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Drug Dealers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drug dealers have been (a) sent to and (b) released from prison in each of the last three years. [134536]

Mr. Boateng: It is not possible to identify "drug dealers" on the central prison database as it is not a standard coded item. The available information on receptions into and discharges from prisons in England and Wales for all coded drug offences is given in the table.

Receptions into and discharges from Prison Service establishments in England and Wales for drug offences 1997-99

Year
199719981999
1. Receptions
Drug production171145150
Drug supply2,2102,3342,506
Drug possession with intent2,5352,5762,521
Drug possession1,1391,2591,347
Drug unlawful import/export9581,0161,072
Other drugs offences617080
Total7,0747,4007,676
2. Discharges
Drug production14315980
Drug supply1,5852,0431,428
Drug possession with intent2,0762,4751,547
Drug possession9641,129962
Drug unlawful import/export637719700
Other drugs offences607554
Total5,4656,6004,771

New Year (Licensing Regulations)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he intends to take regarding the availability of late night opening of pubs nationally on new year's eve. [135130]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Henderson) on 26 October 2000, Official Report, columns 203-04W.

Immigration Policy

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what his policy is on the balance

30 Oct 2000 : Column: 318W

of responsibilities between the EU and the UK Government, and the method of voting in the Council of Ministers, on immigration policy; [135692]

Mrs. Roche: The United Kingdom has, by way of its Protocols to the Treaty establishing the European Community, reserved the right not to be bound by Community law unless it decides to opt into the adoption of measures falling within Title IV of the Treaty (visas, asylum and immigration). We have indicated our general intention to participate in all measures which do not adversely affect the United Kingdom's ability to maintain our frontier and immigration controls.

On 12 March 1999, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced the basis on which the United Kingdom would participate in the adoption of measures under Title IV. On that basis, the United Kingdom has opted into: the Eurodac Regulation, setting up the exchange of fingerprints of asylum seekers and some illegal entrants; the draft temporary protection Directive; the negotiating mandate for an agreement with Norway and Iceland parallel to the Dublin Convention; the Council Decision establishing the European Refugee Fund; and measures aimed at combating illegal immigration and trafficking. The latter measures include: a draft Council Directive defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, movement and residence; and a draft Council Directive about harmonisation of financial penalties imposed on carriers transporting into the territory of the member states third-country nationals not having the documents necessary for admission.

Article 67 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community provides that, during a transitional period of five years following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Council of Ministers shall act unanimously on measures adopted under Title IV.

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Firearms

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes involving firearms were recorded in each of the last five years; how many involved use of a firearm; how many resulted in a death; and if he will make a statement. [135810]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Details of firearms (excluding air weapons) used in offences, the number of occasions fired or used as a blunt instrument, and the number of homicides resulting from the use of these firearms, are given in the following table.

YearTotal number of offences in which firearms were usedNumber of occasions fired/used as blunt instrument(20)Number of homicides
19946,0021,04066
19955,86692969
19966,06389649
19974,9041,10359
1998-995,2091,20349

(20) Figures of firearms fired or used as a blunt instrument in 1994, 1995 and 1996 are on the basis of returns made in those years. Because the totals of firearm offences for those years were revised upwards due to late returns by one force, figures of firearms fired or used as a blunt instrument are slight underestimates.


The details for air weapons are as follows:

YearTotal number of offences in which air weapons were usedNumber of occasions fired/used as blunt instrument(21)Number of homicides
19947,1656,8960
19957,5687,2721
19967,8137,4490
19977,5067,2070
1998-998,6658,2300

(21) Figures of firearms fired or used as a blunt instrument in 1994, 1995 and 1996 are on the basis of returns made in those years. Because the totals of firearm offences for those years were revised upwards due to late returns by one force, figures of firearms fired or used as a blunt instrument are slight underestimates.


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Blantyre Prison

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total cost was of the raid by prison officers on Blantyre Prison; and if he will give the cost of damage caused during the raid. [134633]

Mr. Boateng: The total cost of the search operation at Blantyre House on 5 May was £22,784.85, of which £2,242.20 represents the cost of the materials needed to repair damage that occurred during the search.

Armed Police

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the use of armed police officers on foot patrols; whether police authorities have to be consulted before armed police are used on routine patrols; how many forces use armed police officers for routine patrols; what assessment has been made by his Department of the effectiveness of the use of armed patrol officers; what guidance has been issued by (a) his Department and (b) the Association of Chief Police Officers; and if he will make a statement. [135807]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The issue and use of firearms is an operational decision for chief officers of police, working within the legal framework and operational guidance issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers. (The guidance has not been published as it could be of assistance to armed criminals.) Firearms operations do not require the agreement of Police Authorities. The Home Office monitors the police use of firearms through annual statistical returns, which are published. The guidance does not permit the use of armed officers on routine foot patrols as opposed to specific operations, and there has therefore been no assessment of effectiveness.

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many specially trained firearms police officers there were (a) in each force and (b) in total (i) at the latest available date and (ii) in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [135811]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The requested information is given in the table.

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Authorised firearms officers: England and Wales

1995-961996-971997-981998-991999-2000
England and Wales6,5546,7386,3556,4116,262
Avon and Somerset157165161153150
Bedfordshire4846425046
Cambridgeshire9290808077
Cheshire8470827075
City of London12088815573
Cleveland6586847880
Cumbria1001081229898
Derbyshire1301101008777
Devon and Cornwall14015114782119
Dorset7574727266
Durham10313814496101
Dyfed-Powys5770716765
Essex203228217235228
Gloucestershire8582847977
Greater Manchester186209182217218
Gwent5570596468
Hampshire104106112110111
Hertfordshire4342414352
Humberside1049010220597
Kent144150150130136
Lancashire138132125132143
Leicestershire105104949090
Lincolnshire8182857578
Merseyside11914716512196
Metropolitan Police1,9152,0351,7411,9511,977
Norfolk9998102109110
North Wales7072909792
North Yorkshire134108958359
Northamptonshire9592929275
Northumbria160173126123114
Nottinghamshire126128129120116
South Wales154134176169155
South Yorkshire12511010890100
Staffordshire8078869281
Suffolk70829610198
Surrey7976616971
Sussex149180146156131
Thames Valley175185194179187
Warwickshire5041384454
West Mercia153155159139129
West Midlands8788959293
West Yorkshire150131114128110
Wiltshire1451341058889

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30 Oct 2000 : Column: 321W


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