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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to repeal section 64 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There is no section 64 in this Act but the hon. Member may be referring to section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 which prevents the disclosure of information about the use of animals in scientific procedures that has been provided in confidence. Following the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all statutory bars are being reviewed, including section 24.
I held a seminar with representatives of animal protection groups and the scientific community in September 2000 to discuss the review of section 24 and officials have subsequently held a series of separate meetings with some of the organisations that participated
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in the seminar. I have also received views from the Animal Procedures Committee on this subject.
The Government have a clear commitment to Freedom of Information and are equally committed to the maintenance of the necessary protection for individual scientists and their research institutions from the actions of animal rights extremists. I am considering very carefully how these commitments can best be met. A decision on whether to repeal or amend section 24 will not be made until later this year.
Mr. Charles Clarke: This document offered advice to Ministers on the management of the work to deliver the Youth Justice Pledge. We do not propose to issue it. We publish performance figures every month.
|Year(9)||Number of police officers||Number of constables|
(9) As at 31 March.
(10) From the financial year 1995-96 police numbers were collected on a full-time equivalent basis. In prior years police regulations did not permit the employment of part-time officers.
(11) 30 September.
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(12) As at 31 March
(13) Civilian staff numbers are full-time equivalent.
3> 30 September.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Since the Act came into force on 28 July, there have been 1,534 arrests for football-related offences as defined in Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989 (as amended by the Football (Disorder) Act 2000). No information is available on the number of convictions. Most types of offences committed in connection with football are not specific to football and convictions are recorded by category of offence rather than by the location or circumstances of the offence. However, during this period, the courts have imposed 191 of the new football banning orders introduced by the 2000 Act.
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 does not specify what categories of crime and disorder must be included in the audit local partnerships must produce. However, it does require that the partnership conduct a thorough review of the levels and patterns of crime, consulting widely in the local community. It is through this process that partnerships will identify the nature and extent of road safety and vehicle crime problems in their area, as well as other crime and disorder issues .
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Mr. Charles Clarke: The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires that crime and disorder strategies are formulated and implemented for a period of three years and each subsequent period of three years. The implementation date for the next set of strategies is March 2002 and crime and disorder partnerships are beginning to undertake audits in order to formulate their strategies by that date.
Mr. Charles Clarke: A Review of Audits and Strategies produced by Crime and Disorder Partnerships in 1999 was published by Home Office, Research, Development and Statistics in November 2000 under reference Police Research Briefing Note 8/00. The review found that of the 363 strategies examined, 37 per cent. (134) of partnerships had specified road safety/dangerous driving as a priority for action. Of those 134 strategies, 37 per cent. (50) contained a specific target.
Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not available centrally. All ammunition used by the police service is approved by the Police Scientific Development Branch at the Home Office, but it is an operational decision for chief officers of police to decide which ammunition is used by officers in their force.
Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from hon. Members and others on the use of soft-tipped bullets by the police; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: In addition to the hon. Member himself, we have received representations recently from four other hon. Members and occasional letters from members of the public on the use of soft-point ammunition by the police.
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to consult the Association of Chief Police Officers on the enforcement of each of the alternatives set out in the Hunting Bill; and if he will place their responses in the Library. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Association of Chief Police Officers were shown an early draft of the Bill and consulted about the options. The Association made a number of detailed comments on the proposals contained in the three options, set out in a letter of 4 December. They also issued a Press Release, dated 24 January, saying that while it is too early to reach a final view on the resource implications of any of the options, if hunting is banned, they do not anticipate a significant additional burden on the service, over and above its current commitment. Copies of both documents will be placed in the Library.
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have received some correspondence supporting the introduction of a national proof of age card. There are a number of cards, some produced under industry-led schemes and others issued by public authorities, which provide evidence of age; and we are proposing, through the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, to strengthen the duty on licensees to satisfy themselves about customers' ages before selling alcohol to them.
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