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Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) on 3 July 2000, Official Report, columns 18-24W. Since then, the DTI has set up further inward secondments from the following companies:
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ministerial colleagues on compensation for payment by public bodies after 30 days of invoices from small businesses. 
Ms Hewitt: The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 currently seeks to recompense the supplier for the time value of money. It does not currently provide for the cost of pursuing the debt.
The Government are aware that legislation in other EU countries includes charges for the pursuit of the debt, and we have worked closely with our European partners on the forthcoming EC Directive on combating late payment in commercial transactions.
We welcome the recent publication of the Council and Parliament approved text and we are keen to work with the business community and ministerial colleagues to ensure that the Directive is implemented as soon as possible.
Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ensure that small businesses automatically receive interest from public bodies on late payments made after 30 days of being invoiced. 
The Act came into force on 1 November 1998. From that date, small businesses have had an automatic right to claim interest from the public sector on debts incurred under contracts agreed after that date.
Ms Hewitt: All Government Departments and Agencies are required to pay all undisputed bills within 30 days of receipt of the goods or services or a valid invoice, whichever is later, or other agreed credit period. Since 1993 all Government Departments and Agencies have been required to monitor their payment performance. The figures are published annually in the form of a written PQ.
Tough targets have been set to ensure that we continue to improve public sector payment performance. For 1997-98 all Departments were required to pay 95 per cent. of their invoices on time, 97.5 per cent. was introduced for 1998-99 and 100 per cent. for 1999-2000.
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made an Order under the Fair Trading Act 1973 on 1 August to implement the recommendations in the Competition Commission report on the supply of new cars. The Order came into effect on 1 September. It contains a number of provisions, including a requirement that suppliers must offer dealers
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Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Competition Commission's Inquiry into supermarkets will look at the impact on small (a) newsagents and (b) publishers of the proposed distribution arrangements for magazines between Tesco and W H Smith News. 
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the selective elimination and reduction of import duties on products imported into the UK under EU preferences enables eligible third country producers to benefit from a combination of stronger export pricing power, larger export sales and increased competitiveness in EU markets relative to third country producers that are not eligible to participate in EU preferences. 
Mr. Caborn: Increased preferences will benefit those third country producers eligible to receive them. Those producers overall should experience larger export sales and/or higher returns on exports, as a result of their increased competitiveness in the EU market.
A reduction in the normal level (i.e. MFN) of import duties lessens the value of preferential tariffs offered by the EC. In products where preferences are offered, their erosion tends to weaken and not strengthen the export pricing power of exporters receiving preferences compared with those who do not. Against this, however, the elimination or steady reduction of import duties in general improves the market access of those receiving preferences and offers scope for expansion of exports in other products.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if third country exporters and producers are expected to derive benefit from their participation in the import preferences granted their products under the EU's preferential trade-related agreements. 
A general reduction in import duties would reduce the value of trade preference. However, developing countries could benefit from the general reduction of tariffs in sectors where they have particular comparative cost advantage.
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Officer scheme; how many Tutor Officers have been selected; where they are based; what their geographical spread is from policing districts across Northern Ireland; what their composition is in terms of (a) gender and (b) perceived community background; what training they have had; how many hours training they have had on the operation of the Human Rights Act 1998; and how many officers have received training to date. 
Mr. Ingram: Following in-house evaluation, work is underway to enhance the Tutor Officer scheme. A further evaluation will then be made. There are currently 157 Tutor Officers of whom 138 are male and 19 female. Of these, 128 are perceived to be from a Protestant background and 22 perceived to be from a Roman Catholic background while seven are not determined. The geographical spread reflects the demand based on the number of probationers in each RUC Division.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to recruit teachers for the police training programme on the Human Rights Act 1998; what arrangements has he made to facilitate officers' completion of the course; how many hours of tuition and study each officer will undertake; and by what criteria officers will be assessed on their comprehension of the issues and ability to put human rights policing into effect. 
