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Asylum Seekers

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions his Department has held with member authorities of the Local Government Association outside London in relation to the dispersal of asylum seekers from London; and if he will make a statement. [95687]

Mrs. Roche: The Asylum Support Project Team has been working very closely with the Local Government Association and the Association of London Government for the past 12 months, concerning the new asylum support arrangements and in particular the new dispersal schemes. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary wrote jointly with Sir Jeremy Beecham to the leaders of all local authorities in England in November 1998 encouraging them to participate in a voluntary dispersal scheme. Since then, officials have issued consultation documents and held discussions with a variety of local authorities around the country. These discussions continue and further meetings are scheduled.

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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what numbers are proposed for the new agreed dispersal programme for asylum seekers in each local authority area in the north-east. [95878]

Mrs. Roche: No firm decisions have yet been made on the number of asylum seekers to be sent to any given region within the United Kingdom.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many placements in the north-east of England have been made under the Refugee Allocations Project; how many have been allocated to each local authority area; and what the costs of such allocation have been. [95877]

Mrs. Roche: The Refugee Arrivals Project assists about 75 newly arrived asylum seekers a month to access private rented accommodation in the north-east of England. Most of the accommodation is situated in the Newcastle local authority area, and it is that authority which pays the housing benefit entitlement to the landlords. The other costs involved are the transport costs from London to the north-east and the payments of income support by the Benefits Agency. No records of these costs are kept by the Home Office.

Dyfed-Powys Police Authority

Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were employed by the Dyfed-Powys Police Authority on 1 April 1997, 1998 and 1999. [95792]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information on police numbers is collected at the end of March and September. The figures for the period requested are set out in the table.

Total officer strength
31 March 19971,005
31 March 19981,002
31 March 19991,026

Licensing Laws

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to amend the licensing laws for restaurants after 11 pm. [95928]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: On 8 October, we published a consultation paper seeking views on proposals to allow restaurants to serve alcohol with meals after 11 pm without needing to apply for a supper hour certificate or provide entertainment. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library.

Police Cells (Rural Areas)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy on the provision of police cells in rural areas. [95765]

Mr. Charles Clarke: It is an operational matter for Chief Constables to determine the number and location of police cells and stations. Chief Constables are best placed to judge these matters, in consultation with the local community where appropriate. It would not be right for Ministers to intervene in operation decisions.

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Departmental Twinning

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests there have been to his Department for placement of officials from Central, East European and CIS states as twins of his officials; how many such officials have been accepted as twins; and from which countries (a) those who were accepted and (b) those who were not accepted came. [93997]

Mrs. Roche: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz), on 25 October 1999, Official Report, columns 739-40.

Anti-social Behaviour Orders

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many anti-social behaviour orders have been (a) applied for and (b) granted. [95700]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information on the number of Orders made is not held centrally, but we are aware of six Orders which have been made since 1 April 1999. We are not aware of any Orders applied for which were not granted.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the costs incurred to date by (a) police authorities and (b) local authorities in setting up procedures aimed towards the obtaining of anti-social behaviour orders. [95450]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 lays down no specific procedures which must be followed when considering applying for an anti-social order, other than that the police and local authority must consult each other. Where there is behaviour which is giving rise to concern, both agencies are already likely to be in touch with each other. Information about the cost of any additional consultation, or any other procedures which the police or local authority decide to establish, is not available centrally.

Road Traffic Law Enforcement

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to ensure that new technologies are utilised and developed by all road traffic law enforcement agencies. [94507]

Mr. Charles Clarke: New advances in technology are being regularly introduced for police use. The Home Office has responsibility for approving technological devices for road traffic law enforcement by the police. The Home Office Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) has a programme of work on road policing, to support all United Kingdom police forces and road traffic law enforcement agencies, specifically the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority, the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, the Highways Agency, and the Government Office for London. PSDB do this by providing technical, operational and policy support as well as experimental research and development of technology applicable to traffic law enforcement and road safety.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has an established sub-committee, ACPO (Traffic Enforcement Technology), whose prime function is to

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assess the usefulness of the new technologies being developed by manufacturers. The police must be satisfied that any new device is a genuine technical advance in helping law enforcement. All devices must also be tested rigorously by PSDB or the Forensic Science Service to ensure that evidence provided by the device is accurate and will give reliable evidence.

Council of Ministers (Action Plan)

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documents were presented to Parliament relating to the Action Plan adopted by the Council of Ministers of the European Union on 3 December 1998 concerning implementation of the provisions in the European treaties now in force for the development of an area of freedom, security and justice; to what Parliamentary procedures they were subject; and if he will make a statement on the future implementation of this plan. [94364]

Mrs. Roche: In addition to the Action Plan itself (12028/1/98 REV 1), the following documents were presented to Parliament in accordance with the current arrangements for Parliamentary scrutiny as amended in November 1998:

Further implementation of the Action Plan will be carried forward in the light of the Presidency Conclusions from the Tampere European Council on 15 and 16 October.


Boarding Schools

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many boarders there were in each of the boarding schools (a) five years ago and (b) in this academic year. [94376]

Mr. McFall: The figures for the academic year 1999-2000 are not yet available.

The numbers of boarders in 1998-99 and in 1993-94 is included in the following table:

Grant-aided schools

Preparatory departments Secondary departments
Campbell College1129447
Methodist College93162137
Victoria College134737
Hunterhouse College757854
Portora Royal(3)--(3)--150
Coleraine Academical Institution(3)--(3)--785
Dominican Portstewart(3)--(3)--330
Friends' School Lisburn004444
St. Colman's Newry(3)--(3)--5347
Royal School Dungannon303629
Royal School Armagh026654
St. Patrick's Armagh(3)--(3)--7241
Coleraine High School(3)--(3)--340

(3) Not applicable

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Independent schools


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