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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the (a) purpose and (b) present activities of (i) the Odysseus Programme and (ii) the Robert Schuman legal project. 
Mrs. Roche: The Odysseus programme provides training, exchanges and co-operation in the fields of asylum, immigration and crossing of external borders in the 15 member states of the European Union. The programme provides for the possible involvement of the applicant countries. Other non-member countries may also be associated, provided this is in accordance with the programme's objectives.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason a Council directive on minimum standards on procedure for granting and withdrawing refugee status has been proposed; and what his policy is on it. 
Mrs. Roche: The Treaty establishing the European Community envisages the adoption of minimum standards on procedures for granting or withdrawing refugee status within a period of five years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. The importance of such measures was reaffirmed at the Special European Council
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in Tampere in October 1999. The scoreboard to review progress on the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice in the European Union requires the Commission to submit a proposal for minimum standards on asylum procedures with a view to adoption in April 2001.
The Commission presented a proposed directive to the Council on 28 September. The intention of the proposed directive is to establish minimum standards for the fairness and efficiency of asylum procedures in all the member states. This should make a significant contribution to promoting the balance of effort between member states in terms of the receipt of asylum seekers.
Mrs. Roche: The Grotius programme, which is concerned with incentives and exchanges for legal practitioners, runs from 1996-2000. Following the Treaty of Amsterdam, which provided for judicial co-operation in the field of civil law to take place under the Treaty establishing the European Community and for judicial co-operation in the field of criminal law to take place under the Treaty on European Union, it will be necessary to split the Grotius programme in future. The Commission has proposed the extension of the Grotius programme in the area of civil law for the period of one year only, to enable consideration of its future and its relationship with other programmes, notably the Robert Schuman programme. In the area of criminal law, the Commission has indicated that it is considering proposing the extension of the Grotius programme for a period of two years.
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent advice he has received from HM Inspectorate of Fire Services on proposals to reduce manning in (a) Heswall Fire Station and (b) other fire stations from 24 hour to day time manning. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Advice from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Fire Services would not normally be sought until after receipt of an application to reduce a fire authority's establishment under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947. The information is as follows:
(a) To date we have not received an application from Merseyside Fire and Civil Defence Authority regarding fire cover provision at Heswall fire station.
(b) There has been only one such section 19 application this year, on which advice from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Fire Services is awaited. This application was submitted by Merseyside Fire and Civil Defence Authority in relation to Formby fire station.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to facilitate the establishment of a national centre for studies and training in personal safety from crime. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: There are a number of organisations working in this field and the Home Office encourages all initiatives in this area. The Home Office has recently had discussions with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust about how we could assist them with the setting up of their International Personal Safety Centre for the reduction of Crime and Violence against the Person.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the reasons for the delay in the announcement of the result of the competition for city status to mark the millennium 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: At no point was a date set for the announcement of the result of the Millennium city status competition, but as I have indicated on previous occasions we anticipate an announcement by the end of the year.
Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total cost was to public funds of (a) defending ADT v. UK, including the legal costs of both sides and (b) the damages awarded. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The applicant was awarded £20,929.05 damages in respect of the cost of defending criminal proceedings, travel expenses, prosecution costs, loss for items confiscated and destroyed and non-pecuniary losses. In addition, the applicant was awarded £13,771.28 in respect of costs and expenses.
As regards the Government's legal costs, much of the work involved was carried out by officials and lawyers already employed by Government. We are not therefore able to estimate the total cost of defending the action before the European Court of Human Rights.
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government set up the Sex Offences Review in January 1999. Its terms of reference were to make proposals for reform of the law on sex offences which were among other things compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The report of the review is contained in 'Setting the Boundaries'. The review recommended that the offence of gross indecency should be repealed. It was that offence for which ADT was convicted and which, in the circumstances of his conviction, was found to have been a breach of ADT's private life under Article 8.
The consultation period finishes on 1 March 2001. Following this the Government will consider legislation for a comprehensive reform of the law on sexual offences, including gross indecency, when parliamentary time allows.
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Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what administrative action he intends to take in relation to (a) existing and (b) future charges of gross indecency in the light of the decision in the case of ADT v. UK. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: We have made it clear that this area of the law is the subject of recommendations contained in 'Setting the Boundaries'. Until the law is changed it remains in force and enforceable. There is no administrative action which the Home Office can or should take to prevent enforcement of the law.
However, any decision not to prosecute any individual under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 will be a matter for the independent Crown Prosecution Service. In determining whether to proceed with a prosecution the CPS will have regard to the public interest and in doing so will take account of the Court's judgment and the Human Rights Act 1998.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Gambling Review Body is due to report next summer. We shall give its report careful consideration, bearing in mind the generally acknowledged need to modernise the laws regulating gambling.
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