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Stasi (British Agents)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of whether all information relevant to British secret Stasi agents has been made available by the United States from its Operation Rosewood archive; [136248]

Mr. Straw: I can add nothing further to the written answer that I gave the hon. Member on 2 November 2000, Official Report, column 610W. On the question of the release of Security Service files into the public domain, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Ms Russell) on 29 July 1998, Official Report, columns 251-54W. It would not be appropriate to comment further on the work of the security and intelligence agencies.

Police (Lancashire)

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 4 April 2000, Official Report, column 445W, on Lancashire Police, what changes in (a) to (d) have occurred since 4 April. [136860]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Lancashire Constabulary does not have a target establishment. I understand from the Chief Constable that there were 3,229 police officers in the Lancashire Constabulary on 6 November 2000. She has also told me that on the same day, 165 police officers were recorded by the Constabulary as absent from duty through sickness and 135 officers had formal restrictions placed upon the range of duties they are physically or psychologically able to perform. This latter figure does not include temporary arrangements made locally within the force as and when required.

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The number of officers reported to be on light duties has changed significantly since the figure reported in my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's answer to the right hon. Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack) on 4 April 2000, Official Report, column 445W. The Chief Constable informs me that this is due to changes in the definition of light duties by the force, which now also defines recuperative and restricted duties as "light duties".

Certificate of Identity

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in which countries with which the UK maintains diplomatic relations, the Home Office Certificate of Identity is accepted as a valid travel document by the relevant authorities; [135758]

Mrs. Roche: The Home Office Certificate of Identity (CID) is a travel document issued to foreign nationals, other than refugees, who are resident in the United Kingdom and cannot obtain a passport from their national authorities. This type of document is not issued under an international convention but on a discretionary basis. The CID, which guarantees the holder return to the United Kingdom, has traditionally been widely accepted for travel and, as far as I am aware, still is. However, it is for the authorities of each country to decide whether they will accept the CID as a valid form of travel document and, in this connection, I am aware that a number of European Union partners are no longer doing so. My officials are in discussion with colleagues from the European Union countries concerned in order to identify their particular concerns and, if possible, give assurances, which might encourage them to accept the CID for travel.

There are no proposals to replace the CID, which was created specifically to meet the travel needs of that category of foreign national described. The issue is one of acceptability of the document rather than replacement and it is that which we are addressing with our European partners.


Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action the Government are taking to reduce the availability and use of illegally held firearms; and if he will make a statement. [135808]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 30 October 2000]: The Government are committed to supporting the police and Her Majesty's Customs in their work to combat illegal firearms. Measures that form part of our strategy to deal with illegal firearms include:

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The Government are also supporting international efforts to negotiate a United Nations protocol against the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in firearms.

While firearms crime is a serious problem, it remains a small proportion of overall crime figures. Action against illegal firearms should not and will not be taken in isolation from other criminal activities that may be linked with the illegal possession of firearms, for example the drugs trade.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to encourage the return of Kosovans from the UK to Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [136797]

Mrs. Roche: Since the peace agreement was signed in Kosovo in June 1999, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has judged that it is safe for the majority of Kosovan Albanians to return to Kosovo.

The focus of Government policy toward those Kosovan Albanians who came to the United Kingdom either under the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme (HEP) or independently has been and continues to be to encourage and assist their voluntary return to Kosovo. To this end a permanent Kosovan voluntary assisted return programme was funded which ran from 26 July 1999 to 25 June 2000. This has been followed by a general voluntary assisted returns programme open to all nationalities including Kosovans which provides returnees with advice and a return air ticket.

Labour Conference, Brighton

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much grant was given to Sussex Police for the cost of policing this year's Labour Party Conference at Brighton. [136551]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Sussex Police Authority will receive a special grant of up to £1.6 million towards the additional costs they expect to incur in connection with the policing of this year's Labour Party Conference. The grant will be paid on receipt of the Police Authority's formal claim. This is normally received towards the end of the financial year.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to amend the law relating to travellers. [136410]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Chapter 5 of the joint Home Office and Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions guidance document "Managing Unauthorised

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Camping" has been revised and published in order to clarify the confusing issue of "toleration" of unauthorised encampments of travellers. Further research is being undertaken into the effectiveness of the guidance, which will inform any further changes.

While I would not rule out new legislation if that proved necessary to deal with nuisance and crime associated with unauthorised encampments, I am not at present convinced that changes in the law are required.

Money Laundering

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the organisations under his control which he will assign to the National Centre for Combating Money Laundering as set out in section B.8 of the Justice and Home Affairs Meeting on 17 October. [136472]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The joint Council of European Union Justice, Finance and Interior Ministers, held in Luxembourg on 17 October, endorsed the need for the fight against money laundering to be conducted on the basis of a multi disciplinary and co-ordinated preventive and repressive approach. The joint Council also concluded that, if this were appropriate, this objective should be achieved in Member States through the creation, or strengthening, of national multi-disciplinary bodies specifically dedicated to the fight against money laundering. The Government are satisfied that in the United Kingdom these objectives are fully met by the Economic Crime Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service and that no organisational or other changes will be necessary.

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