and the length of time unlawfully at large. A copy of this table has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visits were made by inspectors under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 to (a) the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Salisbury, (b) the Defence Research Agency, Alverstoke and (c) The Centre for Human Sciences in each of the last five years.
(b) Defence Research Agency, Alverstoke
(c) Centre for Human Sciences (Previously the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine)
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list and give details of project licences involving animal experiments granted to Ministry of Defence establishments for each of the last two years for which information is available;
(2) how many project and personal licenses issued to Ministry of Defence establishments under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 have been withdrawn; and what were the reasons in each case.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: Information held in connection with the issue of licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 will have been given in confidence: the disclosure of such information is prohibited by virtue of section 24 (1) of the Act.
Twelve project licences were granted to Ministry of Defence establishments in 1993, and 20 in 1994. In 1993, 10 project licences expired at the end of the five years permitted by the 1986 Act, and three were surrendered when the relevant project work was completed; in 1994 three expired and seven were surrendered.
Column 113In 1993, nine personal licences were revoked on completion of the work on which the licence holders were engaged; in 1994 the figure was 24.
Information on the numbers of project and personal licences issued to particular establishments prior to 1993 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of the reception centre for Bosnian refugees at Cheylesmore lodge, North Berwick, and other reception centres; and if he will give an estimate of the numbers of refugees from Bosnia who will come to Britain during the next 12 months.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: Due to the declining number of evacuees from the former Yugoslavia in recent months, it has been decided, following discussions between the Home Office, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the voluntary agencies running the centres, that two of the present nine centres should close at the end of March 1995, and a further five, including Cheylesmore lodge, by the end of April. Of the two remaining centres, one will close at the end of June, and we will review in April the timing of the closure of the last centre against the background of developments in Bosnia. There are approximately 370 people who have been accepted under the temporary protection programme but who have yet to arrive. The majority are still in Bosnia. UNHCR is reassessing these cases but, because of the uncertain situation within Bosnia, cannot say when, or if, they will be able to travel.
Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to require victims who have received payment from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority under the tariff scheme to repay sums received if their payment is reassessed following the tariff scheme being withdrawn or altered as a result of court proceedings.
Mr. Maclean: If the tariff scheme had to be withdrawn all payments made under its terms would have to be reassessed. Where the tariff award exceeded the reassessed award the beneficiary would, in principle, be liable to refund the difference. We have decided that it would not be right to seek to recover that difference.
Mr. Churchill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Home Office first embarked on the computerisation of the illegal immigrant suspect index; how much has been spent on the project to date; and when he expects the system to be fully operational.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: A project team was resourced in late 1989 to develop the suspect index system, and commenced work in January 1990. Following approval of the business case, and a competitive procurement including technical design studies, a supply contract was let to ICL Ltd in December 1992. Development of the system began in January 1993. Capital costs in the order of £13.7 million will have been spent by the end of phase 1 of the project. The system commenced live running at Stansted airport and the Immigration Service intelligence
Column 114and investigation unit near Heathrow airport on 23 January 1995. The first phase, which includes major ports of entry and enforcement offices, is planned to be completed in April 1995.
Further phases of the project are proposed to encompass remaining ports of entry, enforcement offices and other IND locations where system access is required by 1998.
Mr. Churchill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to prevent individuals illegally acquiring false identities for passport, DSS and other purposes by using official documentation obtained by posing as a deceased person.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: The United Kingdom Passport Agency takes great care to prevent the issue of passports in false identities. The passport issuing system incorporates a variety of safeguards to prevent fraud. Special fraud detection teams in each office liaise closely with the police, immigration service and other agencies such as the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys to counter the submission of applications in false identities.
