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18 Nov 2004 : Column 1773W—continued

Passive Smoking

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information he collects regarding the number of people each year in the Province whose death is partly or wholly attributable to passive smoking. [198837]

Mr. Pearson: It is not possible to give figures on the number of deaths partly or wholly attributable to passive smoking from routinely collected mortality data.

Patient Death Investigations

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he plans to take to ensure that concerns raised by doctors regarding the deaths of patients are investigated. [198023]

Angela Smith: A Safety in Health and Social Care Steering Group established by the Department issued interim guidance (HSS (PPM) 06/04) to the HPSS and special agencies in July 2004 on the reporting and management of serious adverse incidents, including the death of patients.

The Department has also established a multi-agency group comprising departmental officials and representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the coroner service to develop a memorandum of understanding for the investigation of death and serious incidents in hospitals. This will take account of a recent memorandum of understanding issued for consultation in England and Wales: "Investigating patient safety incidents (unexpected death or serious untoward harm): a protocol for liaison and effective communications between the NHS, Association of Chief Police Officers and HSE".Work is also under way to reform the coroner and death certification service in Northern Ireland.
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Police Ombudsman

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many investigations carried out by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland have resulted in (a) successful prosecutions and (b) disciplinary charges being brought in each year of its operation. [188642]

Mr. Pearson: The Police Ombudsman has advised that as a result of her investigations:

Nov 2000 to March 2001nilnil
April 2001 to March 200225
April 2002 to March 2003837
April 2003 to March 20041695
April 2004 to date27

(12) refers to disciplinary processes such as Superintendent's warning, advice and guidance to be given, or procedural issues to be addressed.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether a Police Service of Northern Ireland officer holds the post of wildlife officer. [191824]

Mr. Pearson: The post of Wildlife Liaison Officer was trawled within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, but none of the applicants was found suitable. As an interim measure, an officer within the Operational support Department has been appointed temporarily to carry out the functions of the Wildlife Liaison Officer.

The post will be re-advertised within the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the near future.
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Police Station Security

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which police stations in Northern Ireland are due to have fortifications removed in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [197017]

Mr. Pearson: It is planned that the following stations will be subject to softening works during the next 12 months :


Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what overlap there is between the work of the district policing partnerships and that of the community safety partnerships. [194947]

Mr. Pearson: The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 as amended by the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003 sets out the statutory basis for the establishment and functions of district policing partnerships.

Section 71 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 makes provision for the establishment of a community safety strategy. The NIO Community Safety Strategy launched in 2003 recommended the formation of community safety partnerships in each district council area. Their main purpose is to bring together, at a local level, statutory bodies, service providers, voluntary and community organisations and public representatives with the aim of combining resources and views to enhance community safety in their districts.

The functions and membership of CSPs and DPPs therefore differ significantly, and their relationship is complementary rather than overlapping. The Government see no case for change at present. However, both partnership groupings are still at a relatively early stage of their development. The Northern Ireland Policing Board is currently undertaking a review of district policing partnerships,
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and community safety partnerships will also be subject to evaluation next year. The results of those reviews will of course be fully considered.


Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the involvement of paramilitary organisations in racist attacks in Northern Ireland. [187416]

Mr. Pearson: Individual members and localised groupings affiliated to Loyalist paramilitary groups are believed to have been involved in attacks against ethnic minorities. However, these attacks do not appear to have been sanctioned by the leaderships of Loyalist paramilitary organisations.

Restorative Justice

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made by the Northern Ireland Office towards completion of protocols governing restorative justice schemes; and if he will make a statement. [198489]

Mr. Spellar: Government are continuing to work with criminal justice agencies in developing guidelines for the operation of schemes in dealing with low level crime, in line with the recommendations in the criminal justice review. This work is at an advanced stage.

Government recognise that schemes can have a part to play in helping to secure a normal society. As a condition for this, schemes need to work actively to uphold the human rights of all, be prepared to work with statutory agencies including the police, be willing to be accredited and to adhere to standards in all key areas.

Smoke Alarms

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many deaths have been caused by fire in Northern Ireland in 2004; and in how many instances (a) no smoke alarm being fitted and (b) a faulty or non-working smoke alarm was a contributory factor. [198637]

Angela Smith: In the year to date (to 15 November 2004) there have been a total of 11 fire deaths in dwellings. Eight of these deaths have been deemed to be accidental. The cause of the remaining three is currently under investigation. Of the 11 dwelling fires, a total of six were fitted with a working smoke alarm. There was no functioning smoke alarm in the remaining five.

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