Mr. Ingram: The Royal Ulster Constabulary has worked in partnership with the University of Ulster to design and deliver the introductory Human Rights training programme. University staff trained officers of Chief Inspector rank and above and also trained the Royal Ulster Constabulary trainers who went on to provide the training for officers in the ranks of Constable, Sergeant and Inspector. A booklet developed in conjunction with the University of Ulster and agreed with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has been provided to each officer as part of the preparation for six hours of training. The ability of officers to put Human Rights Policing into effect will be addressed within the new competency framework for staff appraisal.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what preparations have been made for the Office of Police Ombudsman to become fully operational; what budget has been assigned for publicity aimed at (a) officers and staff of the Police Service, (b) members of the public, (c) members of disadvantaged groups, (d) people with disabilities, (e) people whose first language is not English, (f) children and (g) users of police stations. 
Mr. Ingram: The Office of the Police Ombudsman will occupy premises, known as New Cathedral Buildings, which are in central Belfast. The premises were acquired in March of this year and after extensive design work were fully fitted out to a high standard by the beginning of August. The Police Ombudsman (Designate) moved into her new offices, one month ahead of schedule, on 14 August.
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Australia and South Africa and subsequently an exhaustive selection process. Because of the nature of the work that will be undertaken, an extensive programme of training has been developed with the assistance of the Northern Ireland Office, Metropolitan Police Service, RUC, University of Ulster and various other public bodies and voluntary organisations. Training is due to commence in early October at various venues in the UK. (Existing staff of the Independent Commission for Police Complaints will transfer to the new body).
Protocols are currently in the final stages of agreement or are being developed between the Ombudsman, Northern Ireland Office, Independent Commission for Police Complaints, Chief Constable and the RUC to accommodate transitional and investigative arrangements.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in drawing up revised conduct regulations for police officers; what bodies have been consulted over draft versions; what advice he has sought from police services in other jurisdictions; and when he plans to introduce the new regulations. 
Mr. Ingram: The revised conduct regulations and guidance have been completed and are currently undergoing final consultation in line with section 64(4) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998. This section requires the Secretary of State to consult the Ombudsman, the Police Authority and the Police Association before making regulations governing the conduct of the police. Others consulted include the Chief Constable, the Independent Commission for Police Complaints, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Human Rights Commission.
In formulating the new regulations, which mirror that of England and Wales, advice was sought from the Home Office who co-ordinated the responses of police forces across England and Wales. The revised regulations are due to come into force on 6 November.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made so far in downsizing the Police Service; and what his estimate is of likely progress in the next six months. 
Mr. Ingram: The closing date for applications in year one of the scheme is the 30 November 2000. To date there have been over 600 expressions of interest for early retirement, however, the actual number of applicants for year one will not be known until the expiry of the closing date. At this stage it is estimated that approximately 600 officers will leave by 31 March 2001.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what written documentation in furtherance of the Patten implementation plan has been supplied to the Oversight Commissioner in order to set out the objectives in the next 12 months of (a) the Government, (b) the Police Service and (c) the Police Authority; and if he will place such documentation in the Library. 
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Mr. Ingram: The Government's Implementation Plan, published in June 2000, sets out how the recommendations in the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland are being implemented.
The Government, RUC and Police Authority have made, and will continue to make, such information available to the Oversight Commissioner as is needed for the performance of his functions. No central record is kept of the information given.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he published each of the regulations on (a) part-time working, (b) job-sharing and (c) career breaks for police officers and Police Service civilians; how this information has been disseminated and at what cost; how many officers and civilians will have taken these options by the end of the first year of their introduction; and what his estimate is for each of the next five years. 
Mr. Ingram: Part-time working and job-sharing arrangements for police officers were introduced by Force Order on 24 July 1997. There is currently no facility for career breaks although police officers can and do take periods of unpaid leave.
Eight police officers availed of part-time working in the first year of operation (September 1997 to August 1998). To date, no police officers have opted for job-sharing. Figures relating to the first year of the civilian schemes are not available.
It is difficult to project the potential uptake of each scheme over the next five years, but given that 25 police officers have availed of part-time working since its introduction, it is reasonable to assume that up to 40 officers may avail of the scheme during the next five years. Similarly, up to 25 civilian support staff may be expected to take up part-time or job-sharing with the same number taking career breaks.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment the Human Rights Commission has made of the police training programme on the Human Rights Act 1998; how many officers have completed this course; what evaluation he has made of its effectiveness; and what progress has been made on drawing up guidelines and contents for a course on the impact on policing of the new constitutional arrangements for Northern Ireland, the new policing arrangements set out in the Patten report and the proposed reforms of the criminal justice system. 
