|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what press releases mentioning policy development grant his Department issued while it was responsible for electoral and political party regulation. 
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Charing Cross police station was accepting reports of minor crime over the telephone between 24 December 2001 and 11 January 2002. 
Mr. Denham: The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis informs me that Charing Cross police station accepted reports of minor crime over the telephone between 24 December 2001 and 11 January 2002.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to improve policing in Newark and Retford. 
Mr. Denham: The White Paper, "Policing a New Century" (Cm 5326), published last December, sets out the Government's plans for reforming the police service and improving policing throughout England and Wales, including Newark and Retford.
The proposals set out in the White Paper will lead to a more professional and effective police service. This will be achieved through reformed management systems; modernised terms and conditions; better use of forensic and technological tools to aid crime prevention, detection and conviction; as well as greater visibility and accessibility of policing services.
The Police Reform Bill, currently before Parliament, will provide the necessary statutory powers for these reforms.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how a convicted person claiming innocence and seeking review or appeal can ascertain whether new DNA proofing techniques would have relevance in his or her case; how he or she can ensure that it is applied to the evidence and the results made known; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keith Bradley: The Criminal Cases Review Commission has the statutory power to preserve any material, including forensic material, which it thinks necessary for a review of a case. The commission exercises this power as necessary in relation to applications made to it, where the process of normal appeal has been exhausted or where there are exceptional circumstances. It also maintains close contact with the Forensic Science Service so that the commission is aware of the latest developments in this field. The commission will determine whether DNA or other forensic tests are required in light of all the factors of a case and will authorise such tests as it believes necessary. The results
12 Mar 2002 : Column 982W
of any tests would be disclosed in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 and the commission's policy on disclosure.
As for those who are seeking to overturn via the normal appeal process, any individual is free to commission the Forensic Science Service or other forensic science organisations to undertake further DNA profiling tests, providing there is a sufficient amount of retained material and provided payment can be met.
The Forensic Science Service can give guidance as to whether there is sufficient material left to undertake further tests; and if further DNA profiling tests would provide more information than is already available. It will also provide an estimate for the cost of carrying out any further tests. The Forensic Science Service requires that any requests of this nature are communicated through a solicitor, who will be in a position to advise the individual. Individual contracts and terms of business are agreed with any instructing solicitors or legal representatives.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to come to a decision on the asylum application made by Mr. Naveem Ahmed of Southend who claimed asylum on 26 May 2000, references TA 338/99 and A/1031630. 
Angela Eagle: I wrote to the hon. Member on 11 March 2002.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to include child entertainers in the group of professionals working with children who are screened; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keith Bradley: The child protection provisions in Part 2 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (CJ) (CSA) provide a new definition of working with children. It includes positions whose normal duties involve caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children, and positions whose normal duties involve unsupervised contact with children under arrangements made by a responsible person, for example a parent. Anyone whose paid or unpaid work entertaining children meets one of the definitions included in the legislation would already be covered by its provisions.
These provisions form part of an integrated system for the protection of children. They enable the courts to disqualify unsuitable people from working with children as part of their sentence or the disposal of their case. Those who breach such a disqualification order commit a criminal offence.
The relevant provisions in the CJ and CSA consolidate and strengthen the framework for protecting children. It is none the less important that parents remain vigilant about those circumstances under which they entrust their children to the care of an adult, particularly if they are not present to ensure their children are safe.
12 Mar 2002 : Column 983W
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on postcode prescribing. 
Ms Blears: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
The Government are determined to eradicate "post- code prescribing". We set up the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to help to achieve this. NICE provides clear advice to the national health service about the clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs and treatments.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the health impact on patients of having to pay for prescriptions; and if he will make a statement; 
Ms Blears: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer her to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
I have at present no plans to change the current exemption and remission arrangements which are intended to ensure that no-one need be deterred from obtaining any necessary medication on financial grounds. Around 85 per cent. of items are dispensed free of charge and around 50 per cent. of the population do not have to pay charges.
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the (i) health benefits and (ii) safety of health and nutritional supplements. 
Yvette Cooper: I apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in responding to this question. I refer him to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
Most people are able to meet their nutritional needs by eating a balanced, varied diet, and therefore do not need to take dietary supplements. Key exceptions are:
12 Mar 2002 : Column 984W
As a safety net for children and women from low income groups, supplements of vitamins A, D and C are available on the welfare food scheme.
Asian mothers are routinely advised to take supplements of vitamin D as they are more prone to deficiency.
Iron supplements may be prescribed to women or children with iron-deficiency anaemia which was not found to improve with appropriate dietary advice. Research commissioned by the Food Standards Agency in relation to health benefits of nutrient supplements:
fish oil on cardiovascular disease risk factors
calcium, vitamins D and K on bone health
antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin E and C) on reducing cell damage from oxidative stress (thought to be involved in the initiation of many diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease)
folic acid on risk factors for cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.
Evaluation of safety of nutrient supplements
The Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals was established to review the safety of high dose vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that the public is not put at risk.
The Group expects to complete the reviews of the relevant scientific information on the safety of individual vitamins and minerals shortly. Following this, the Group will complete risk assessments for the vitamins and minerals reviewed. Its conclusions will be issued by the Food Standards Agency for public consultation with a view to publishing its final report in 2002. A copy of the final report will be sent to the Scientific Committee on Food to inform deliberations by that committee on a draft proposal for a European Union Council Directive relating to the addition of nutrients to foods.
Evaluation of safety of health supplements
The safety of individual health supplements are considered on their merits on a case by case basis according to available evidence base and when safety of these supplements are raised as a cause of concern. Routine safety evaluation of health supplements is not undertaken.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|