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19 Dec 2000 : Column: 123W
with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the inclusion of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. 
Mr. Ingram: There are currently no plans to designate the FCO under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. However, the issue of designation of Government Departments is kept under review. In the course of these deliberations we will consider whether it is appropriate to designate the FCO as a public authority for the purposes of the Act. My officials keep the Equality Commission informed of our thinking on this and other matters.
Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average daily cost of a sitting of the Saville inquiry has been; and what have been the (a) maximum and (b) minimum daily costs to date. 
Mr. Ingram: The Secretary of State has no immediate plans to visit Kosovo. In my role as Security Minister, I visited Pristina in December 1999 with the Chief Constable to meet 60 officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary working with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. It was evident then that the RUC contingent would play a key part in the executive policing role pending the establishment of a new Kosovan police service. The RUC has currently 62 officers in Kosovo where they continue to provide outstanding support.
Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will commence the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 and Part II of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. 
Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of convicted sex offenders have been treated with cognitive behaviour therapies over the past 10 years; and what proportion of those (a) treated and (b) not treated have re-offended subsequently. 
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Mr. Boateng: Information is available on the number of sex offenders in prison in England and Wales who have completed a cognitive behavioural Sex Offender Treatment Programme since 1992. This is shown in the table. It is not possible to calculate what percentage this is of all convicted sex offenders but for comparison the population of sentenced sex offenders in prison each year is shown.
All Sex Offender Treatment Programmes in English and Welsh prisons are evaluated by the Prison Service's Offender Behaviour Programme Unit (OBPU) with additional input from independent external researchers.
OBPU has made an analysis of all sexual offenders released from prison between 1992 and March 1996. The results showed that treated offenders had slightly better reconviction rates after two years than untreated offenders except for the very highest risk category. The number of reconvictions were small however, which made it difficult to attach significance levels to the results.
More detailed evaluations of Prison Service's later prison treatment programmes are now being carried out by a team of independent researchers--but it is still too early for reliable reconviction studies.
|Year||Numbers completing SOTP||Sentenced sex offenders in custody (30 June each year)|
This information is also available in "Prison Statistics England & Wales" 1999 CM 4805 (tables 1.7 and 7.2), a copy of which is in the Library.
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Mr. Charles Clarke: We do not know precisely the extent to which illegally imported beer is a factor in other crime, but we do know that alcohol misuse generally is often associated with crime and disorder. It is likely that illegally imported alcohol, including beer, will play a part in some cases, particularly where the alcohol ends up in the hands of under-age drinkers. The illegal importation of beer and other alcohol is primarily a matter for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. It is an issue that will be addressed further within the overall context of the Home Department action plan on alcohol-related crime. This set out a forward programme to address all aspects of alcohol-related crime and disorder, including the problems associated with under-age drinking.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Tackling under-age drinking is a priority for this Government. It is one of the key objectives of the Home Department action plan on alcohol-related crime. In taking forward the programme set out in that action plan, we shall, in consultation with Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and the police, look at whether more can be done to address the availability of illegally imported beer and other alcohol, in particular to young people. In addition, to go further in tackling under-age drinking more generally, we shall be asking Parliament to approve measures which will strengthen the requirements on licensees and their staff to satisfy themselves that customers are at least 18 before selling alcohol to them, and to establish clearly the ability of the police and local authorities to arrange for the test purchasing of alcohol by children under this age.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response his Department has made to the report of the Police Complaints Authority on deaths in custody; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Department welcomed the report of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the statistics which show a decline in the number of deaths in police custody. The fall in deaths occurring at police stations is particularly encouraging. These reductions reflect the efforts of police forces implementing good practice, much of it identified through work done by the PCA. Key initiatives include safer custody facilities, improved training, Closed Circuit Television observation and an emphasis on better care, assessment and monitoring of detainees.
The Home Department published its bulletin containing statistics on deaths in police custody during 1999-2000 on 15 December. This will also show a decline in the number of people dying in police stations. The bulletin will also set out a range of current action aimed at achieving further reductions.
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Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to amend the provisions of the Prisoners Act 1952 relating to the opening and examination of letters to and from prisoners to search for enclosures. 
Mr. Boateng: Powers to examine prisoners' communications are set out in the Prison Rules 1999 (SI 728 as amended), which are made under section 47 of the Prison Act 1952. The rules were amended on 23 September 2000 (SI 2641) among other things to specify more clearly the grounds on which interception could take place. We have no further plans to amend the Rules in this respect.
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