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Prison Standards

Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he plans to raise the performance of those prisons that are identified as performing to a poor standard. [108117]

Mr. Straw: In the last year, the Prison Service has enhanced its management of under-performing prisons. To strengthen this development, I am announcing today the establishment of a working group on Targeted Performance Improvement. Its terms of reference are to develop proposals for enhancing management arrangements to identify failing prisons; develop special measures to improve performance within such establishments, including effective partnerships with other criminal justice agencies and the private voluntary sectors; and develop a management tool to support the more rigorous line management of all establishments; including ways of recognising good performance and disseminating best practice with particular reference to the development of community partnerships in the locality of each.

The working group is chaired by Lord Laming and its other members are Phil Wheatley, Deputy Director General; Roger Brook, former head of the Audit Commission; Patrick Carter, non-executive Director of the Prison Service; and Una Padel, of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. I have asked the noble Lord, Lord Laming to report to him and the Director General by 1 May this year.

West Mercia Police Authority

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers West Mercia Police Authority had in the Worcester Division, in each year from 1992 to date. [107009]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The available information, which is set out in the table, has been provided by the Chief Constable of West Mercia. It is not possible for the force to provide comparable information on police numbers at Divisional level for 1992 to 1996 because of force re-organisation in 1997.

West Mercia Constabulary Worcester Division--police numbers, 1997 to 2000

Year(4Number of police officers

(4) As at 1 January

Animal Welfare

Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the use of animals in testing household products. [106992]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government have a responsibility for public and environmental safety. Some regulatory safety evaluations require the use of protected animals where there are no viable alternatives. A number of the substances in current use pose risks either through

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normal use or, in the case of solvents and glues, for example, through misuse. European directives have a bearing on the requirements to test both new and existing substances and products for manufacture, transport, sale and use. This includes household products for which a regulatory requirement applies.

The need for testing household products on animals is to be considered by the Animal Procedures Committee as part of its planned work on the cost/benefit assessment carried out under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

1,477 scientific procedures and 1,448 animals were used for this purpose in Great Britain during 1998, the last year for which figures are available. In 1997, comparable figures were 2,026 procedures and 2,004 animals. As with any other scientific procedure under the 1986 Act, animals are used to test household products only where necessary and where there are no alternatives.

Chinese President (State Visit)

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the policing of the arrangements for the state visit of the Chinese President. [107733]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office has received a number of representations on this issue, including approximately 320 items of public correspondence and over 100 letters from Members of Parliament.

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what objectives were set for the policing of the state visit of the Chinese President by (a) the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and (b) the Home Office; and what assessment he has made of the Metropolitan Police's performance in meeting those objectives. [107115]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Metropolitan Police's intention with regard to the policing of the visit of the Chinese President was to police events in a manner compatible with their Statement of Common Purpose and Values by endeavouring to: ensure the security of Her Majesty the Queen, the distinguished visitors and all participants; facilitate the arrival and dispersal of all persons taking part in the Ceremonies; provide crowd control, ensuring public safety and preventing disorder so as not to impair the dignity of the Ceremonies; control traffic and minimise congestion; provide advice and assistance to members of the public and prevent crime, or if crime is committed, take all reasonable steps to apprehend offenders.

No objectives were set by the Home Office for the visit.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has indicated that the conclusions of a review of the policing arrangements will be made public and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will consider these in due course.

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions he has given the Metropolitan Police on their operational procedure in the light of the state visit of the Chinese President to London. [107117]

Mr. Charles Clarke: None.

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Paediatric Pathology

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce paediatric pathology for the post-mortem examination of children; and if he will make a statement. [107569]

Mr. Boateng: Responsibility for the choice of pathologist for a coroner's post-mortem lies in law with the coroner. In cases of child deaths, the Home Office has, for over 10 years, drawn to the attention of coroners the advantages of using pathologists with appropriate skills and training in paediatric pathology.


Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has issued to local authorities regarding the application of Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention to CCTV (a) in privately owned shopping malls and (b) elsewhere. [107123]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) schemes funded by the Home Office are governed by codes of practice and data protection legislation to ensure that the systems are operated fairly and lawfully, and with due regard to individual rights to privacy, as provided in Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Act 1998 will give further effect in United Kingdom law to the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Convention. A properly regulated and controlled CCTV system should fully comply with the requirements of the Act.

The Data Protection Registrar is consulting on a draft code of practice, for users of public space CCTV systems, on the standards to be met to comply with their legal obligations under the Act. The intention is to issue the Code later in the year.

Advice on the impact of the new data protection and human rights legislation will be included in the prospectus for the next round of the CCTV Initiative, which we will issue in the spring.

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money from the Government's CCTV initiative for England and Wales he estimates will be allocated to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; and when the money will be made available. [107118]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Tower Hamlets Crime Reduction Partnership has three proposals under consideration in the first round of Crime Reduction Programme Closed Circuit Television Initiative, covering: car parks at the London Hospital (£319,000 sought); a borough-wide mobile Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system (£193,000 sought); and an extension to CCTV coverage in Brick Lane and the surrounding areas (£501,000).

The Home Office Crime Reduction Unit has asked the partnership to provide further information in support of the bids, and funding decisions will be made as soon as possible after this has been provided. Grant payments will be made to the successful schemes at the appropriate stages of implementation.

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The partnership will have an opportunity to submit further proposals under the next phase of funding under the CCTV Initiative, details of which will be announced in the spring.

Reconviction Statistics

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list, for the most recent 12 months for which figures are available, the percentage of offenders whose age at the time of discharge from prison or commencement of a non-custodial order was (a) under 21 years, (b) 21 to 24 years, (c) 25 to 29 years and (d) aged 30 years or over, who were reconvicted within two years of (i) discharge from prison, (ii) commencement of a probation order, (iii) commencement of a community service order and (iv) commencement of a combination order, indicating the percentage reconviction figures for each age group in respect of each disposal; [107051]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The most recently available relevant information relates to reconvictions in samples of prisoners discharged from prison in 1995 and of offenders commencing community penalties in the first quarter of 1995.

The source of this information on reconviction is the Home Office Offenders Index. This does not contain information on cautioning of offenders. It should be borne in mind that this information relates to reconviction rather than reoffending.

Table 1: All offenders reconvicted(5), by age at discharge from custody or commencement of a community penalty(6), within two years of discharge or commencement during 1995
England and Wales Percentage reconvicted

All males and females Age at discharge or commencement
Sentence typeUnder 2121-2425-2930 and overTotal
Community Service6857483452
Combination order7666603960
All community penalties7161554056
Immediate custody7767573958

(5) The number reconvicted includes only those reconvicted for standard list offence.

(6) Community penalty figures relate to the first quarter of 1995.

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Table 2: All offenders reconvicted(7), by number of previous court appearances, within two years of discharge or commencement of a community penalty(8) during 1995
England and Wales Percentage reconvicted

All males and females Number of previous convictions(9)
Sentence typeNone1 or 23-67-1011 or moreTotal
Community Service304660687352
Combination order395265717360
All community penalties314861687656
Immediate custody184159697858

(7) The number reconvicted includes only those reconvicted for standard list offence.

(8) Community penalty figures relate to the first quarter of 1995.

(9) Appearances at court that led to a conviction for standard list offences before the commencement or discharge date, excluding the last conviction before commencement or discharge if no conviction is recorded on the day of commencement or discharge date--this would normally be the number of previous convictions prior to the sentencing date.

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