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28 Feb 2001 : Column: 693W
17. Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) bombings, (b) shootings and (c) physical assaults relating to paramilitary activities have taken place in Northern Ireland this year. 
|By Loyalist||By Republican|
1. The following types of shooting incidents are included:
shots fired by terrorists;
shots fired by the security forces;
paramilitary style attacks involving shootings;
shots heard (and later confirmed); and
other violent incidents where shots are fired (e.g. armed robbery).
2. An individual bombing incident may involve one or more explosive devices. Incidents recorded include explosions and defusing. Incidents involving hoax devices, petrol bombings or incendiaries are excluded.
Mr. Ingram: There has been no recruitment to the Royal Ulster Constabulary since 1 April 2000. It is therefore not possible to make any assessment on the impact this has had on morale within the force. On a wider front, however, the RUC is subject to major change resulting from the Patten Report and, like any other organisation, there is understandable concern among officers until changes are properly implemented and bedded in. Strenuous efforts are being made by force command to ensure all employees are fully informed at each stage of the process.
Mr. Ingram: A revised Implementation Plan setting out the position of the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, which includes details of the considerable progress already made, will be published shortly.
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Mr. Ingram: Decommissioning remains an essential part of securing the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The Government continue to work together with the Irish Government and the political parties in Northern Ireland to achieve what we all want--the removal of the gun from Northern Ireland politics for good.
Mr. Ingram: Mr. Ramaphosa and Mr. Ahtisaari have reported that they have completed their second inspection of several IRA arms dumps. It represents further progress and an honouring of commitments given at the beginning of May. I am confident the inspectors will report any further progress that has been made when they deem it appropriate to do so.
15. Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in offering proper recognition to the families of members of the police service who have been victims of violence in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Ingram: On 9 November the Government, in welcoming the proposals made by John Steele for a new Police Fund Trust, said that they would establish the trust by April and make lump sum payments to the widows of those killed by terrorists before 25 November 1982 by then too.
While the Government do not rule out an inquiry in the future any decision taken now to initiate such a process would lead to a serious risk that any subsequent or contemporaneous prosecution could be compromised.
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Mr. Ingram: The security forces are continuing to thwart sectarian attacks. Additional police patrols are being deployed in many areas including Larne, Belfast and Coleraine. The military are acting in support of the police where appropriate. Recent successes include the discovery this month, of what are believed to be a number of loyalist pipe bomb making facilities in Larne, Belfast and Newtownabbey. A number of people have been charged as a result of these operations and other individuals are being sought.
26. Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Chief Constable of the RUC regarding additional policing within estates which have been subjected to gun, petrol or pipe-bomb attack in recent months. 
Mr. Ingram: The Secretary of State discusses a broad range of issues with the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary on a regular basis. He is confident that the Chief Constable is taking all possible measures to tackle incidents of violent crime in the Province.
There has been an increase in the police patrolling profile in those areas subject to attacks of the nature described in the question. Both overt and covert police operations have increased. In addition, Mobile Support Units and military resources have also been deployed where this has been deemed necessary. The situation is kept under constant review.
Mr. Ingram: The Government are engaged in frequent dialogue with a range of individuals and bodies on the implementation of the Police Act as well as those changes recommended by the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland (Patten) which do not require legislation. On the Act specifically, some provisions came into force on Royal Assent, others, such as the Police Ombudsman sections, were commenced in December. We are now preparing a further Commencement Order.
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Mr. Ingram: The Government and the police have made significant progress in a number of areas. These include the enactment of the Police (NI) Act 2000; the appointment of an Oversight Commissioner; publication of an Implementation Plan, detailing the Government's response on all 175 recommendations made by the Independent Commission on Policing (Patten); establishment of the Police Ombudsman's Office; appointment of a recruitment agency; launch of recruitment advertising; and closure of two of the three holding centres.
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