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20 Jun 2005 : Column 750W—continued


Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has received regarding the country of origin of the Alouette helicopter spare parts sold to Zimbabwe. [4488]

Ian Pearson: We understand that the Alouette helicopter spare parts were supplied as part of a procurement package signed between South Africa and France and delivered from 1966 to 1971; and that they were subsequently offered for sale by the South African Air Force when the helicopters for which they were supplied were decommissioned.
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Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the merits of barring those members of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs who were part of the group recommending the reclassification of cannabis to Class C from the current assessment of the stronger varieties of cannabis. [4044]

Paul Goggins: A number of members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), including the Chairman, were members of the ACMD when it considered the classification of cannabis preparations and provided its advice to the Home Secretary in March 2002.

As an independent advisory body it is important that the ACMD should be free and unfettered to conduct its business, without the interference of Parliament or Ministers. Members are appointed on the basis of their individual qualities and expertise, and on appointment are charged with providing independent and impartial advice to the best of their ability. Considerable effort is made to ensure that the membership of the ACMD reflects all necessary and appropriate disciplines and areas of knowledge and expertise, and it is fundamental that its advice is based on the contributions of its full membership so that it is as full and strong as possible.

I remain confident in the integrity and professionalism of the ACMD and its membership, and look forward to receiving its advice.


Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what date he expects the extension of the Airwave system to the London Underground to be complete. [2543]

Hazel Blears: Airwave already covers most of the London Underground network. We expect the whole network, including the very deepest tunnels, to be covered by 2008. The British Transport police, who are responsible for policing the London Underground, already have radios that work in that environment.

Antisocial Behaviour

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vehicles have been confiscated as a result of antisocial behaviour in Tamworth since police were given powers to do so. [3325]

Hazel Blears: Powers under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 allow a constable in uniform, after giving a warning, to stop and seize a motor vehicle, if he/she has grounds for believing that it is being used (or is likely to be used) in an antisocial manner causing harassment, alarm or distress.

Following the commencement of this power on 1 January 2003 the police in Tamworth introduced 'Operation Trench' in response to the problems caused by antisocial use of vehicles. To date the police have issued 119 Section 59 Warning Notices to the users of motor vehicles (both cars and bikes) and recovered 15
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vehicles in total. The operation has also recovered seven stolen motor vehicles, resulting in the arrest of eight individuals.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been issued in Preseli Pembrokeshire in each year since 1997. [3712]

Hazel Blears: Antisocial behaviour orders, introduced in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, have been available to the courts since 1 April 1999. From commencement up to 31 May 2000 data were collected, on aggregate numbers only, by police force area. Since 1 June 2000, from copies of the orders received, we are able to determine the local government authority areas in which prohibitions have been imposed. The constituency of Preseli Pembrokeshire is located within the local government authority area of Pembrokeshire county council. The available information is given in the table.
ASBOs issued at all courts, as reported to the Home Office, where restrictions are imposed in the Pembrokeshire county council area, by period, up to 30 September 2004 (latest available)

1 April 1999 to 31 May 2000(10)
1 June 2000 to 31 December 2000
1 January to 30 September 20046

(10)Between 1 April 1999–31 May 2000 data were collected on aggregate numbers only by police force area (pfa).

Automatic Number Plate Recognition

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the pilot Automatic Number Plate Recognition system project. [3952]

Paul Goggins: The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) pilot evaluation report, 'Driving Crime Down—Denying Criminals the Use of the Roads' tracked the first year of ANPR Project Laser Two and tested the roll out and operation of ANPR-enabled police intercept teams. The report concluded that ANPR is one of the most effective technologies currently available to the Police Service.

ANPR has had an impact on crime at all levels and has also proved effective in intelligence gathering and post-incident investigation. Dedicated police intercept officers in 23 forces using ANPR technology during Laser Two, achieved a nine fold increase in their average arrest rate to that of the nationally accepted average. In addition, the same officers produced three times the Offences Brought to Justice compared to conventional policing.

The national rollout of ANPR is now well under way and it is the Association of Chief Police Officer's (ACPO) vision, supported by the Home Office Police Standards Unit, for each police force to have at least one dedicated ANPR intercept team in place by October 2005 and for this facility to be extended to the equivalent of one per Police Basic Command Unit by April 2008.
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The Government remain committed to ANPR so that it may both build and improve upon the level of success it has achieved so far.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system is expected to help reduce the number of uninsured drivers. [3953]

Paul Goggins: Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) intercept officers can currently issue an endorsable fixed penalty notice for the offence of driving while uninsured. Approximately 12 per cent. of the 54,035 fixed penalty notices issued during the Laser Two pilot were for this offence.

Provisions in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 give police both improved access to the Motor Insurers Database (this is an automated system of identifying to police officers those vehicles that are on the road that are uninsured) and a statutory power to seize a vehicle if there is no valid certificate of insurance for that vehicle.

The Government hope that by utilising these additional powers, police ANPR-enabled intercept teams will significantly help to reduce the number of vehicles that are using the roads without valid insurance cover.

Bicycle Bells

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance his Department issues to the police on ascertaining whether a bicycle without a bell was sold before the change in the law requiring a bell came into force. [4224]

Paul Goggins: None: The requirement for the mandatory fitting of bells on pedal cycles is enforced at the point of sale by local authority trading standard officers. It is not a matter for the police.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been for not having a bicycle bell of (a) cycle dealers and (b) cyclists. [4223]

Paul Goggins: It is not possible to identify offences related specifically to bicycle bells from the data held on the Home Office Court Proceedings database as this information is not centrally collected.

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