Previous Section Index Home Page


11 Jun 2003 : Column 950W—continued

Equal Opportunities

Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on completing a pay audit in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies to measure any disadvantage in terms of remuneration for (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities and (c) people with disabilities; and if he will publish the results of such an audit. [117436]

Beverley Hughes: The Home Office completed the final report of its Equal Pay Audit, including an action plan, and submitted it to Cabinet Office on 6 May 2003. The report found that non-Agency Home Office pay structures and practices had been "equality-proofed"

11 Jun 2003 : Column 951W

and were within the tolerance standards set by the Equal Opportunities Commission in relation to gender. The Home Office action plan includes undertaking a second equal pay review later in 2003, which in addition to considering gender, will seek to measure any disadvantage in terms of remuneration for ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

A copy of the action plan will be placed in the Library once any arising discussions with Cabinet Office have been concluded.

Non-Departmental Public Bodies were not formally covered by the commitment but may have carried out their own Equal Pay Audits.

Police

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were involved in policing the England football match at Leicester on 3 June; and what the cost was to the police authorities. [118172]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Leicestershire police operation involved the deployment of 379 officers and 27 support staff, including 50 officers, 10 police horses and special vehicles provided by neighbouring forces in accordance with mutual aid arrangements. 107 police officers were deployed inside the ground for at least part of their duties. The Police Authority has yet to calculate the full cost of the operation.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has commissioned on the safety of the Airwave Communications police communications system. [118348]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 10 June 2002]: Following independent expert advice on the health and safety aspects of the TETRA technology used by Airwave, the Home Office has set up an extensive research programme. We have recently announced a £5 million national health monitoring study of Airwave police users, to be carried out by Imperial College. Other key elements of the research are a study by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on the possible biological effects of TETRA and independent checks of the emissions of Airwave radios. All the results so far confirm that Airwave equipment is safe.

Updates on our TETRA health programme are available on the Home Office web site at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs/tetra.html.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding is available for the establishment of police station shops in local shopping centre precincts; and if he will make a statement. [116017]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Police authorities may use their general capital and revenue grants to provide such facilities as they consider appropriate in local circumstances.

Terrorism

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans will be made to protect an Olympic Games held in London from terrorist attack. [116048]

11 Jun 2003 : Column 952W

Mr. Blunkett: Security arrangements for any major event are of the utmost importance, and an Olympic Games would be no exception. The Government and their partners will work alongside the bidding organisation and in the event of a successful bid, the organising committee, to ensure that the appropriate arrangements are in place.

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack at venues where large groups of people gather. [116049]

Mr. Blunkett: Cross-government contingency plans have always been in place and regular exercises test responses to a wide range of different threats. The exercises test the roles of all relevant Government Departments, military, police and local authorities. The Government give the police and security forces the funds and powers necessary to do their job. Day to day operational considerations are a matter for the heads of the appropriate authorities in any particular area. It would not be appropriate for me to disclose contingency arrangements or how particular authorities utilise the resources available to them.

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to reduce the time taken for those detained under the Anti-Terrorism and Security Act 2001 to be brought to trial. [116050]

Mr. Blunkett: Individuals detained under s23 of the Anti-Terrorist, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA) are detained under a primary immigration power and are free to leave the country.

Individuals detained under the ATCSA have a Right of Appeal against certification exercisable to the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission (SIAC). SIAC began hearing the first of 15 appeals on 19 May 2003.

The detainees exercised their right to contest the Government's derogation from Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which underpins Part IV of Act, by lodging an appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals' Commissioner. This matter was taken up in the Court Appeal and resolved in October 2002. Any delays to the individual detainee appeal hearings have followed from these legal challenges, as well as delays in the preparation of material by those acting for the detainees themselves.

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to prevent incidents of terrorism in the UK. [116438]

Mr. Blunkett: As I have made clear in the House on a number of occasions, safeguards are in place across the country to combat the threat posed by terrorism. It would not be appropriate to comment on particular measures or operational procedures.

The security and intelligence agencies continue to gather, analyse and assess intelligence, working closely with others, to thwart and disrupt those individuals and organisations involved in the facilitation, preparation or commission of terrorist acts.

11 Jun 2003 : Column 953W

NORTHERN IRELAND

Accountancy Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in 2002–03. [109491]

Mr. Paul Murphy: In 2002–03, the Northern Ireland Office (including its Agencies but excluding NDPBs as we do not have a breakdown of their expenditure) spent an estimated £213,775 on accountancy services.

Much of this figure relates to implementing Resource Accounting and Budgeting, and installing a new Financial Information System. It was necessary for the Department to employ external consultants for these projects, as the required expertise and resources were not available in-house to introduce them.

The estimated total cost of accountancy services in the Northern Ireland administration is £1,575,034. The figure is estimated, as final invoices have not been received in all cases.

Agency Workers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many agency workers have been employed by the Department in each of the last two years; and at what cost to public funds. [115205]

Mr. Pearson: In 2001–02, a total of 170 employment agency workers were engaged by Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland Office at a cost of £620,182. In 2002–03, the totals were 213 and £1,099,225, respectively.

Ambulance Service

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service are unable to work as a result of violent attacks by (a) patients and (b) other members of the community. [115961]

Mr. Browne: Since 1 January 2003 there have been 70 reported incidents of violent attacks on ambulance staff, as a result of which 7 staff have been unable to work. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service does not differentiate between attacks by a patient or other members of the community when recording violent attacks.

Assaults (Health Professionals)

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many violent attacks have been initiated by patients and directed at (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) other health care professionals in Northern Ireland over the 12 month period from 1 May 2002. [115925]

Mr. Browne: The information is not available in the format requested. However in the financial year 2002–03 the recorded number of assaults (both verbal and physical) reported in Health and Personal Social Services Trusts was 5065.

11 Jun 2003 : Column 954W

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many violent attacks by patients, directed against paramedics, have occurred in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. [115964]

Mr. Browne: The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service does not record attacks on its staff in the manner requested. However, the total number of attacks on Ambulance Service personnel during 2002 and 2003 to date is as follows:

Total
200296
2003 (to date)70


Next Section Index Home Page