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Private Sector Secondments

Dr. Brand: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the private sector companies from which secondments have been made to his Department since June 1997. [133878]

Mr. Mandelson: There have been no secondments as yet to the Northern Ireland Office from private sector companies.

Suicide (Prisons)

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners took their own lives in prison in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years broken down by age, religion, institution in which they were held and the method of death. [134159]

Mr. Ingram: There were no suicides in Northern Ireland prison establishments in 1992 and 1993. Details for the other years are as shown. The method used in all cases was hanging. Religious affiliation is private confidential information.











Coroners' inquests have yet to determine the cause of three other deaths in prison. During the same period there has been one death due to hanging in the Young Offenders Centre and two other deaths there are under investigation by the Coroner.

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when action to prevent suicide in Northern Ireland prisons will be brought into line with practice in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. [134156]

Mr. Ingram: Suicide awareness policy and practice in the Northern Ireland Prison Service is broadly in line with practice in prison establishments in England and Wales.

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Suicides (Hydebank Wood)

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times heavy canvas suits have been used on suicidal boys in Hydebank Wood Young Offenders' Institution in each of the last 10 years. [134158]

Mr. Ingram: Heavy canvas suits have not been used on any inmate considered to be at risk of suicide or self-harm at HM Young Offenders Centre during the last 10 years.

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times single separation has been used on suicidal boys in Hydebank Wood Young Offenders' Institution in each of the last 10 years. [134157]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is available only from 1995.

Records show that the observation room in the Young Offenders Centre hospital has been used for inmates who are deemed to be medically at risk. This will include, but not exclusively, inmates considered to be at risk of suicide or self-harm.

The information is as follows:

YearTimes
199521
199627
199725
199838
199938
2000(1)30

(1) Up to 13 October 2000


None of the inmates that were placed in the observation room has taken his own life there.

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many boys who committed suicide in Hydebank Wood had been (a) subjected to single separation in an observation cell and (b) placed in a heavy canvas suit. [134155]

Mr. Ingram: Heavy canvas suits are not in use in the Young Offenders Centre. No inmate placed in the observation cell in the Centre hospital has taken his life there.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

RUC Officers

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held with (a) the United Nations, (b) the OSCE and (c) other international organisations concerning the participation of serving and former RUC officers in peace-keeping duties overseas. [133523]

Mr. Hain: The RUC are one of the many police forces in the UK who contribute valuable officers as part of UK civilian police contingents to international peacekeeping operations.

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My officials are in regular contact with those international and regional organisations deploying civilian police overseas to discuss issues relating to the deployment of UK civilian police, including the RUC.

European Charter of Fundamental Rights

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy towards the development of a charter of fundamental rights. [134204]

Mr. Vaz: The Government strongly support the Charter. People need to know their rights, and the EU Institutions need to respect them. The Conclusions of the June 1999 Cologne European Council set out the rationale for the Charter. It has two main benefits: it sets out fundamental rights and principles that the EU Institutions should respect when going about their daily business, and promotes their visibility and accessibility.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place the provisional text of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Library. [134172]

Mr. Vaz: The draft text submitted to the Biarritz European Council was placed in the Libraries of both Houses earlier this month.

DEFENCE

Ships Names and Badges Committee

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the members of the Ships' Names and Badges Committee, the dates and locations of meetings during the last 12 months and the costs of such meetings. [134164]

Dr. Moonie: The Ships Names and Badges Committee was formed in 1983 with the amalgamation of the Ships Names Committee (founded in 1913) and the Ships Badges Committee (founded in 1918). The Committee has four standing members:


The Committee may call upon additional specialist attendees such as the Naval Adviser on Heraldry and representatives of naval commands pertinent to the type of vessel under consideration.

Prior to July of this year, the standing committee was larger, and comprised:



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The committee has met in the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall on three occasions over the last 12 months:


There were nine attendees at the first two meetings and three at the last. Each of these meetings has lasted one hour on average but will clearly vary subject to the number of vessels under consideration. The cost of such meetings is minimal.

Radio Systems

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the Bowman Radio Project with special reference to the (a) project overrun and (b) cost; [133586]

Dr. Moonie: I have taken these as referring to Bowman and Clansman. Bowman will provide the armed forces with a tactical combat radio communications system to replace the Clansman system which has been in service since the mid 70s. Clansman will continue to be fully supported until the introduction of Bowman. MOD is seeking to maintain the current planned in service date of late 2003/early 2004 for Bowman, but until the outcome of the competition is known it is not possible to give a firm date.

The original Bowman in service date of December 1995 has slipped for a number of reasons including technical difficulties, the collapse of the original competition and industrial and budgetary constraints. The announcement in July this year of our intention to remove preferred supplier status from Archer Communications Systems Ltd. and to run a new competition has placed the project on a firm Smart Procurement footing and we are confident that competition offers the best prospect of delivering the currently planned In Service Date.

For the purposes of new competition, the available budget for the procurement of Bowman is £1.7 billion (VAT inc). This figure excludes sunk costs, long term support and Government Funded Material.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will make a decision on the new prime contractor for Bowman; and if he will state the (a) in-service date and (b) available budget. [133839]

Mr. Hoon: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Robert to Walmsley to Mr. Robert Key, dated 23 October 2000:




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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the in-service date is for the Bowman combat radio system; and if he will make a statement. [131786]

Dr. Moonie: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Robert Walmsley to Mr. Robert Key, dated 23 October 2000:




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