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Banking Secrecy

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effect on banking secrecy of the conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 17 October. [136386]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The joint Council of European Union Justice, Interior and Finance Ministers on 17 October reaffirmed the view that bank secrecy should not be able to be invoked in the member states to frustrate criminal investigations. The Government fully share that view and, under United Kingdom law, evidence can be obtained, if necessary by means of a court order, regardless of any question of bank secrecy.

Political Groups (Foreign Funding)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to investigate funding of political groups in the UK by foreign intelligence agencies, with particular reference to the former Communist Party of Great Britain. [136265]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill will ban the foreign funding of political parties in the United Kingdom.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had

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with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health on the advantages and disadvantages of legalising cannabis. [136233]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have had no such discussions.

Hinduja Family

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account he took of the investigations into the involvement of members of the Hindiya family in the Bofors scandal in India, when he approved G. P. Hindiya's and S. P. Hindiya's applications for British citizenship in 1998 and 1999. [136264]

Mrs. Roche: I presume the hon. Member is referring to the applications for naturalisation made by Mr. G. P. Hinduja and Mr. S. P. Hinduja.

We were aware of allegations involving members of the Hinduja family made in 1990 but no action had been taken regarding them, by the time the decisions were made.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy that police officers must disclose whether they are freemasons. [136276]

Mr. Charles Clarke: My right hon. Friend will make a decision about this following the current Home Office consultation of the police service about how to make acceptable arrangements for registration and disclosure of freemasonry membership by police officers. A copy of the consultation document has been placed in the Library.

Wheel Clamping

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce measures to regulate wheel clamping on private property. [136668]

Mr. Charles Clarke: In the White Paper "The Government's Proposals for Regulating the Private Security in England and Wales", issued last year, we announced proposals to regulate wheel clampers as part of a package of statutory measures for the private security industry as a whole. We have been considering the responses we received to the White Paper and will introduce legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Race Relations (Amendment) Bill

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the provisions of the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill will alter the responsibilities of chief officers of police to ensure that ethnic officers and civilian staff have fair treatment and equal opportunities for promotion and for allocation to specialist units. [137205]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The provisions of the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill will, once enacted, impact upon the responsibilities of Chief Officers of Police in a number of ways. First, they will make it unlawful for them and their officers to racially discriminate when enforcing the law. They are already covered with regard to their employment function and to the extent to which they

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provide goods, facilities and services. Secondly, Chief Officers of Police will be made vicariously liable for acts of racial discrimination by officers under their direction and control. Thirdly, Police Authorities are made subject in the Bill to the new duty to be placed upon specified public authorities to work towards the elimination of unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups. This duty will cover functions performed by Chief Officers' of Police other than operational ones by virtue of their implementation of Policing Plans under the Police Act 1996. Consideration is currently being given to whether Chief Officers of Police should be listed themselves in respect of their operational functions which fall outside those plans, using the order making powers contained at section 71(5) of the Bill.

The Bill will therefore reinforce the responsibilities of Chief Officers of Police to ensure that ethnic minority police officers and civilian staff and, indeed, members of the public are not discriminated against on racial grounds.

Duke of Buccleough

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make available records relating to the wartime internment of the Duke of Buccleough; and if he will make a statement. [136949]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I understand that the Home Office does not hold any records relating to the Duke of Buccleough.

Stop and Search Powers

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for each of the police forces which have declared areas for use of stop and search powers under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 during this year, what has been the largest area to which the powers have been applied. [137171]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not collated centrally. Use of powers under section 60 is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police.

Oakington Reception Centre

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum cases have been housed in Oakington reception centre; and what the outcome was of the decisions made in these cases. [136920]

Mrs. Roche: Since the Oakington reception centre opened on 20 March, it has housed 1,935 principal applicants and 310 dependants up to 27 October. At that date, 1,611 decisions had been made on the asylum claims lodged by the applicants, of which 1,595 were refused and 16 granted either refugee status or exceptional leave.

Criminal Certificates

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which of the three new criminal certificates will be required by (a) a person seeking employment as a teacher in a primary school, (b) a person applying for employment with the police service and (c) a person seeking a position of responsibility within the Scout Movement; and if he will make a statement. [136801]

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Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November 2000]: Part V of the Police Act 1997, under which the Criminal Records Bureau is being established, does not impose a requirement for criminal record checks. The type of certificate for which a person will be eligible will essentially be determined on a case-by-case basis, measuring the particular circumstances of a position against the criteria. A school teacher would plainly be eligible for the highest level of certificate--an enhanced criminal record certificate--under the criterion of regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under 18.

Many within the Scout movement would also be eligible for the enhanced level of certificate, although the matter would depend upon the precise nature of the duties and responsibilities. In practice, it is expected that police officers will continue to be subject to separate vetting arrangements, which include additional and more vigorous checks not appropriate to most other occupations.

Criminal Offence Statistics

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many criminal offences were reported in (a) England and (b) Wales in each of the last 10 years in areas defined as rural and urban. [136745]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 November 2000]: Details of crime reported to the police are not available. Figures of crimes recorded by the police are collected by police force area. These can include both urban and rural areas, and it is therefore not possible to give the figures requested for crime recorded by the police in rural and urban areas.

However, the British Crime Survey (BCS) does draw a distinction between rural and urban areas. As the sample size in Wales is insufficient to provide a reliable estimate for the area, the figures given are for England and Wales as a whole. The BCS asked about crime reported to the police but estimates of these over time in rural and other areas would also be insufficiently reliable. The figures are on a per capita basis for selected offences since 1991, and are as follows:

BCS incident rates 1991-99 for burglary, vehicle-related thefts and violent crime

Burglary incidents per 10,000 households
Vehicle-related thefts per 10,000 vehicle owning households
Violent crime incident rates per 10,000 adults


For the purposes of BCS analyses, rural areas are identified by according ACORN--(A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods) categories. ACORN classifies households according to the demographic, employment and housing characteristics of the surrounding neighbourhood. Rural areas are defined as those areas falling into Acorn types 1 to 9, and 27.


British Crime Survey 1992-2000

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