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7 Nov 2006 : Column 1439Wcontinued
|Table 2: Incidents of self-harm|
The system for recording incidents in prisons (IRS) copes with large volumes of data and is constantly being updated. As numbers of self-harm incidents cannot therefore be treated as absolute the figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. Additionally, a new form for reporting self-harm (F213SH) was introduced in December 2002. The rise in reported self-harm from 2003 may therefore partly reflect improved reporting rather than an actual increase in self-harm incidents. Self harm from one prison which re-rolled to a YOI in 2003 has been included for the whole period.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of young people under 18 have been classed as serious and persistent offenders in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: A persistent young offender is a young person aged between 10-17 who has been sentenced by any criminal court in the UK on three or more separate occasions for one or more recordable offence, and within three years of the last sentencing occasion is subsequently arrested or has an information laid against them for a further recordable offence.
The following table details for the last five years:
The number of persistent young offenders,
The percentage change in the number of persistent young offenders
The percentage of persistent young offenders in the 10-18 population
The number of persistent young offender cases dealt with through the courts
This table is based on an analysis of all recordable offences. No further breakdown is available.
|Period||Number of PYOs||Percentage change in the number of PYOs||The percentage of PYOs in the 10-18 population||Number of cases|
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of people in young offender institutions have special educational needs. 
Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.
Information from the Youth Justice Board's ASSET system shows that 25 per cent. of young people in custody have identified special educational needs and, of that group, 60 per cent. have formal statements of special educational need. This information relates only to those aged under 18.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the ABCA Armies Standardisation Programme; and what recent measures have been taken in pursuit of the objectives of this programme. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 November 2006]: The American, British, Canadian and Australian armies standardisation programme (ABCA) is a forum in which the US, UK, Canadian, Australian and, since March 2006, New Zealand armies aim to optimise interoperability. This is achieved through cooperation and collaboration, in the continuous pursuit of standardisation and mutual understanding, in order to integrate the capabilities of the ABCA armies in coalition operations.
In 2006, the five ABCA capability groups and three support groups have held 20 meetings and have produced seven standards, 17 publications, 21 reports and one architecture.
Specifically, ABCA sponsored a coalition lessons analysis workshop (August 2006), a multilateral interoperability programme functionality test (September 2006) and an interoperability gap analysis seminar (September 2006). The ABCA executive council meeting took place on 2 November in the United States. The assistant chief of the general staff represented the UK.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service women requested an abortion while stationed overseas in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) the age of the woman, (b) the grounds of the abortion, (c) the gestation of the pregnancy, (d) the procedures used and (e) whether the operation was performed. 
Derek Twigg: The Department does not collate statistics on the number of pregnancy terminations requested by service women while posted overseas, nor on the number of terminations performed.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is towards a request by service women for an abortion; where such operations are performed; whether additional leave is granted; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The Department's policy on abortion is consistent with that of the UK as a whole which is defined by the Abortion Act 1967, as amended.
As with all secondary care for service personnel, termination of pregnancy may in theory be carried out in any NHS Trust in the UK.
Additional leave can be given on a case-by-case basis but there is no entitlement to it.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of soldiers of 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Regiment were absent without leave (AWOL) on (a) 1 July 2006, (b) 1 September 2006 and (c) 1 May 2006; how many individuals AWOL on each date had been so for (i) seven days or more, (ii) 28 days or more and (iii) 56 days or more; how many individuals have been subject to disciplinary action for being AWOL since 1 May 2006; and how many individuals have been subject to each penalty imposed. 
Derek Twigg: The numbers of soldiers absent without leave from 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Regiment (2RWELSH) were as follows:
|1 May 2006||1 July 2006||1 September 2006|
|(1) Based on current battalion strength of 601|
Since 1 May 2006, 21 soldiers from 2RWELSH have been subject to disciplinary action for the offence of AWOL. There has been one award of restrictions of privileges and 20 awards of detention.
