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15 Oct 2002 : Column 752W—continued

Special Advisers

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign visits have been made by special advisers in his Department in the last 12 months; and what the (a) destination and (b) cost of each visit was. [73886]

Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the replies my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, gave to the hon. Member for Chelmsford West, (Mr. Burns), on 9 July 2002, Official Report, column 891W, the hon. Member for Chichester (Mr. Tyrie) on 24 July 2002, Official Report, column 1494W and the hon. Member for West Marland and Lonsdale (Mr. Collins) on 24 July 2002, Official Report, column 1478W.

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Information for the period beyond March 2002 will be available in due course.

Marsham Street

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which refrigerant will be used in the air conditioning in his Department's new building in Marsham Street. [74758]

Beverley Hughes: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Sayeed) on 19 September 2002, Official Report, column 35W.

Death Forms

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make it his policy to require a practitioner other than the signatory to the death certificate to sign a cremation form; [73416]

Hilary Benn: The appropriate processes for the investigation and certification of deaths are currently being explored by the review of coroner services, which is due to report next year. The Shipman Inquiry is also examining ways to make existing procedures more effective. We propose to consider what action might be taken in this regard in the light of the recommendations to be made by the review and the Inquiry in due course.

Correspondence

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 5 August from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. Sulayman Yunes. [74569]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 1 October 2002.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 13 August from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms S. Mohammed. [74567]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 16 September 2002.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to letters from the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight dated 6 February, 18 March, 1 May, 9 May and 24 June concerning an application dated 20 June for leave to remain on the basis of a subsisting relationship. [73704]

Beverley Hughes: I wrote to the hon. Member on 22 August 2002. I am sorry for the delay in replying.

Ronald Biggs

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason Ronald Biggs was permitted to marry whilst serving a prison term. [73424]

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Hilary Benn: Prisoners have a right to marry under the Marriage Act 1949, as amended. In Mr. Biggs' case, the status of the spouse as a foreign national did not affect this right; nor has the marriage altered this status.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many caseworkers were employed at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in Croydon in each year since 1997. [73925]

Beverley Hughes: Information identifying the number of caseworkers within the Integrated Casework Directorate (ICD) separately from other staff was not collected prior to 2001. The number of caseworkers in the ICD in Croydon since 2001 is as follows:



The following table shows the number of staff in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) in each year since 1997.

YearStaff numbers (headcount)
April 19975,697
April 19985,160
April 19995,750
April 20006,582
April 20019,757
April 200210,878

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what refreshment provisions are available to members of the public when attending the Immigration and Nationality Department in Croydon. [74113]

Beverley Hughes: The refreshment needs of the Public Enquiry Office (PEO) Croydon first and second floors are currently served by 12 vending machines, six per floor. The machines on each floor offer a range of both hot and cold drinks while light snacks such as sandwiches, crisps and confectionery are available. There are a further four machines which serve the third and fourth floors—the Asylum Screening Unit (ASU) and Interview Booking Unit (IBU), each floor having two machines. All machines are checked regularly throughout the day and restocked as required. Callers to any of the units of the combined public offices have access to all vending machines.

Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the rules are governing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco (a) on police premises, (b) in administration areas, (c) by police officers on duty outside police premises, (d) by staff on prison premises, (e) by prison officers on duty outside prisons, (f) by staff on fire service premises and (g) by fire staff on operational duties outside prisons. [74269]

Mr. Denham: For the Police Service, the Code of Conduct, appended to the Police (Conduct) Regulations 1999, states that, whilst on duty, police officers must be sober. The Code also states that officers should not

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consume alcohol on duty unless specifically authorised to do so or it becomes necessary for the proper discharge of police duty. It is for chief officers to determine local policy on the consumption of alcohol and tobacco on police premises and in administration areas and on the consumption of tobacco by police officers on duty outside police premises.

The Prison Service's policy is that no person shall bring alcohol into a prison without the permission of the Governor. Staff are not permitted to consume alcohol whilst on duty, and it is a disciplinary offence to do so. Prison Service policy on smoking is contained in Instruction to Governors 16/1996, Work Place Smoking Policy (a copy of which can be found in the Library) and Governors are required to develop local policies which reflect the guidance in the Instruction. The Instruction advises Governors to impose a ban on smoking in office accommodation including single occupancy offices, corridors, staircases, etc. It does not, however, give advice regarding staff on duty outside prisons, but local policies should address that issue.

I understand from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister that there is no centrally issued advice to the Fire Service addressing the consumption of alcohol or tobacco by staff on Fire Service premises or by staff on operational duties outside premises. However, under the Code of Conduct in the Fire Service (Discipline) Regulations 1985, it is an offence for an officer to be unfit for duty. The offence is defined in the Regulations as follows:


Mr. Aiden Hulme

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements he has made for the prompt and effective medical treatment for the leg injury sustained prior to his arrest by Mr. Aiden Hulme, now a prisoner at Her Majesty's Prison, Belmarsh. [74270]

Hilary Benn: For reasons of medical confidentiality I am unable to disclose medical details related to any prisoner, but I am advised that Mr. Hulme is receiving the appropriate and necessary treatment for his condition. Belmarsh prison has well-established arrangements with hospitals in the local area and is able to call upon their services when appropriate. Prisoners receive medical treatment according to their individual needs.

Prisons (Internal Discipline)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with prison governors concerning implementation of the European Court of Human Rights' judgment on the protection of the right to a fair trial in relation to internal disciplinary procedures; and what measures he has taken for the adjustment of procedures to prevent violations. [74271]

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Hilary Benn: I have had detailed discussions with the Director General of the Prison Service on the implications of the ruling for internal disciplinary procedures. On 14 August, following consultation with Governors, we laid before Parliament amendments to the Prison and Young Offender Rules. The changes strengthened some of the existing punishments, and also provided for independent adjudicators to hear the most serious cases. The adjudicators will be able to impose additional days as a punishment. Prisoners in hearings before the independent adjudicators will have a right to legal representation. Until the end of March 2003, the Lord Chancellor has agreed that District Judges may act as adjudicators. They began hearing cases on 7 October. We shall decide on longer term arrangements in the light of their work.


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