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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are in place to provide a national database of stolen art and artefacts; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: The Home Office is considering with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the National Crime Intelligence Service and the police, the feasibility of implementing a national database of unlawfully obtained cultural property as recommended by the House of Commons Select Committee in a report entitled XCultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade" published in July 2000.
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Mr. Denham: The Home Office does not keep a central record of which forces employ specialists in stolen art and artefacts but all police forces in England and Wales appoint a due diligence officer who is a focal point for dealing with art and antiques crimes within their force.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the terms of reference are of the research he has commissioned into the effectiveness of strip searching; what consideration he has given to providing the manual completion and compiling of strip search records while an IT solution is being prepared; and what information on strip searches he has tasked the Prison Service IT provider to monitor. 
Hilary Benn: The research into strip-searching to be conducted by the University of Nottingham was commissioned as a response to the review of searching. The Prison Service accommodates large and diverse populations all of which may have differing experiences and attitudes to strip-searching. The research was commissioned to identify whether, and if so what, changes can be made in the procedures for strip searching to improve its effectiveness. The aim of the research is to consider the views of staff, their approach and demeanour while conducting strip searches and the perceptions of prisoners of strip searching. A copy of the review of searching is available in the Library.
While some records of strip searches are kept, for example of cell searches, to record every search would pose an unacceptable administrative burden and could only be achieved at a disproportionate cost. Manual records do not allow for easy analysis or collation of statistics and it is for these reasons that an Information Technology (IT) solution is being developed.
The IT provider for the Prison Service has been asked to produce a system that will enable all prisons to record the frequency and outcomes of strip searches, to provide information on the prisoner, such as age, gender and ethnicity, the reason for the search, the amount of time taken to conduct the search, a record of finds, and a facility that can generate statistical information on strip searches.
Mr. Kevin McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has collated on the use of strip searches and alternative body search technology in the prison regimes of other Council of Europe Member States. 
Hilary Benn: The Police and Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) are responsible for carrying out technological research for the Prison Service. They are constantly looking at any new technology that is available on the market to ascertain if it would be suitable for use in prisons and the Prison Service has set aside resources to enable the Police Scientific Development Branch to do this. At present, there are no suitable available alternatives capable of finding all items found during a rub down or strip-search, such as drugs, weapons, or other contraband.
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All searches are carried out in accordance with legislation and European Court of Human Rights, and any new technology available on the market would not be considered if in any way either was breached.
Mr. Blunkett: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Blair) informed the House on 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 367W, Government policy remains as stated in 1966 by the then Prime Minister, the Lord Wilson of Rievaulx. In answer to questions on 17 November 1966, Lord Wilson said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of the House of
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Commons and that if there were a development which required a change of policy, the Prime Minister would at such moment as seemed compatible with the security of the country, on his own initiative, make a statement in the House about it.
Miss McIntosh:: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many young offenders were successfully prosecuted in (a) April 1997 and (b) April 2002 and what was the average sentence (i) given and (ii) served in (A) England and Wales and (B) North Yorkshire. 
|England and Wales||North Yorkshire||England and Wales||North Yorkshire||England and Wales||North Yorkshire|
The average sentence served is available for young offenders (aged under 21) discharged from prison. Table 3.13 in Prison Statistics England and Wales 2000 provides statistics on the average time served for young offenders discharged during 2000 from determinate sentences on completion of sentence or on licence. Equivalent information for those discharged in 1997 is given in Table 3.13 of Prison Statistics England and Wales 1997. Copies of these publications are in the Library.
Currently 2,485 organisations within the public sector are Charter Mark holders, covering a wide range of sectors such as health, education, the courts, the employment service, Inland Revenue, local government and Police Forces. For example, all but a handful of local authorities have been awarded Charter Marks for a total of 874 individual services.
Mr. Leslie: The table contains information on the number of malicious fires attended by local authority fire brigades in the United Kingdom in each year between 1992 and 2000 (the latest year for which data are available). Malicious fires are those where malicious or deliberate ignition was proved or suspected (this includes fires which were recorded by the brigade as 'doubtful').
|Total||Dwellings||Other buildings||Road vehicles||Other outdoors|
(16)Figures are rounded and the components do not necessarily sum to the independently rounded totals.
(17)Figures from 1994 are based on sample data weighted to brigade totals. They include 'late' calls and heat and smoke damage only incidents, which were not recorded prior to 1994.
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Mr. Leslie: In 2000, the Fire Service in Derbyshire attended 1,225 fires where malicious or deliberate ignition was proved or suspected (this includes fires which were recorded by the brigade as 'doubtful'). This compares to 1,244 such fires in 1999, 1,003 in 1998 and 949 in 1997. Incident data are not available below brigade area level. 2000 is the latest year for which data are available.
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