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Electronic Communications

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what departmental guidance is currently given, and what administrative rules apply, in relation to the accessing of e-mails and other forms of electronic communications by the security and intelligence services and other law enforcement agencies; and if he will make a statement. [94578]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Any communication, including e-mails and the internet, when it is being transmitted by means of a public telecommunication system, may be intercepted in pursuance of a warrant issued in accordance with the provisions of the Interception Of Communications Act 1985. Appropriate procedures to process such warrants have been laid down.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list his Department's spending on official publications since May 1997. [93691]

Mr. Straw: The spending on official publications since May 1997 by the Home Office, apart from the Prison Service; which includes the costs incurred by the Department in publishing, preparation, production and purchase of copies for official use; was approximately £4.6 million in 1997-98, £4.3 million in 1998-99 and £2.5 million to date in 1999-2000. The figures exclude the cost of publications produced for internal use. Where the Department makes use of a private sector publisher, the publishing, printing and design costs are generally met by the publisher as part of their acceptance of the risks, of publication.

Unfortunately, there is no central record of expenditure incurred on official publications at Prison Service outstations.

Spending on Official Publications since May 1997

Home Office Directorate/Agency1997-981998-991999-2000
Police Policy313,745377,53345,906
Organised and International Crime3,669115,1051,743
Criminal Policy1,677,5301,734,00043,140
Research Development and Statistics486,000438,00060,100
Immigration and Nationality16,00322,6505,998
Constitutional and Community Policy8,3298,3302,776
Fire and Emergency Planning46,29067,42432,204
Planning and Finance770770257
Other Central Services13,16369,91358,121
Corporate Resources and Development4804399
United Kingdom Passport Agency37,22264,57112,435
Fire Service College7,0344,0121,737
Forensic Science Service28,00025,0000

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Sexual Harassment (Prison Service)

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 21 July 1999, Official Report, columns 524-25, what assessment the Prison Service has made of those sexual harassment cases notified to HM Prison Service headquarters since 1998 that have not been settled either by negotiation or by tribunal decision. [93658]

Mr. Boateng: No central assessment of these cases has been made. Complaints are dealt with locally in accordance with the Prison Service's procedure for handling complaints of harassment or discrimination. The Prison Service's equal opportunities team in headquarters keeps statistical records and offers advice on cases as necessary.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the scheduled date for the coming into force of the powers of the Criminal Records Bureau to monitor the record of adults working with children; and what representations he has received with regard to an earlier starting date for this scheme and for the provision of information free of charge to potential employers in the voluntary sector. [94671]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The timetable for implementation of the Criminal Records Bureau is under review. I shall make an announcement shortly. We have received some representations calling for the Bureau to be brought into operation as early as possible, and that is my intention. The Government have considered very carefully the many representations that we have received arguing for charges to be waived for checks carried out by the Bureau in the case of volunteers. This presents substantial problems of principle and would inevitably increase costs either for the public purse or for other applicants for certificates. But the concerns which have been expressed have increased our determination that the cost of certificates from the Bureau should be kept as low as possible. The cost of certificates has been previously estimated at between £5 and £10 depending on type of certificate.


Anti-personnel Mines

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence of the anti-personnel mines stored by the MoD how many and what percentage of the total were destroyed in each year since 1991. [94663]

25 Oct 1999 : Column: 695

Mr. Spellar: The UK no longer stores any operational anti-personnel mines. The last of the Army's operational stocks of APMs were destroyed on 22 February this year. The destruction programme for the last of the RAF's operational stocks of APMs--the HB 876 sub-munition for the JP233 weapon system--was completed on 19 October 1999. Available figures for anti-personnel mines destroyed by the UK are shown in the table.

