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Office of the Police Ombudsman

for Northern Ireland

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the religious affiliation is of those employed in the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland; which groups were consulted prior to the creation of the Office; what the breakdown is by postcode of where complaints were made from since the creation of the Office; and what costs were incurred by the Office in the last year. [20371]

Jane Kennedy: The religious affiliation of the Police Ombudsman's office which currently employs 108 staff is 46.2 per cent. Protestant, 34.6 per cent. Catholic and 19.2 per cent. others.

Before the Office of the Police Ombudsman was set up, the Northern Ireland Office set up a steering group which was representative of all the main stakeholders, including the police, police staff associations and the Police Authority.

The costs incurred by the Police Ombudsman's Office January 2001 to October 2001 are £3.74 million.

8 Jan 2002 : Column: 573W

The table shows the breakdown by postcode of complaints received to date:

Postcode Number of complaints
BT156
BT21
BT446
BT586
BT638
BT790
BT840
BT892
BT1012
BT1185
BT12183
BT13130
BT14262
BT15169
BT1620
BT1780
BT1828
BT1966
BT2044
BT21 8
BT2227
BT23100
BT24 30
BT259
BT263
BT2723
BT2867
BT2913
BT30119
BT31 7
BT3234
BT3320
BT3462
BT3539
BT3687
BT3736
BT3876
BT3925
BT4048
BT4180
BT4375
BT4419
BT4534
BT46 8
BT4795
BT48128
BT49 45
BT5138
BT5258
BT5318
BT54 2
BT557
BT5615
BT57 2
BT6034
BT6138
BT6291
BT6334
BT64 4
BT6542
BT6633
BT6724
BT7020
BT7142
BT741
BT753
BT762
BT7756
BT7861
BT7963
BT8010
BT8187
BT8254
BT9218
BT93 7
BT9421
Outside Northern Ireland5
Unknown220

8 Jan 2002 : Column: 574W

Police Service

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what date new recruits to the reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland will complete their training in 2002. [22921]

Jane Kennedy: The first intake of new recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland will complete their initial training on 4 April 2002. Those that complete the training successfully will be attested as Constables on 5 April 2002, and will then undergo an eight week period of combined operational training. This will be followed by a period of 'tutorship' in District Command Units, beginning on 10 June 2002, before recruits are posted to their individual stations on 19 August 2002.

Further tranches of recruits will complete this training schedule approximately every five weeks thereafter.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Race Crime

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Solicitor-General how many cases of (a) incitement to race hatred and (b) racist violence have been brought before courts in England and Wales; and of these how many have been successful in each of the past three years. [25229]

The Solicitor-General: Records for prosecutions for incitement of racial hatred under part III of the Public Order Act 1986 have been kept since 1988. The records relate to the year that the application for consent to prosecute was dealt with and so it is not possible to state with any certainty how many prosecutions resulted in convictions in any given year. The number of applications for consent to prosecute for each year since 1999 and the number of convictions resulting from the prosecutions are summarised in the table.

Consent applications and prosecutions since 1999 under part III of the Public Order Act 1986

199920002001
Number of Attorney-General consent applications(3)458
Withdrawn
Not granted
Prosecuted458
Convicted(4)3(5)2(6)

(3) Per defendant.

(4) Not necessarily in same year.

(5) One result outstanding. One prosecution stayed on ill health grounds.

(6) Results awaited.

Note:

1. Data for prosecutions of racist violent offences are included in figures published annually by the Home Office. The offences covered are racially aggravated offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which came into force on 30 September 1998. The racially aggravated (RA) offences are:

(i) RA wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.

(ii) RA actual bodily harm.

(iii) RA common assault.

(iv) RA intentional harassment alarm or distress.

(v) RA offence of harassment.

(vi) RA putting people in fear of violence.


8 Jan 2002 : Column: 575W

The figures supplied by the Home Office for 1999 and 2000 (data for 2001 not available) are given as follows on a principal offence basis.

