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Colchester Young Offenders Institution

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what factors have led to the delay in opening HM YOI Colchester; [13900]

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Miss Widdecombe: This is a unique initiative which has required much careful preparation. It was necessary to complete the appointment of military staff to the young offender institution and determine the final details of the regime before agreeing to open the establishment in February.

The commandant of the military corrective training centre, who has been appointed governor of Colchester young offender institution, has undertaken Prison Service training in relation to prisoner adjudications, the command of serious incidents, finance and staff appraisal, and has made several familiarisation visits to Prison Service establishments. He will shortly receive training in the staff code of discipline.


Mr. Straw: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many contracts worth more than £250,000 his Department gave to external consultants in each of the last five years; to whom these contracts were let; and what work the consultants were contracted to undertake. [13761]

Mr. Howard: The following 17 contracts worth more than £250,000 were given by my Department to external consultants in the last five years.

DBI AssociatesSTRATEG--prison service computer package to aid industrial production and stock control
Ernst and YoungPay and grading review for prison service
Harvey ConsultantsPhoenix project software package (Home Office wide arrangement)
SEMAImmigration and nationality directorate caseworking study
Lazard Brothers and Company LimitedFinancial services--secure training centres--Cookham Wood and Gringley, Home Office, Juvenile offenders unit
Lazard Brothers and Company LimitedFinancial services Bridgend and Fazakerley prisons
Coopers and LybrandProject Management--Fazakerley and Bridgend prisons.
Information Marketing AssociatesNational automated fingerprinting information system simulation model--police information technology organisation
Terry Hamer AssociatesProgramming and application project management of public safety radio communications project--police information technology organisation
Coopers and LybrandPrivate finance initiative advice--prison service
Charterhouse BankFinancial services--Lowdham Grange prison and future prison projects
Ove Arup and PartnersCompliance monitoring--Bridgend prison
Mouchel ManagementCompliance monitoring--Fazakerley prison
Mott Ewbank PreeceTechnical and commercial advice for fire service radio communications strategy--police information technology organisation
Charterhouse BankFinancial services--police radio communications project--police information technology organisation
KPMGQuantum scoping study, procurement and implementation--Prison Service
Mouchel ManagementCompliance monitoring--Lowdham Grange prisoners

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Cornwall and West Plymouth Euro-constituency

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many representations were received by the Boundary Commission regarding the review of European parliamentary constituencies in England; and how many of these related to the proposed Cornwall and West Plymouth Euro-constituency; [13237]

Mr. Sackville: The Boundary Commission published its provisional recommendations for changes to the boundaries of the 71 European parliamentary constituencies in England on 7 November 1996. A period for submission of representations in respect of those proposals immediately followed, ending on 7 December 1996.

The commission, which is an independent and politically impartial body, has not yet announced how many representations it has received in respect of its recommendations, nor whether it intends to hold a local inquiry in respect of any of its provisional recommendations.

Coroner Procedures (Muslim Communities)

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received in the past three years from (a) the Bradford Council for Mosques and (b) other Muslim organisations in respect of the expedited release of dead bodies over weekends and public holidays by coroners serving large Muslim communities. [14104]

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Mr. Sackville: We have no record of representations on this matter form the Bradford Council for Mosques. Representations have, however, been received from the Aylesbury Mosque Committee, the Burial Council of Leicestershire Muslims and from Kashmir Centres Europe.

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has initiated with the representative local government organisations to make funding available to coroners, serving large Muslim communities, for the issue, over weekends and public holidays, of the necessary documentation to permit the transport of bodies overseas. [14105]

Mr. Sackville: None. Funding of the coroners' service is entirely a matter for the relevant council.

Sean O'Callaghan

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Republic of Ireland about the extradition of Sean O'Callaghan for the alleged murder of Mr. John Corcoran. [14017]

Mr. Kirkhope: None.

Disabled Access (Police Stations)

Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Dpearmtent what is his policy regarding disabled access to police stations; and if he will make a statement. [14107]

Mr. Maclean: the Home Office police buildings design guide, issued in April 1994, recommends that all new police buildings in England and Wales, to which civilian employees or the public are expected to have access, should afford access for disabled people. Existing buildings which do not fulfil these requirements are being upgraded by police authorities as resources permit.

Metropolitan Police

Mr. Congdon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the recent report by Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary on No. 4 area (south-east) of the Metropolitan police; [14408]

Mr. Maclean: Yes. I have today placed in the Library a note of the recommendations from the report, together with the commissioner's responses and the police authority responses, which take into account the advice my right hon. and learned Friend and I have received from the Metropolitan police committee.

Ethnic Minorities (Hong Kong)

Sir Ivan Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what will be the status after 30 June of those ethnic minorities in Hong Kong who hold only British nationality. [14587]

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Mr. Howard: I have carefully reviewed the position of the solely British ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, in the light of expressions of concern, in both Houses of Parliament here and in Hong Kong, that their nationality status will be uncertain after 30 June 1997. It is clear that the assurances which they have been given over a number of years have not allayed this concern. I therefore intend to make provision enabling them to apply for registration as British citizens, giving them right of abode in the United Kingdom, after 30 June 1997. I expect that the great majority of them will continue to reside in Hong Kong, where they have right of abode.

Whitemoor Prison

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of Sir John Woodcock's inquiry into the 9 September 1994 escape from the special secure unit at Her Majesty's prison, Whitemoor, Cambridgeshire. [12619]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 24 January 1997]: The cost of Sir John Woodcock's inquiry which was met by the Home Office was £349,760. This included the fees of Sir John Woodcock, the salary costs of the police officers and Home Office staff in the inquiry team and support costs, such as accommodation and travel and subsistence expenses.

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