Mr. Ingram: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Human Rights Commission to write to my hon. Friend on the Commission's assessment of the police training programme on the Human Rights Act 1998. I have asked for a copy of the letter to be made available so that it can be placed in the Library.
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The implementation of recommendation 141 of the Patten Report is addressed in the Government's Implementation Plan (published June 2000). Progress will be assessed by the independent Oversight Commissioner.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures have been taken to identify appropriate non-police environment institutions for management training in Ireland and overseas; and how many members of the Change Management Team have studied or have the qualifications to assess the effectiveness of management workshops. 
Mr. Ingram: Substantive links have already been established with the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and a number of officers have either completed or are undertaking management related academic courses outside the police environment. The Training, Education and Development Strategy currently being developed by the RUC will further address this issue.
A number of members of the RUC's Change Management Team have qualifications at degree level and above. For example, two have PhDs in 'Making Strategy Work in Police Organisations' and 'Auditing Internal Communication in a Major Police Organisation'. In addition, a number are members of professional bodies.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to draw up personal specification and job description for (a) a Commissioner for Covert Law Enforcement and (b) members of a Complaints Tribunal for Covert Law Enforcement operations; when and where he will advertise these positions; what the composition will be of the interview panel; how many of its members will be independent; and if he will place the relevant documents in the Library. 
Mr. Ingram: The Regulation of Investigating Powers Act 2000 makes provision for the regulation of covert policing techniques and provides for commissioner oversight in Northern Ireland. In addition, the Act provides for a UK-wide complaints tribunal.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of police officers recruited in the last two years are studying for academic qualifications; what is the numerical and percentage breakdown by type of qualifications sought and subjects studied; what measures have been taken to encourage officers to undertake academic courses; and what assessment he has made of their effectiveness. 
Mr. Ingram: From June 1999, a total of 188 (100 per cent.) new recruits have been required to study for a Certificate in Police Studies as part of their two year probation period. Of these, 69 (37 per cent.) have opted to pursue a Diploma in Police Studies. Following successful completion of their probation, officers are eligible to
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apply for financial assistance and facilitation to pursue other courses of further education and are actively encouraged to do so. It is too early to assess effectiveness while the students pursue their chosen studies.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will publish the severance arrangements agreed with police representatives; what is the estimate of the total expenditure involved; and what is his forecast of the costs of severance and other payments associated with the downsizing programme calculated on a quarterly basis for each of the next 10 years. 
Mr. Ingram: The severance arrangements were published on 24 July by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in a booklet entitled "A Northern Ireland Office booklet on the Voluntary Early Retirement and Severance Scheme for the RUC". A copy of this has been placed in the Library.
The estimated gross cost of severance is in the region of £1 billion over the next ten years. It is not possible to provide a quarterly breakdown at this stage given the voluntary nature of the scheme.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Police Service staff are assigned to develop a new appraisal system for human rights performance; what grades and ranks these staff are; how many hours per week they are working on this project; where they are based and what is their geographical spread from policing districts across Northern Ireland; what their composition is in respect of (a) gender and (b) perceived community background; when this project started and when it will be completed; and what is its (i) work programme and (ii) budget. 
Mr. Ingram: The Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary has initiated a review of the RUC's appraisal system in light of the recommendations contained within the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland. The number of people involved in the work has varied to meet required needs and it is not possible to answer this question without incurring a disproportionate cost. The independent Oversight Commissioner will report to the Secretary of State on the implementation of the changes.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what personal specification and job description have been drawn up for the appointment of a lawyer with human rights expertise to advise the police service; what will be the composition of the interview panel; and how many of its members will be independent. 
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many police cars are currently in service, what the figures were for (a) July 1994 and (b) July 1998; and how many armoured Land Rovers were in regular use for patrols in (i) July 1994, (ii) July 1998 and (iii) July 2000. 
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patrol duties are not available for the years 1994 and 1998, approximately 110 were used for such purposes during July 2000.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in drawing up the terms of reference for an independent, strategic review of the use of information technology in policing; how and whom he will consult on these terms of reference; and when he will advertise for tenders to be submitted. 
Mr. Ingram: An independent strategic review by a consultant appointed through the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), was already under way at the time of the publication of the Report of the Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland.