YearProsecutedConvicted
19991,330451
2000(7)2,342878

(7) Staffordshire police force was only able to submit sample data for persons dealt with at magistrates' courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust at a detailed level and have been excluded from this table.


WALES

Abandoned Vehicles

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the cost was to each county council in Wales of removing and disposing of abandoned vehicles in the last year. [25139]

Mr. Paul Murphy: That is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure delivery of energy efficiency services to rural areas; [23948]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

General energy efficiency advice is available through Energy Efficiency Advice Centres (EEACs). A network of 52 centres around the country provides advice to all areas. In addition, the Environment and Energy Helpline is available for businesses, whatever their location, to provide guidance and advice.

The Government's main grant programme for improving the energy efficiency of private sector households is the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES). The two scheme managers—Eaga Partnerships Ltd. and TXU Warm Front Ltd.—are responsible for marketing the programme across the country. Both scheme managers provide regular progress reports on the effectiveness of these programmes.

They use a variety of methods including working with health professionals such as practice nurses and health visitors together with social workers and others involved in the health or welfare of vulnerable clients. The scheme managers also enter into partnerships with bodies such

8 Jan 2002 : Column: 576W

as travelling libraries, which visit rural communities on a regular basis, and Meals on Wheels. In addition, a travelling bus has been used as a focal point to reach those in outlying areas.

One of the five Warm Zones the Government are piloting has been set up in Northumberland to test an area, rather than a referral-based mechanism, for reaching the fuel poor. The purpose is to test whether this improves the take-up of the scheme in rural areas.

The Government are aware that the construction of some rural properties coupled with lack of access to the main gas network can make it difficult to make homes energy efficient. The Fuel Poverty Strategy sets out our intention to carry out large scale pilots using renewable energy sources and micro combined heat and power to explore how these technologies could be used to help the fuel poor.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Afghanistan

14. Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on UK participation in peacekeeping activities in Afghanistan. [23008]

Mr. Bradshaw: As outlined by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence in a statement to this House on 19 November 2001, the United Kingdom has agreed to take on the lead nation role in the International Security Assistance Force. The core mission of the ISAF will be to assist in the maintenance of security in Kabul and the surrounding area so as to help in the establishment of the Interim Authority and the initial activities of the United Nations.

18. Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the political settlement in Afghanistan and its impact on international terrorism. [23012]

Mr. Bradshaw: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 5 December,


The new interim administration has already indicated its willingness to co-operate with the UK on information- sharing on alleged terrorists.

36. David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the President of Pakistan on the future Government of Afghanistan. [23031]

Mr. Bradshaw: During his visit to Pakistan on 22–23 November, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the situation in Afghanistan with President Musharraf. The Secretary of State expressed our continuing appreciation for President Musharraf's courageous decision to support the fight against terrorism and the practical assistance that Pakistan has provided. The Secretary of State also discussed the situation in Pakistan and sought President Musharraf's advice on how

8 Jan 2002 : Column: 577W

best to achieve our shared objective of a broad-based multi-ethnic Government in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister also met President Musharraf on his visit to Pakistan on 7 January and paid tribute to President Musharraf's role in the international coalition.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the level of the cultivation of heroin poppy crops in Afghanistan in (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04; and what the level was in 2001–02. [24390]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is impossible to predict what level of opium cultivation there will be in Afghanistan in 2002–03 and 2003–04. We hope the economic reconstruction programme will develop alternative livelihoods for opium poppy farmers. Under the agreement reached in Bonn the Interim Administration would co-operate with the international community in the fight against drugs. We now look to the Interim Administration to live up to this commitment with the help of the international community.

The planting season for the 2001–02 opium poppy crop is now drawing to a close. No reliable estimate of the level of cultivation will be available until February 2002 when UNDCP propose to conduct a limited survey. The results of the comprehensive UNDCP survey will not be available until September 2002.


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