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Dangerous Dogs

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to resist pressure by the German Government on the European Union to have the Staffordshire bull terrier classified as a dangerous breed of dog. [143113]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The United Kingdom Government is opposed to European Union legislation on dangerous dogs. We also consider that current United Kingdom law, in the form of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended in 1997), is adequate for present and future control needs in this country.

While it is true that the German Government did press for European Union legislation on the subject of dangerous dogs, in the absence of any proposals, it is not clear precisely what types of dogs would have been affected. However, following a related discussion at a meeting in September of the European Union's Judicial Home Affairs Council, it seems unlikely that the matter will progress.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in his

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discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry on lengths of time for animal experiment project licence applications; and if he will make a statement. [143405]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: This Government fully accept that the progress of scientific research and the development of new drugs and medical technologies depend on the use of animals and I am well aware of concerns about the level of regulation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. I am keen to look at ways of reducing this, but only where it will not compromise animal welfare. The regulation is in place to create the right balance between protecting animals and ensuring that the United Kingdom science and biotechnology industry is able to move forward.

Home Office officials have been working closely with those from the Department of Trade and Industry and representatives of the scientific community in the working group dealing with animal experimentation chaired by the Minister for Science as part of the Prime Minister's pharmaceutical industry competitiveness task force. I understand that he will be reporting to the Prime Minister on this shortly.

In the course of these discussions, the local ethical review processes have been identified as a significant source of delay in many instances in the processing of applications for project licences under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The working group has been examining how the operation of the local ethical review processes can be made more efficient in licensed establishments.

In this context, I announced that I have asked the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate to carry out a review of the ethical review processes, 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 517W. The Inspectorate has been asked to report by the middle of 2001. In addition, a note is about to be issued to establishments restating Home Office requirements and expectations as regards the local ethical review processes. This is intended to provide insights into current practice that certificate holders and others may wish to take into account when reviewing the efficiency and effectiveness of their own processes.


Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what standard questions are put to non-EU nationals with permanent residence in the United Kingdom when they re-enter through United Kingdom ports. [143410]

Mrs. Roche: While the questions put by immigration officers will vary, the purpose and direction of the examination will be to establish that the non-European Union national qualifies for readmission under paragraph 18 of the Immigration Rules, HC 395, which states that the immigration officer must be satisfied that the person concerned:

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Metropolitan Police (Islington)

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total expenditure by the Metropolitan Police in Islington was, how many serving officers there were and what the establishment level authorised was, in each of the past five years; and what the equivalent figures are projected to be for 2001-02. [143402]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has provided information on the budget for the latest two years, but is unable to provide information on the budget before 1999-2000 due to the amalgamation of the Islington and Holloway divisions in October 1999. He is, however, able to provide information on police numbers for each year since December 1997.

It is not possible for the Commissioner to provide information about the divisional budget or for its target total for police numbers for 2001-02 until the Metropolitan Police Authority has set the budget for the force as a whole.

The available information is set out in the table.

Islington Borough Division

YearBudget allocation(6) (£ million) Target strengthActual strength(7)

(6) The budget allocation consists of all pay and pension costs for police and civil staff, cross charges (administrative and support departments) and all other operating costs.

(7) Actual police strength numbers are those for December of each year.

(8) Not available

EU Citizenship

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on British subjects of the legal status and definition of EU citizenship; [143585]

Mrs. Roche: We are aware of having received two letters on this subject.

Article 17 of the Treaty establishing the European Community makes it clear that European Union citizenship complements, but does not replace, national citizenship.

Subject to the conditions set out in the Treaty, citizenship of the European Union confers four special rights on nationals of the member states:

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The United Kingdom first declared in 1971, and repeated in 1982, that only those British nationals holding right of abode in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar were to be regarded as holding British nationality for European Union purposes.

Criminal Records

Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidelines he will publish in respect of the Criminal Records Bureau for (a) employers, (b) employees and (c) service users; [143630]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) will provide three levels of disclosure--Basic, Standard and Enhanced. In all cases, application may be made only by the individual in question. In a Basic level case, the individual may apply directly to the CRB. In other cases, the application must be endorsed by a person registered with the CRB for this purpose, whose function at this stage is to confirm that the application meets the relevant criteria. Often, this will be an employer or a voluntary organisation, but it may be someone acting on their behalf.

It is expected that the registration process will commence in April, that the issue of Standard and Enhanced disclosures (which will principally relate to persons working with children and vulnerable adults) will start next summer, and that the issue of Basic level disclosures will begin in the summer of 2002, when the CRB will be fully operational.

Disclosure documents will be distinctive in appearance, will set out the information as clearly as possible, and will incorporate measures to reduce the risk of forgery. Work is continuing to determine the costs of the Bureau, and the level of fees. The Bureau will operate to demanding service standards, including the time taken to supply documents. Standards will be set as soon as possible, and will be made public. Guidance will be produced for employers, employees and others using the CRB's service. This will explain how the service will operate, the importance of safeguarding personal information, how the CRB's service can supplement good recruitment practice, and the arrangements for any appeal or complaint.

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