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Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations his Department has had with public and community representatives about the proposed introduction of street wardens; and what powers and authorities will be invested in street wardens in dealing with public order. 
Proposals for new functions to be carried out by non-police officers were set out in "Policing a New Century" (CM5326), which included examples of similar schemes already in operation. The proposed new powers for Community Support Officers under the control of the Chief Officer of Police, or for members of Accredited Community Safety Schemes employed by others, are set out in the Police Reform Bill.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what date he expects the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to report on the reclassification of cannabis; and if he will make a statement. 
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Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances GPs are allowed to prescribe heroin to addicts; what plans he has to change circumstances under which addicts can be prescribed heroin (a) by GPs and (b) through specialist clinics; what the timetable is for the proposed changes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 28 January 2002]: Current practice is to restrict to consultant psychiatrists and their clinical assistants the issue of licences to prescribe diamorphine (medical heroin) to drug addicts. In certain circumstances a GP may act as a consultant's assistant and therefore be licensed to prescribe under that consultant's supervision.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has indicated that he would like to examine heroin prescribing for the small number of chaotic users who would benefit. The Department of Health has invited clinical experts to come together to review the current position of diamorphine prescribing, and it is intended to develop clinical guidance.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications were received for asylum from Afghan citizens (a) in the period from 11 September 2001 to the date when British peacekeeping forces were deployed in Afghanistan and (b) since the latter date. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 28 January 2002]: I regret that the information requested is unavailable. Information on asylum applications is published quarterly and provides data for latest available months and quarter. The latest published information relates to the third quarter of 2001.
The latest published information shows that 745 applications for asylum were lodged by nationals of Afghanistan in September, compared with 930 in August and 825 in July. These figures are provisional.
The next publication (relating to the final quarter of 2001) will be available from 28 February 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ rds/immigration1.html.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he will use to decide whether Afghanistan is a safe country of origin for the purpose of asylum applications. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 28 January 2002]: All applications for asylum by Afghanistan nationals are individually considered under the terms of the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees and take full account of the conditions in Afghanistan at the time the decision is made.
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2001, Official Report, column 490W, on Blakenhurst prison, when the report of the inspection of HMP Blakenhurst in January 2001 will be published. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 28 January 2002]: The report of the former Chief Inspector of Prisons' inspection of Blakenhurst was published on 19 September 2001. A copy of the report is available in the Library.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 18 December 2001, Official Report, column 237W, how much funding was provided by central Government to neighbourhood watch in each of the financial years from 199798 to 200102; and how much will be provided in the next financial year. 
Mr. Denham: Neighbourhood Watch is a movement of over 160,000 local schemes covering 6 million households. Local schemes are independent and largely self-financing. The police play a crucial supporting role, including providing advice on how to set up schemes and assisting with administration and publicity.
The Government have supported the National Neighbourhood Watch Association by sponsoring the cost of their annual conference in 2001, which was £80,000. The organisation is largely self-financing with core funding being provided by the private sector. The Government recognise the role Neighbourhood Watch plays in the fight against crime and in building communities. We have given and will continue to give support in kind to the National Neighbourhood Watch Association. In 200001 we produced publicity and training material for Neighbourhood Watch at a cost of more than £100,000.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he plans to take to ensure that babies and children taken abroad are accounted for when their parents, guardians or minders return to this country; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: In the year 2000, 90 million people of all nationalities arrived in the United Kingdom. In light of this fact, it would be impracticable to conduct a check of all babies and children taken abroad when their parents, guardians or minders return. A child may have been left in a foreign country for an extended and legitimate period, for example for the purposes of education.
We do however take the well-being of children very seriously. That is why, following a careful review and consultation with interested parties, the United Kingdom Passport Agency moved to a policy of separate passports for British children from 5 October 1998. The reasons for this change of policy included the need to improve identification and prevent the unauthorised addition of
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children to an adult passport, and to reduce the potential for child abduction by giving better control of documents in cases of parental difference.
Where problems arise, the British police enjoy a close relationship with their European Union partners and exchange intelligence regularly. A Ports Precautions Scheme operates through local police to prevent the unlawful and permanent removal of a child abroad and in cases of urgent need, the assistance of Europol and, where appropriate, Interpol, may be invoked.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the success of the Transforming Youth Work Development Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
The Transforming Youth Work Development Fund will be available from April 2002 to March 2004. The majority of the fund will be allocated to local authorities. Regional Government offices will be asked to carry out an approval and monitoring role. In addition the Youth Service Unit will discuss reporting and management information with Government offices following the distribution and spending of funds. To aid this process local authorities will need to clearly indicate the outputs and outcomes that they will achieve. Government offices will ensure that local authority proposals include activities linked to social and community cohesion that are consistent with Public Order and Community Cohesion and Cantle recommendations. The Youth Service is a key partner in the delivery of the Connexions Service. Government offices will ensure that funds are used to build Youth Service capacity to engage effectively with Connexions. The success of the Transforming Youth Work Development Fund will be judged against whether these outcomes are achieved.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to increase the number of student permits allowed for seasonal agricultural work; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: Representations in support of an increase in the present quota of non-European Economic Area students participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Scheme have been made by a number of interested parties, including the National Farmers Union.
The Government have listened to these representations and have agreed to increase the number of work cards available for use under this scheme. As agreed with the Industry, the student quota will increase from the present 15,200 to 20,200, spread over the next two years. Within that, a higher proportionate increase of 3,500 work cards will be made available to the scheme's operators this year, pro rata to the additional needs they have identified, for allocation to participants in the scheme.