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16 Dec 2002 : Column 649W—continued

Prince of Wales (Gifts)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what powers, and on whose authority, the security services intercepted the conversation between Harold Brown and Jan Havlik about the model of an Arabian ship given as a wedding present to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales by the Emir of Bahrain; and if he will make a statement. [86184]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 10 December 2002]: The policy of successive governments is to neither confirm nor deny allegations as to whether a particular individual is or has been subject to an interception warrant under part I of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Social Security Benefits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that the question and advice about social security benefits that appears on the back of ordinary death certificates is printed on the back of death certificates provided by coroners' offices. [86603]

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Hilary Benn [holding answer 10 December 2002]: We have been considering with the Department for Work and Pensions how best to ensure that timely information about such benefits can be drawn to the attention of the bereaved. I am afraid that coroners' interim certificates of the fact of death are not suitablefor this ppurpose, but I will write to the hon. Member in due course.

States of Alert

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the states of alert which are operated by government establishments, and the criteria which apply in each case. [86447]

Mr. Denham: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Mr. Marsden) on 25 November 2002, Official Report, column 106W.

Truant Children

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times in each month since

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its introduction police have used their powers under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to remove truant children to designated places. [86180]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 9 December 2002]: The information is not held centrally. Police forces are not required to inform the Secretary of State when using the powers provided by section 16 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to pick up truants in public places and return them to school or other designated place.

We have encouraged the police and local education authorities to undertake truancy sweeps on a regular basis, based on an assessment of local truancy problems. We are also making use of truancy sweeps as part of our efforts to tackle street crime. A co-ordinated programme of truancy sweeps during May this year in the street crime areas saw over 12,000 pupils stopped in 900 sweeps.

Drugs Strategy

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which targets have been (a) abandoned, (b) retained and (c) newly adopted following the updated drug strategy; and how progress on targets is to be monitored and reported. [86536]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have not abandoned our targets. Following a review of the Drug Strategy, we concluded that the targets covered the right areas but, as the Home Affairs Committee noted, in some cases they were aspirational. We need targets which are challenging but achievable and which drive an emphasis on tackling problematic drug use and on reducing the harm caused by drugs.

The new targets are set out in the list. The targets are monitored and delivered by Departments working closely together, although each target has a lead Department which co-ordinates delivery. These are indicated in the list.

We will continue to report publicly on our progress through general reports on the strategy and through specific statistical bulletins. As with previous targets, more detailed information on how the new targets will be measured will be set out in technical notes available on departmental websites. The Department of Health Technical Note is already on their website at Other technical notes will be published shortly.

Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets from the previous spending review (SR2000) and the corresponding new targets from this latest spending review (SR2002).

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Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many places are available on government—unded drug rehabilitation programmes; and how many will be made available as a result of the Updated Drugs Strategy. [86539]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Since 1997 the number of treatment services in England has increased by a third to 715. Under the Updated Drug Strategy, the National Treatment Agency will continue to work to increase the number and capacity of all treatment services to meet the target of doubling the number of people in structured treatment to 200,000 a year by 2008.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what part the concept of indefinite remedial care and harm minimisation for individuals using illegal drugs or prescribed substitutes will play as an alternative to rehabilitation and abstinence under the Updated Drug Strategy. [86540]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The primary goal of all treatment is abstinence while recognising that some drug misusers may require longer-term support to achieve this. Approaches, such as prescribing methadone or diamorphine as a substitute for illicit opiates, have proven benefits for certain individuals and for society, particularly in terms of stabilising the individual, and reducing injecting behaviour and criminal activity.

The Updated Drug Strategy also contains as a key element the target of reducing drug-related deaths by 20 per cent. by 2004—often the final tragic result of years of risky patterns of use and poor health. Improving the basic health of drug misusers benefits them and the wider community. Programmes will focus on the key risks to health, reaching out on to the street and other places to target drug misusers in crisis.

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Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what breakdowns are available for each of the four headings in the direct annual expenditure table on page 64 of the Updated Drugs Strategy document. [86543]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following initiatives will be among those funded from the additional expenditure being injected into the Drug Strategy.

Drug Treatment

Protecting Young People

The amount spent on each initiative may vary from year to year as an initiative is rolled out and as the actual as opposed to estimated costs are established.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the access to drug detox and rehab programmes of drug addicts (a) within the criminal justice system and (b) outside of it; and if it is an aim of the Updated Drug Strategy to achieve equality of access. [86544]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Treatment works. It leads to reductions in both drug use and offending. We want to ensure that all those in need of treatment have access to it, whether it is through the community or criminal justice system.

The Updated Drug Strategy focuses on getting problematic drug users into treatment. Filling gaps in provision, reducing waiting times and using every opportunity presented by the criminal justice system will ensure this target is met.

Mr. Gary Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government has to monitor average persistence of prescribed (a) diamorphine and (b) methadone use per individual under programmes supported by the Updated Drug Strategy. [86545]

Mr. Streeter: Under the Updated Drug Strategy, the treatment target has been extended not only to monitor the number of drug misusers entering treatment services, but also to monitor the proportion of users successfully sustaining or completing treatment programmes. This

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will include drug misusers on diamorphine or methadone prescribing programmes. Performance against the treatment target will be monitored by the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System.

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