In light of the recommendations of that report it was decided to develop the consultant's information systems proposals to take account of new business processes and priorities that emerged from the change management process. Subsequently, a Strategic Information System consultant was appointed by competitive tendering arrangements through the Government Purchasing Agency to validate the way forward under Recommendation 93 of the Report of the Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures have been taken to inform police recruitment agencies in Great Britain of the advantages of recruiting former RUC officers and reservists; and how many ex-RUC officers and reservists have been recruited in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Ingram: The RUC Voluntary Severance Support Unit has been in communication with all GB police forces to indicate a potential recruitment base from former members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and RUC Reserve. There have been no former RUC officers recruited by GB forces within the last 12 months.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what personal specification and job description has been drawn up for (a) members of the group to review criminal convictions and other character tests to determine the suitability of candidates applying to join the police service and (b) the independent adviser to sit on this group; what the composition will be of the interview panels; and how many of their members will be independent; when he expects the report of the review group to be completed; and what arrangements he has made to publish the report. 
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Mr. Ingram: The implementations of recommendation 125 of the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland is covered in the Government's implementation plan. Members of the review group established by the Chief Constable, including its independent chairman, have civilian and police recruiting, human resources and research experience.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he plans to (a) cease using and shut down remaining holding centres at Gough Barracks and Strand Road; how many fully equipped custody suites are currently available and in which police stations; and what additional facilities will come on line in the next six months. 
Mr. Ingram: Strand Road holding centre closed with effect from 1 October. Gough Barracks is the facility currently available to the Royal Ulster Constabulary which meets all the statutory requirements for the detention and interviewing of terrorist suspects. It is not anticipated that any additional facilities will come on line within the next six months. There are 22 fully equipped PACE custody suites across the province at the following police stations: Musgrave Street, Grosvenor Road, Lisburn, Antrim Road, Antrim, Strandtown, Newtownards, Downpatrick, Armagh, Lurgan, Banbridge, Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Omagh, Strand Road, Waterside, Strabane, Coleraine, Limavady, Ballymena and Larne.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what were the terms of reference for the research currently being undertaken on the uniform to be worn by members of the new police service; how many institutions submitted tenders to undertake this research; what were the best-value criteria employed; if he will place the outline of the successful research proposal in the Library; and what is the estimated cost of this research. 
Mr. Ingram: The time constraints imposed by the Government implementation plan mitigated against tendering for research in this matter. As a result, a Uniform Sub-Committee was created within the Royal Ulster Constabulary with the terms of reference "to advise the Chief Constable on the needs of the Force for a new more practical style of uniform". During the course of its work, the Sub-Committee has sought the views of officers through the participation of staff representatives on the committee; held roadshows throughout the Force; issued and analysed responses to a survey; examined problems with the existing uniform and sourced five years of research on this issue carried out by a committee within the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The research has developed a range of suggestions and recommendations, which have been presented to senior command within the Royal Ulster Constabulary. I have no plans to place an outline of the research material in the Library at present.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions his Department has initiated with (a) the Irish Government and (b) the Garda Siochana to consider facilitation of lateral recruitment of experienced officers into the new police service. 
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Mr. Ingram: Issues of North/South co-operation on policing covered by the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland have been discussed in a number of meetings with the Irish Government.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions have been held with (a) the Irish Government and (b) the Garda Siochana to identify possible venues for the first annual conference between police services north and south of the border. 
Mr. Ingram: Issues of North/South co-operation on policing covered by the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland have been discussed in a number of meetings with the Irish Government.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the composition of the Change Management Team established by the Chief Constable; how many police service officers and staff are assigned to the team; what grades and ranks these staff are; how many hours per week they are working on this project; where they are based and what their geographical spread is from policing districts across Northern Ireland; and what their composition is in terms of (a) gender and (b) perceived community background. 
Mr. Ingram: To date a total of eight consultants have been selected by competitive tender to assist with the change process in the RUC at a cost of around £70,000. In addition the RUC Change Manager has as a mentor Professor Andrew Kakabadse, Chairman of the Human Resources Network and Director of the Cranfield Centre for International Development, Cranfield University.