The Department of Social Security's Benefits Agency has developed a security strategy to combat benefit fraud of all kinds. The strategy involves investment in a variety of measures, including improvements to information technology and increased verification of information presented in claims to benefit. It is anticipated that the substantial investment envisaged will achieve a dramatic reduction in benefit fraud, shifting the emphasis away from detection and investigation towards prevention and deterrence.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: I do not think that a further review is necessary. The efficiency of the Charity Commission is regularly reviewed by Home Office Ministers, notably as part of the public expenditure process. The Charity Commission is making significant improvements in efficiency, particularly through the introduction of new computerised methods of working, and is carrying through a development programme to enable it to carry out its new responsibilities under the Charities Act 1993. An independent review of the Commission's senior structure and staffing has just been completed which will bring further gains. The Commission has also achieved gains through a recent market test of its managerial and paper-keeping services.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many registered charities are working in (a) animal welfare, (b) child welfare, (c) youth services, (d) adult health, (e) child health, (f) education, (g) the Church of England and (h) other religions.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: The classification on the Charity Commission's present computerised register does not match the categories in my hon. Friend's question precisely. The information available is as follows:
|Number of |registered Field |charities --------------------------------------------------------------- (a) animal welfare |886 (b) child welfare and (c) youth services |<1>12,866 (d) adult health and (e) child health |<2>18,834 (f) education |35,347 (g) the Church of England |5,791 (h) other religions |4,514 <1>Note: The Charity Commission's classification system is not as broad as the areas listed in the question. It is difficult to distinguish between child welfare and youth services as many charities operate for the benefit of both children and young people. <2>Note: The Charity Commission's classification systems does not distinguish between adult and child health: most of the charities in this field make no distinction as to the age of their beneficiaries.
An improved computerised register which will give a more detailed analysis is planned for next year.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 6 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the costs to public funds of running the Prison Service in each year since 1979.
The costs for the Prison Service in England and Wales are set out below. They are expressed in cash terms, but include notional depreciation and superannuation.
|£000s ------------------------------ 1979-80 |344,326 1980-81 |437,884 1981-82 |498,424 1982-83 |572,597 1983-84 |637,118 1984-85 |656,445 1985-86 |743,229 1986-87 |786,450 1987-88 |882,341 1988-89 |1,013,898 1989-90 |1,205,763 1990-91 |1,464,227 1991-92 |1,630,956 1992-93 |1,660,200 1993-94 |1,638,200 Note: Information on prisons in Scotland is a matter for the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.
Letter from A. J. Butler to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 6 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the cost to public funds of running each prison in Britain.
The attached table shows the costs expressed in cash terms but including notional depreciation and superannuation of each prison in England and Wales in the last 10 years. The figures for earlier years are published in the relevant annual reports on the work of the Prison Service, copies of which are in the House of Commons Library. Information on prisons in Scotland is a matter for the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the number of suicides in prisons in each year since 1979; and if he will give in each case the prison in which the suicide occurred and the age of the prisoner.
Letter from A. J. Butler to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 6 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question asking what has been the number of suicides in prisons in each year since 1979 giving in each case the prison and the age of the prisoner.
Table A gives the number of self-inflicted deaths in prison establishments in England and Wales from 1988 in each case showing the name of the establishment and age of the prisoner. The Coroner's verdict is also shown as not all self-inflicted deaths result in a "suicide" verdict.
Table B gives the number of self-inflicted deaths in prison establishments in England and Wales for 1979 to 1987 and the total number of suicide verdicts.
A copy of these tables have been placed in the Library of the House.
Detailed records were not stored centrally before 1988 and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions departmental officials met representatives of Ian Greer Associates (a) formally and (b) informally on 26 January to discuss matters relating to their client's interests.
Ms Hodge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisons have had their locks changed because of key compromises in the last three years; and what was the average cost for each such prison.
Column 118Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Margaret Hodge, dated 30 January 1995 :
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of prisons where locks have been changed because of key compromises in the last three years.
Since January 1992 there have been 28 key compromises resulting in a change of locks. This includes the recent compromise at Parkhurst prison.
The cost of replacing the locks varies according to the size of the prison and the class of locks. Typical costs are in the range of between £40,000 and £64,000.