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Community Relations Unit

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the principal functions of the Community Relations Unit and set out its priorities for 1999 and 2000. [91535]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The aims of the Race Equality Unit (formerly the Community Relations Unit) for 1999-2000 are to promote race equality and to increase ethnic minority representation in the public sector. This includes:

    launching a new grant scheme to promote race equality;

    contributing to and, where appropriate, giving a lead on race equality issues internationally;

    developing policy on religious discrimination and other faith issues;

    support for the Home Secretary's Race Relations Forum which provides ethnic minorities with an effective voice at the heart of government;

    reviewing the effectiveness of the criminal law in race relations; and

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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) British passports and (b) visitor's permits have been issued to (i) male and (ii) female Albanians in each of the last two years; what estimate he has made of the number of Albanians who are in this country illegally; and if he will make a statement. [92217]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The available information is on grants of British citizenship and the issue of non- settlement entry clearance at the British Embassies in Tirana, or in Rome and Istanbul which were the designated entry clearance issuing posts for applicants resident in Albania before the British Embassy in Tirana provided full entry clearance-issuing facilities in 1999. The data are given in the table. No information is readily available on the gender of the applicants.

There is no estimate of the total number of Albanian nationals currently living in the United Kingdom who have no lawful right to be here.

Year of grant19971998
Albanian nationals granted British citizenship39
Albanian nationals granted non-settlement entry clearance issued at the British Embassies in Tirana(3), Rome and Istanbul6391,240

(3) All issues, not necessarily to Albanian nationals

Animal Experiments

Mr. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the terms of reference given to the inquiry into procedures at Harlan UK's breeding establishment in North West Leicestershire; how many inspectors are engaged in the inquiry; and what is its planned timescale. [91814]

Mr. George Howarth: I have asked the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate to investigate all the allegations made against this establishment by the British

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Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in so far as they relate to possible contraventions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; the terms and conditions of licences and certificates issues under the 1986 Act; and the Codes of Practice issued under section 21(2) of the Act. I have asked that, should any other indications of possible contraventions be uncovered during the course of the investigation, these be investigated too. The investigation is not restricted to any particular part of the establishment or to the material contained in the BUAV's report or compilation video tape recording.

One Superintending Inspector is heading the investigation. He is being assisted, as necessary, by other members of the Inspectorate and by other civil servants in the Animal Procedures Section at the Home Office.

I have not set a time limit on the investigation. We are still waiting to receive from the BUAV the evidence that they collected, and the amount of time needed will depend on what this material shows and the other findings that emerge from the investigation. I expect, however, that it could take two to three months to complete. I will receive reports at appropriate points during the investigation and any immediate action needed to protect animal welfare will be taken.


Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times Ministers in her Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 January, indicating the dates and locations of each meeting, the Ministers involved and the names of the Irish Ministers and officials at each meeting. [90410]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have met Irish Ministers very frequently throughout the Talks Process. Other meetings held by Northern Ireland Office Ministers since 1 January 1999 were:

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DateLocationMinisterIrish minister
13 JanuaryDublin CastleLord DubsMr. Noel Dempsey TD
Mr. Bobby Molloy TD
3 FebruaryDepartment of Education and Science, DublinMr. McFallMr. Michael Martin TD and three officials
17 MarchArmaghLord DubsMr. Jim McDaid TD
26 MarchPresident's Hall, DublinLord DubsDr. Michael Woods TD
1 AprilAghalane BridgeLord DubsMr. Noel Dempsey TD
21 AprilKings Hall, BelfastLord DubsMr. Noel Davern TD
22 AprilDepartment of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, DublinMr. IngramMr. J. O'Donoghue TD and four officials
23 AprilSlieve Donard Hotel, NewcastleLord DubsMr. Noel Davern TD
29 AprilBallyconnell, Co. CavanLord DubsTaoiseach
4 MayConard Hotel, DublinMr. McFall(1) Dr. Tom Moffett TD
(2) Mr. Brian Cowen TD and five officials
17 MayEnniskillen CollegeLord DubsMr. Noel Davern TD and one official
17 JuneLancaster House, LondonLord DubsLord Donoghue
Mr. Joe Walsh TD

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Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when she plans to publish the 1998-99 report on the Royal Ulster Constabulary by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary. [92526]

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Mr. Ingram: Copies of the 1998-99 Inspection Report, which is the fourteenth RUC Inspection Report to be published, have today been placed in the Library.

Her Majesty's Inspector's overall remit is to examine police operational efficiency and effectiveness and offer

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his independent and professional recommendations. I am sure the Independent Commission on Policing will be interested to note the recommendations and I am extremely pleased to see that Her Majesty's Inspector is optimistic about the future of policing in Northern Ireland, as indeed I am myself.

This report covers a number of areas relating to matters such as RUC planning strategies, consultation arrangements, performance management, and community relations. The Chief Constable will now consider these issues and in due course the Police Authority will publish any comments either the Chief Constable or the Authority may have.

Construction Service

Mr. McNulty: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what performance targets have been set for the Construction Service in 1999-2000. [92527]

Marjorie Mowlam: For 1999-2000, the following performance targets have been set for Construction Services:


Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will publish the guidelines, procedures and rules governing the town centre CCTV challenge competition; what criteria will be used to make financial allocations; and if the scheme is subject to policy appraisal fair treatment guidelines. [91531]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Police Authority for Northern Ireland issued a detailed guidance document on the bidding process when the first Northern Ireland Town Centre CCTV Challenge Competition was launched on 24 June 1999. This document sets out the procedures for submitting a bid and details the criteria against which all bids will be assessed. The guidance document has been

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widely circulated to interested parties across Northern Ireland and further copies may be obtained by contacting the Authority. As demonstrated by the announcement in March last year of the new Targeting Social Need initiative, the Government remain committed to securing equality of opportunity and equity of treatment for all the people of Northern Ireland. The rules of this competition have been developed in line with this policy and the awarding of funds will also be so governed.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures she has taken to ensure that victims of sectarian crimes of violence and their relatives are consulted and encouraged to become involved in local partnerships receiving funding through town centre CCTV challenge competitions. [91530]

Mr. Ingram: Details of the Northern Ireland Town Centre CCTV Challenge Competition have been widely disseminated throughout Northern Ireland by way of both television coverage and local press articles. All members of the community have been equally encouraged to participate in the establishing of local partnerships which will clearly benefit from being as inclusive as possible. Membership of the partnerships is open to anyone with an interest to contributing to the crime reduction effort in their local area.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what rules govern the use of recordings made as a result of town centre CCTV cameras; and what safeguards are available to protect against (a) the unauthorised use of a recording and (b) the abuse of an authorised use. [91533]

Mr. Ingram: Any CCTV scheme funded as a result of a bid in the Northern Ireland Town Centre CCTV Challenge Competition must be governed by a Code of Practice. The development of such a Code is a critical element of the bidding procedure and is required to take account of generally recognised standards and safeguards relating to the use of CCTV.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will require the Police Authority to make public police objections to partnerships seeking funding through the town centre CCTV challenge competition; at what level of command the decision to make an objection must be taken; and what body will assess in the first instance that an objection meets the requirement of reasonableness. [91532]

Mr. Ingram: Individual partnerships will receive a full report on any police objections to proposed town centre CCTV schemes. The decision to make an objection to a proposal should be taken at Superintendent level or higher. Partnerships unhappy with the police view of their proposal may wish to raise this matter with the Police Authority for Northern Ireland.

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