DesignationYearQuantityTotal destroyed (%)
C3 Elsie1995-96374,25764
(7)Retained1,056Less than 1
Mine and Discharger1995-9641,4723
Barrel Assembly1995-97596,66439
Mine A/Tk L27A11995-964Less than 1
Mine A/P HE M861993-94204100

(7) As permitted under Article 3 of the Ottawa Convention, the UK will continue to retain the minimum necessary numbers of live APMs for training and testing in de-mining techniques. Other, inert, training APMs are not included in these figures.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what target date his Department has set to destroy all the anti-personnel mines it currently holds. [94664]

Mr. Spellar: I am pleased to announce that the last operational UK anti-personnel mines--the HB 876 sub-munition to the RAF's JP 233 weapon system--were destroyed on 19 October. We have completed the UK's destruction programme over three years ahead of the timeframe laid down in the Ottawa Convention. The destruction programme was accelerated to demonstrate to the world the UK's clear and unequivocal commitment to the Ottawa Convention. As provided for in Article 3 of the Ottawa Convention, the UK will continue to hold the minimum necessary numbers of anti-personnel mines for the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques.

Royal Tournament

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review his decision not to continue the Royal Tournament's field gun display; and if he will make a statement. [94067]

Mr. Hoon: The decision to end the field gun competition runs parallel with the decision to end the Royal Tournament. In part this is because the event cannot easily be replicated in a suitable public venue outside Earl's Court, but also because it accounted for more than half the personnel resources used at the Tournament. It is recognised that the field gun competition is an event with

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much audience loyalty, and is held in special regard by Service personnel, particularly those who have participated in the past. It has also been a tremendous spectacle for over 90 years, and it was fitting that the final run should take place in the centenary year of the action it commemorated.

The event was, however, no longer fully representative of the Royal Navy or its contemporary activities. Consequently, the Royal Navy is keen to look to the future and concentrate on supporting events that more accurately reflect the training and operational activities of the Service in the next millennium.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what grounds the Royal Tournament is to be ended; and if he will make a statement. [94144]

Mr. Hoon: The Royal Tournament has made a major contribution over the years to British life and to the Service charities. I therefore pay tribute to the organisers and participants who have given such great pleasure to so many.

The Royal Tournament had been under scrutiny for some time. In part this was because the event had lost money in recent years--for example, it lost £400,000 last year--and this made the viability of the event questionable, particularly given its charitable status. More fundamentally, however, the format of the event could send only a limited message about the role and operational capabilities of the Armed Forces in the modern world. Moreover, the audience had reduced in recent years and as a result the Tournament neither informed the public nor attracted potential recruits to the extent we would have wished. Despite failing to meet our needs, it still placed a very considerable demand on our personnel, a minimum of 30,000 man-days per annum. This was hard to justify in the light of operational commitments and overstretch. Such considerations led the Services themselves to conclude that the Royal Tournament should end in order to help reduce commitments.

We have thought very carefully as to how we might bring about necessary change while preserving the best of the old Tournament. Next year a one-off event, the Royal Military Tattoo 2000, will be mounted against the spectacular backdrop of Horse Guards Parade. The Tattoo, which has the theme "Defence of the Realm: past, present and future", will involve 1,200 men and women from the Services, 75 per cent. of whom will be musicians. It will be a dramatic 90-minute show, recounting with pride 1,000 years of military history, whilst also celebrating the present and looking to the future. The Tattoo will combine imaginative staging, state-of-the-art technology, pageantry, son et lumiere, lasers, fireworks and, I understand, the largest video screen to be seen in Europe. It will be held during the period 10-15 July 2000 and the planning team is working hard to ensure that the event is a great success.

A military Tattoo will continue to be held in London from 2001 onwards. Again using the spectacular backdrop of Horse Guards Parade, the Tattoo will build on the traditional pageantry that has been such a popular element of the Royal Tournament over the years and a special feature of London in Summer. A military festival will also be held outside London at varying locations that will allow the Armed Forces to showcase their equipment and

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to demonstrate their capability in an exciting and modern way. The festival will be based on existing and successful Service events starting in 2001 with the Royal Navy's International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth. It will last for a whole day, enabling spectators to see a wide range of military activities, view the latest military equipment, meet personnel and participate in interactive displays in a way that is not possible with the existing Royal Tournament format.

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