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to provide a non-discriminatory working environment for all Police Service employees; how many complaints have been made by employees in the past 12 months; how many disciplinary actions have been instigated; what evidence has been distributed to workplaces; what consultation has taken place with employees; what surveys have been undertaken to solicit views of employees; and what information exchanges have been initiated with non-UK police services. 
Mr. Ingram: The following actions have been taken to date. The introduction of harassment policy and distribution of harassment posters and booklets throughout the organisation; literature on the Neutral Working Environment distributed to Sub-Divisional Commanders; the establishment of a confidential helpline; Harassment Support officers appointed throughout the force; corresponding poster campaign and circular to staff publicising same; inclusion of equality and harassment sessions on induction training and on training for new recruits; inclusion of module on Equal Opportunities in the Management Development Programme for civilian staff; introduction of anti-harassment training for all officers; introduction of harassment resolution training on the management course for sergeants and inspectors; introduction of Equal Opportunities Awareness for all civilian staff.
Future action will include the inclusion of Harassment Resolution training on new management training being developed for Chief Inspector and Superintendent ranks; review of harassment policy and procedures; review of the Harassment Support Officer scheme; the development of computer based training in grievance resolution.
Staff surveys have been conducted on Sexual harassment in the Royal Ulster Constabulary; Religious harassment in the Royal Ulster Constabulary; and an NI Civil Service survey on harassment and bullying in the workplace.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in establishing a fund to help injured police officers, serving or retired and their families; how many Police Service staff are assigned to this project and at what grades and ranks; how many hours per week they are working on this project; where they are based; what their geographical spread is from policing districts across Northern Ireland; and what their composition is in terms of (a) gender and (b) perceived community background; and what budget has been allocated to this project. 
Mr. Ingram: The Government announced on 27 July 2000 that former senior civil servant John Steele has been appointed to conduct a review of Patten's recommendation 87, that there should be a substantial fund
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what development work has so far been undertaken in order to prepare the Police Service for carrying out crime pattern and complaint analysis; how many Police Service staff are assigned to develop this programme and at what grades and ranks; how many hours per week they are working on this project; where they are based; what their geographical spread is from policing districts across Northern Ireland; what their composition is in terms of (a) gender and (b) perceived community background; and what budget has been allocated for this project. 
Mr. Ingram: A Centre has been established to develop, deliver and support a service-wide analytical capability for Crime Pattern Analysis. The centre is staffed by a civilian Grade 7; two Deputy Principals, four Staff Officers; one programmer analyst; seven Executive Officers; six Administrative Officers and three Administrative Assistants. Of the 24 staff, seven are male and 17 female with 14 perceived to be from a Protestant background, four perceived to be from a Roman Catholic background and six staff whose religion is undetermined.
The team is based at offices in Belfast and is working full-time on the project. A full process of consultation is taking place with policing areas across Northern Ireland and it is anticipated that the first dedicated police analysts will be available to local command units before the end of the year. The cost of this project is currently being met from the budget allocation to Operations Department although a bid for additional funding has been made.
Computerised data on complaints are available to commanders in all areas of Northern Ireland for information and analysis. Senior officers in Complaints and Discipline Branch, as part of their day to day duties, monitor individual and broad issues arising from complaints. A Constable and an Assistant Statistician, based in an office in Belfast, are assigned full-time to complaint analysis duties. Given that only two officers staff the office and in the interests of safeguarding personal information, I do not consider it appropriate to comment on their gender or perceived community background.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in investigating options for premises to be used by the RUC Widows Association; where these premises are located; what funding he has agreed to contribute towards the financing of the Widows Association; how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time staff the Association will employ; and what regulations will govern the spending of the association. 
Mr. Ingram: The Government were pleased, in meeting recommendation 88 of the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, to agree funding for the RUC Widows Association to run their organisation. Payment of the grant in aid is subject to standard conditions. Office premises have been set up at 100 Belfast Road, Holywood. The Association plans to employ three part-time co-ordinators.
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to receive the first report from the Oversight Commissioner; what arrangements he has put in place to publish the report; how many copies he intends to publish; and at what estimated cost. 
Mr. Ingram: It is anticipated that the Commissioner will make his first report when the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill has completed its Parliamentary passage. The report will be laid before each of the Houses of Parliament. The number of copies to be published and the associated cost have yet to be determined.
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