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Sex Offenders

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to propose a change to the law so that people convicted abroad of crime with a possible sexual element or motivation can be monitored on the Sex Offenders Register on their return to the United Kingdom; [39498]

Beverley Hughes: The Home Office does not keep records of those convicted of offences abroad, including those involving a sexual element, who have returned to the United Kingdom. We are therefore unable to supply figures for the last three years.

Mechanisms already exist for the monitoring and controlling of dangerous offenders who come to the UK after having been convicted of an offence abroad.

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 imposed in relation to any area, a statutory duty on the chief officer of police and the local probation board to establish arrangements for assessing and managing the risks posed by persons who may cause serious harm to the public. This would include those convicted abroad.

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If someone falls into this category, for example if a person who has been convicted of a violent offence with a sexual element abroad returns to this country, these multi-agency public protection arrangements will come into play.

Multi-agency public protection arrangements provide for the risk assessment of all potentially dangerous offenders. Following this a management plan is formulated according to the level and nature of risk that the offender poses. Typically, this would have components of monitoring, interventions designed to reduce re-offending and steps necessary to protect victims or potential victims. After the risk assessment, if it is in the interest of public protection, the police may also disclose information about the offender to relevant members of the community. Social Service departments who are the lead agency for child protection are members of the multi-agency public protection panels.

The review to the Sex Offenders Act 1997 looked at requiring those convicted of sex offences abroad to register on their arrival in the UK. The Government have asked for consultation and responses are currently being analysed to decide what appropriate action, if any, the Government should take.

Porton Down

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress of the investigation headed by Detective Superintendent Luckett into allegations of past criminal activity at DSTL Porton Down. [39318]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 11 March 2002]: A report on the death of Leading Air Craftsman Ronald Maddisson at Porton Down in 1953 was submitted to Her Majesty's Coroner for Swindon and the County of Wiltshire in January 2001.

In relation to allegations made by several hundred former service personnel who had attended Porton Down and participated in experiments, seven files have been forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) since September 2001. A final case file is expected to be forwarded within the next few weeks. A number of former Porton Down staff have been interviewed by the police in relation to the cases.

As part of the ongoing inquiry the police are looking at whether former volunteers have suffered any long term adverse health effects.

Race Equality Draft Code

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date the report by the Commission for Racial Equality on the draft Code of Practice on the duty to promote race equality will be placed before Parliament; how many consultees received the document (a) before 1 January 2002, (b) between that date and 25 January and (c) after that date; how many from each category have responded to the consultation; what the total cost was of the consultation pack and the cost per pack distributed; and if he will make a statement on the ability of elected authorities to respond within limited time. [41926]

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Angela Eagle [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The Commission for Racial Equality is currently revising the draft Code of Practice in the light of comments received during the consultation period. A date for laying the Code of Practice before Parliament will be decided once I have approved the final draft.

The Commission for Racial Equality has advised me that about 45,000 consultation packs were distributed and some 900 responses have been received to date. A breakdown by date of dispatch is not available and the analysis by category of respondent is not yet complete. The cost of printing 55,000 packs and distributing 45,000 was £127,690.

The consultation period ran from the launch of the draft code of practice and supporting good practice guidance on 3 December 2001 until 28 February 2002. This proved sufficient time for some 900 individual and representative bodies to respond.

However, I am informed by the Commission for Racial Equality that distribution problems arose with parish councils. Difficulty in gaining access to addresses meant that only 3,000 packs were sent to parish councils in December 2001. A further 5,000 packs were due for dispatch in January 2002, but regrettably, a number were not sent out until late February 2002.

I am advised that, to date, 26 parish councils, including Totland and St. Helens parish councils from the hon. Member's own constituency, have complained to the Commission for Racial Equality about the late arrival of their packs. The Commission for Racial Equality has given these parish councils an extension until 15 March 2002.

Police (Domestic Violence)

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidance is issued to police forces on taking action in respect of personnel who have committed acts of domestic violence; [35541]

Mr. Denham: There are no national guidelines to police forces on dealing with domestic violence among their staff or on action to be taken in respect of staff committing acts of domestic violence. Many forces do however have local policies and guidelines detailing how to deal with officers who are alleged to have committed domestic violence offences.

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Police forces and authorities keep disciplinary records for individual officers, but there is no central guidance on what should be recorded, other than information that is returned to the Home Office for monitoring purposes. These centrally held figures do not separately identify numbers of police personnel who were subject to disciplinary action in respect of domestic violence, or the number of incidents concerned.

Work is however in progress to ensure that police forces respond effectively to any indication that police staff may be perpetrating domestic violence. This includes a redraft of note C of the Code of Conduct of the Police Regulations 1999 which concerns off duty conduct. Regional professional standards practitioners within police forces have suggested that this amended section will strengthen their powers when dealing with personnel who have allegedly perpetrated domestic violence.

Road Traffic Penalties

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish proposals for reform of road traffic penalties. [37630]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We are currently in the process of formulating the Government's response to the consultation exercise on road traffic penalties. We hope to publish this soon.

This report has taken some time to complete due to the high number of detailed and comprehensive responses we received. We have also been waiting for the outcome of the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions commissioned research project into the law on dangerous driving by the Transport Research Laboratory. The publication of this report was delayed until January 2002.

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