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Secure Units

Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to speed up the provision of secure units for young offenders. [30278]

Mr. Maclean: We are pressing ahead with the provision of secure training centres and the first of the extra 170 additional places being financed by the Department of Health came on stream in December. Around 103 more will be provided during this year.

Scott Report

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Government's conclusions in respect of Sir Richard's Scotts' recommendations on prosecution procedures. [32164]

Mr. Maclean: Sir Richard made eight recommendations concerning prosecution procedures. In essence, the recommendations are intended to ensure that in future the prosecution ascertains whether there are any documents held by other Government Departments and agencies which may be not only relevant to the way it proposes to put its case, but which may also be relevant

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to the way in which the defence proposes to put the case for the accused, so far as it is known or can be inferred. They also seek to ensure that satisfactory arrangements are in place for recording what is done by the prosecution in this regard--and the responses to their requests of other departments and agencies--and reporting all of this to the defence.

The recommendations are based on the existing law on disclosure but, as Sir Richard recognised, they need to be considered against the provisions in the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Bill, which is awaiting Report stage. The Government believe that the more focused and clearer duties established by the provisions in the Bill and the code of practice, to be promulgated under part II of the Bill, will address Sir Richard's concerns. To the extent that Sir Richard's recommendations are not already met by the provisions in the Bill, the Government have sought to identify what further action may be necessary.

Part II of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Bill provides that the Secretary of State shall prepare a code of practice for the police designed to secure that information obtained in the course of a criminal investigation and which may be relevant to it is recorded, retained and revealed to the prosecutor for a decision on disclosure. Investigators other than the police will have to comply with any provisions of the code that are relevant to them. The Government have concluded that the draft code of practice should be amended to emphasise the duty on the investigator to explore all reasonable lines of inquiry, including those which might point away from the suspect.

The Government are preparing guidance booklets on disclosure for Government Departments and Crown servants. The purpose of these booklets is to give guidance on the procedures that should be followed concerning information which may be relevant to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offence, and advice on the proper response to requests from investigators, prosecutors or the defence. This guidance will, of course, take account of Sir Richard's recommendations, as well as the provisions in the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Bill.

Finally, the Director of Public Prosecutions is reviewing the guidance that she gives to the Crown Prosecution Service on the proper application of the code of crown prosecutors, to ensure that the guidance emphasises the importance of the prosecutor considering whether there are any further reasonable lines of inquiry which in his view should be pursued. Similarly, other departmental prosecuting authorities will review and, where necessary, prepare equivalent guidance for other Government prosecutors.

We have placed a paper in the Library, giving a more detailed account of the Government's response to Sir Richard Scott's recommendations on prosecution procedures.

Prisoners (HIV/AIDS)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners have been infected with HIV while in prison in England and Wales; [30231]

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Miss Widdecombe: Responsibility for these matters 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 A. J. Pearson to Mr. Robert Key, dated 6 June 1996:


Cattle Incineration

Mr. Jopling: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cattle were slaughtered and destroyed by incineration on their farms during each week of the last foot and mouth disease outbreak in 1967-68. [30023]

Mrs. Browning: This information cannot be supplied in the form requested without incurring disproportionate costs. However, I can confirm that 211,825 cattle were slaughtered during the eight months of the 1967-68 foot and mouth disease epidemic. The normal practice in such cases is for the carcases to be buried or incinerated on farm to minimise the possibility of spreading the virus.

Disabled Employees

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many registered disabled people are employed by his Department; and what percentage this is of the total figure. [30775]

Mr. Boswell: At 1 April 1996 the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, including its agencies, employed 145 members of staff who had declared that they were registered disabled. This equates to 1.4 per cent. of the total staff employed.

Pennington Sewage Treatment Plant

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made to

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Southern Water Services in relation to the discharges from Pennington sewage treatment plant and its impact on local shellfish. [31167]

Mr. Boswell: In 1994 the Department responded to statutory consultations by the National Rivers Authority relating to discharges from Pennington sewage treatment plant.

The Department has made no representations on this subject to Southern Water Services.

Livestock Collection Centres

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which EU-approved markets and collection centres he had notified on or before 1 May to (a) the European Commission and (b) the central authorities of other EU member states as required by European Council directive 64/432/EEC. [30718]

Mrs. Browning: In addition to the collection centres listed in the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Heppell) on 20 December 1995, Official Report, column 1165, the following collection centres in Great Britain had been notified to the European Commission and central authorities of other EU member states on or before 1 May 1996:

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many checks were carried out by his staff on holdings, as defined in European directive 90/425/EEC (a) during 1995 and (b) between January and April 1996; [30715]

Mrs. Browning [holding answer 4 June 1996]: Ministry personnel carry out many different types of checks at establishments which fall within the definition of a holding laid down in directive 90/425. Records of visits made are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Ms Walley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) on what available data the EC quota of 100 tonnes of basking shark liver oil is based; what assessment he has made of whether the level of exploitation is sustainable; and if he will make a statement; [31330]

Mr. Baldry: There is no EU quota for basking sharks. However, as part of the EU-Norway agreement Norwegian fishermen have a quota of 100 tonnes of basking shark liver in United Kingdom waters. The quota figure is based on historic catch levels. It has been reducing over the years from 800 tonnes in 1977 to 400 tonnes in 1988 and to the present 100 tonnes in 1991.

The very limited Norwegian uptake presents no threat to basking sharks in UK waters.

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Ms Walley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the yearly catch for basking sharks under the EC-Norwegian agreement for each of the last five years. [31331]

Mr. Baldry: European Commission data indicate that Norwegian fishermen caught 5.8 tonnes of basking shark liver in 1993 against their annual quota of 100 tonnes under the EU-Norway agreement. No catches were recorded in the years 1991, 1992, 1994 or 1995.

Ms Walley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what data are collated by his Department on the landings in the United Kingdom of individual shark species; and what assessment his Department has made of the advantages of introducing a quota management system to log landings for shark species to support the convention on international trade in endangered species resolution 9.17. [31333]

Mr. Baldry: The Ministry records landings into the United Kingdom of a large number of commercially important fish species as well as of a number of species of shark and shark-like species not considered to be commercially important. The species of the latter which are currently recorded are angel shark, kitefin shark, leafscale gulper shark, great lantern shark, greater spotted dogfish, lesser spotted dogfish, spurdog, birdbeak dogfish, Portuguese dogfish, longnose velvet dogfish and knifetooth dogfish. Other shark and shark-like species are recorded under more general headings.

Sharks are not included in the convention on international trade in endangered species. However, in response to evidence of increased trade in sharks CITES resolution 9.17 commissioned research on the impact of trade on shark populations. The UK has complied with the obligations of resolution 9.17 by providing the CITES animals committee with information on trade in sharks and the biological status of sharks in UK waters. Additionally, the Department of the Environment has contributed funding of £15,000 towards the cost of research by the shark specialist group of the world conservation union.

Because shark catches in UK waters are low there is not sufficient justification for the establishment of a quota management system.

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