In addition, a further three are awaiting court-martial and one soldier is awaiting summary dealing.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training infantry units likely to be committed to Afghanistan have received to enable them to cope with the terrain in their potential areas of operations. 
Mr. Ingram: Training is conducted in two ways to ensure that troops are prepared for operations. First, units will conduct generic high intensity training to prepare forces for the most demanding operation. This is achieved on progressive training exercises that will increase in size, tempo and complexity. Exercise locations for this training are diverse, and include both the UK and overseas training areas. Therefore, at the conclusion of their training programme infantry battalions will have trained in differing environments.
Once force elements have been identified for operations, they are provided with theatre specific training which ensures units are cohesively trained,
prepared for the threat and culture they are likely to experience, and also the terrain.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many opium farmers in Afghanistan have been paid to destroy their crops in each of the last five years; at what cost in each year; and how many cheques have not been honoured. 
Mr. Ingram: Compensated eradication was never seen as a long-term solution to drug control and does not form part of the present Afghan government's national drug control strategy. From 2003 to 2006 eradication has not been compensated. In 2002 the Afghan interim administration considered it appropriate to offer farmers one-off payments because the 2002 crop was planted before it came to power. The UK Government provided £21.25 million in support of the Afghan administration's 2002 compensated eradication programme. We provided support because we believed it was important to support a new regime determined to take tough decisions to tackle drugs, but it was nonetheless the responsibility of the Afghan authorities to implement the programme.
We understand from the Afghan authorities that a total of 17,000 hectares of poppy was eradicated under the 2002 programme. The number of farmers compensated and the implementation of the programme is a matter for the Afghan government.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provisions are in place for compensation for Afghan civilians killed, wounded or otherwise harmed during ISAF operations. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 30 October 2006, Official Report, column 99-100W.
Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department takes to support (a) young soldiers and (b) those engaged in their first mission in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: All personnel deploying on operations to Afghanistan undergo a comprehensive, specific to theatre, mandatory training package to prepare them for their deployment. The Army trains and leads its personnel throughout their military careers to ensure they are ready for the tasks they will encounter.
The UK signed up to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, and Operational and Non-Operational Deployment of Under 18s in September 2000. As a result, the Army avoids deploying under 18-year-olds on operational tours.
The welfare and support of personnel, regardless of age or the number of operational tours they have undertaken, is the responsibility of the chain of command. The regimental system ensures that personnel look after one another and that individuals know where to go in order to seek support, both within and outside the chain of command.
Recent improvements have been made to the Operational Welfare Package, the aim of which is to
maintain the strength and morale of service personnel in order to optimise and maintain operational effectiveness. It does so by providing support for the physical and emotional well-being of service personnel deployed on operations. Recent improvements to the package include an increase in the free weekly telephone calls from 20 to 30 minutes and operational bonus. Other benefits of the package include free e-mails facility, free blueys (mail), free packages from families to personnel of up to 2 kg over the Christmas period and up to 14 days rest and recuperation break during a six-month tour.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Departments policy is on employing mercenaries in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The MOD does not employ mercenaries.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what NATOs policy is on the payment of funds to armed groups in Afghanistan for security purposes. 
Des Browne: Under the long-established principle that costs should lie where they fall, the majority of costs associated with NATO operations are the responsibility of the individual contributing nations, not the alliance. While the alliance has contracted private security companies in some instances, it is not currently doing so in Afghanistan.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many militants have been captured in Afghanistan in each of the past 12 months, broken down by nationality. 
Des Browne: As of 30 September, 18 people had been detained by British forces in Afghanistan during the past 12 months; four in July and 14 in September.
Due to the short time detainees are held by British forces before being transferred to the Government of Afghanistan or released, it is not possible to obtain accurate records of detainees nationalities.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many deaths of (a) civilians and (b) militants resulted from NATO activity in Afghanistan in each of the last six months. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 2 November 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 26 October 2006, Official Report, column 2013W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn).
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers serving in Afghanistan are from (a) Coventry, South and (b) the West Midlands region. 
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