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Police Complaints

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length of time was the Police Complaints Authority took to deal with complaints in the last 12 months; and what the PCA guidelines stipulate this should be. [129464]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) agreed targets for the completion of each stage of the complaints process in a joint statement of intent with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 1992. The PCA's performance against these targets is set out in its annual report.

In 1998-99, the last year for which figures are available, 63 per cent. of PCA supervised investigations were completed within the agreed target of 120 days. The PCA took an average of 47 days to complete its discipline review of completed investigations, against an agreed target of 28 days.

Judicial Decisions

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under which European Union or Community instrument Her Majesty's Government (a) have agreed and (b) plan to agree the mutual recognition of court judgments among EU member states; if he will list each such document and when it (i) was published, (ii) was considered in Parliament and (iii) came into or is expected to come into force; and which bodies or persons the Government consulted before reaching such decisions. [129753]

Mrs. Roche: Action to follow up the conclusions of the Tampere European Council on mutual recognition of judicial decisions has not yet reached the stage of European Union or Community legislation. The French Presidency has however tabled a document in the Article 36 Committee, dated 26 June, (reference 9737/00) which outlines a programme of legislative measures to implement the principle of mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters. The document has been deposited for scrutiny in both Houses. The Government intend to support work on the programme of measures, and will consult appropriate United Kingdom bodies including those concerned in implementing the proposals, before any legislation is adopted.


Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 14 June 2000, Official Report, column 626W, on immigration, if he will list those parts of European treaties coming into force subsequent to the passage of the Immigration Act 1971 which permit questioning, searching and detention on grounds of public policy through derogation from treaty provisions concerning freedom of movement and absence of internal frontiers within the European Union and Community. [129754]

Mrs. Roche: Under the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the European Union is subject to derogations on grounds of public policy, public security and public health. These limitations on the Treaty freedoms are allowed by Article 39(3) (as regards freedom of movement for workers), Article 46 (as regards

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the right of establishment) and Article 55 (as regards the provision of services), and are also recognised by Article 18 (inserted by the Treaty on European Union).

The same limitations can be found in the secondary Community legislation on freedom of movement, including Directives 68/360/EEC, 73/148/EEC and 75/34/EEC. The use by member states of these derogations is subject to Directive 64/221/EEC on the co-ordination of special measures concerning the movement and residence of foreign nationals which are justified on the grounds of public policy, public security, or public health, extended by Directives 72/194/EEC and 75/35/EEC.

In order for Immigrations Officers to decide whether a person should be excluded on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health, Article 20(2)(e) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Order 1994 applies the powers to question, search and detain contained in Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971 to EEA nationals.

In the case of the United Kingdom, the question of derogation from provision concerning the absence of internal frontiers within the EU does not arise, having regard to our special position on the maintenance of internal frontier controls.

Citizenship Applicants (Language Difficulties)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants for UK citizenship in each year since 1990 were turned down because they had an inadequate grasp of English. [129614]

Mrs. Roche: Information is not available in the form requested for the years 1990-94.

The number of applications refused for an insufficient knowledge of English between 1995 and June 2000 (the latest month for which information is available) are shown in the table.


(22) As of 30 June


Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish his response to the Second report of the Home Affairs Committee for Session 1999-2000 on Controls over Firearms (HC95). [129505]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government are currently considering the Select Committee's report and hopes to publish their response by way of a Command Paper shortly.

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he collates on the amount of time which is taken by each constabulary to

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come to a decision on applications for shotgun licences in the last five years; and what were the longest and shortest waiting times. [129506]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government do not collect statistics routinely on the time taken by individual police forces to grant or renew shotgun certificates.

Children's Homes

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans exist for a co-ordinated police response in relation to (a) child abuse in care, (b) disappearances from children's homes and (c) child deaths in children's homes. [129769]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)/Local Government Association jointly issued a set of guidelines, "Missing from Care: Procedures and Practices in Caring for Missing Children" (1988), underlining the importance of close co-operation between police and social services when children go missing from care.

"Working Together to Safeguard Children" is a Department of Health document which has been prepared and issued jointly by the DOH, the Home Office and the Department of Education and Employment. It is addressed to those who work in the health and education services, the police, social services, the probation service, and those whose work brings them into contact with children and families. It is intended to provide a national framework within which agencies at a local level draw up and agree detailed ways of working together to promote children's welfare and to protect them from abuse and neglect and, in the most extreme cases, death.

Following publication of "Learning the Lessons--the Government's response to the Waterhouse Report", there is to be an inter-agency review of best practice in conducting complex abuse investigations. A Review Group is being established to take forward this work, bringing together representatives from the Home Office, Department of Health, Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Social Services and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Child Detainees

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many girls aged 15, 16 and 17 years were received into custody during 1999 (a) under sentence, (b) convicted unsentenced and (c) unconvicted. [129697]

Mr. Boateng: The information requested is given in the table.

Receptions(23) into prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales of females aged 15, 16 and 17, by type of custody in 1999(24)

Type of custodyAge 15Age 16Age 17
Convicted Unsentenced----162

(23) Total receptions cannot be calculated by adding together receptions in each category because there is double counting.

(24) Provisional figures

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Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length of sentence was, by type of offence, for girls aged under 18 years received into custody in each year from 1994 to 1999. [129698]

Mr. Boateng: The information requested is given in the table.

Average sentence length(25) for females aged under 18 received into prisons and young offender establishments in England and Wales, by type of offence, 1994-99
Average sentence length--months

Year of sentenced reception
Offence group199419951996199719981999
Violence against the person7.
Sexual offences--23.7--------
Theft and handling6.
Fraud and forgery----5.0--5.74.8
Drugs offences20.010.022.520.37.616.5
Other offences10.910.
Offence not recorded10.66.810.215.910.76.8
All females under

(25) Excludes those sentenced to life

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