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4 Nov 2002 : Column 115Wcontinued
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many drivers of police cars were caught exceeding the speed limit by speed cameras in the last year when not attending to an emergency call; 
We published street crime figures on 14 October 2002 charting progress under the initiative to the end of September. There are two indicators of progress: a comparison with the period immediately before the initiative began, and a direct comparison with the same period last year.
In Lancashire, there was a 20 per cent reduction in street crime offences (robbery and snatch theft) between April and September 2002. For robbery, the more serious offence, figures showed 15 per cent fewer offences in September compared to March, the month preceding the initiative.
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Published figures for the first six months of the initiative, including a document detailing the achievements made through the initiative's partnership work, can be found in the Library or on the Crime Reduction website atwww.crimereduction.gov.uk/streetcrime.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many incidents of violent crime there were in (a) Lancashire, (b) the north-west of England and (c) Wales in the last 12 months for which figures are available; 
Mr. Denham: The requested details in respect of crimes recorded by the police in the year ending March 2002 have already been published in table 6.06 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin XCrime in England and Wales 200102", which was published in July this year, and is available in the Library. The table also gives rates for overall violent crime obtained from the British Crime Survey, which records people's actual experiences of crime.
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Recorded crime figures may have been affected in comparison to the previous year as a result of changes to police recording practices. Some of the forces in Wales and the North West, including Lancashire, implemented the principles of the National Crime Recording Standard in advance of its national introduction in April 2002. This early implementation by these and other police forces had the effect of uplifting the number of offences of violence against the person in England and Wales as a whole in 200102 by an estimated 13 per cent.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the re-opened facility at Yarl's Wood, Bedfordshire will be used from April 2003 for (a) the long-term detention of asylum seekers and (b) their removal after refusal of their applications; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 31 October 2002]: I can confirm the intention is for the remaining centre at Yarl's Wood to be ready to re-open in April 2003 with a population of single females, and later families, both asylum and non-asylum cases. In advance of this, work has already commenced to install sprinklers and the necessary facilities so that this population can be accommodated. As with all other removal centres, Yarl's Wood will be used to ensure we deliver our commitment to remove those without lawful right to be here. The intention is always to ensure that the period in detention is as short as possible. However, it is sometimes regrettably necessary to detain asylum seekers and other immigration related cases for longer periods of time.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what decision he has made in respect of the publication of the report which has been submitted to him by Stephen Moore, in respect of the circumstances of the fire at Yarlswood detention centre on 14 February; and if he will make a statement. 
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representations from a number of interested parties. However, his terms of reference require him to take full account of inquiries being undertaken by Bedfordshire police and the Bedfordshire fire and rescue service, neither of which has yet concluded investigations. He is also required to conduct his inquiry in a way that would not impede any criminal investigation. Criminal trials arising out of the events at Yarl's Wood on 14 and 15 February are listed for April 2003. Consideration is therefore still being given as to when the report can be completed and published.
Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he will take in response to the finding of Home Office Research Study 45: Improving Public Attitudes to the Criminal Justice System, that overall knowledge of the criminal justice system among the general public was poor. 
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has publicly acknowledged this fact, and has sought to encourage a wide-ranging public debate about the criminal justice system in the run up to and following publication of the Criminal Justice White Paper, XJustice for All". Work is under way to develop a plan and programme of work to improve public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Ms Blears: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that, in the knowledge of a theoretical risk of BSE in sheep, the Agency has recommended to the European Union (EU) Commission that sheep intestines, used to make some sausage casings, be added to the EU list of specified risk material (SRM) prohibited from the food chain. The EU scientific steering committee (SSC) considered at its September meeting the most recent data on BSE and sheep intestines. The SSC decided not to recommend, at this time, the addition of sheep intestines to the list of SRM. At the same time, differing scientific opinions on the effectiveness of processing sheep intestines, in removing potential infective material should BSE be present in a sheep, were acknowledged. The Agency has subsequently suggested to the Commission that experts be called together at EU level to achieve better common understanding. The Commission has agreed to this. In the meantime, there are no restrictions on the sale or use of such sausage casings pending any decision at the EU level.
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Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the impact on the NHS budget of the European food supplements directive and the proposed European directive on traditional herbal medicinal products; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: The European Union food supplements directive is not expected to have any impact on the availability of vitamin and mineral supplements required by specific population groups, such as pregnant women. It is therefore not expected to have any impact on the national health service budget.
The proposed directive on traditional herbal medicinal products should ensure the availability of a wide range of traditional herbal remedies made to assured standards of safety and quality, and accompanied by systematic and reliable information about the purpose of the product and its safe usage. Potentially the directive could help members of the public wishing to take greater responsibility for their own health to make an informed choice about which traditional herbal remedy may be helpful. It could also reduce the possibility of the public taking remedies that may be inappropriate to their health needs.
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