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12 Jun 2007 : Column 976W—continued


Prisoners: Correspondence

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether correspondence between hon. and right hon. Members and inmates is routinely opened by HM Prison staff before it reaches recipients; and if he will make a statement. [141263]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

Correspondence between Members of Parliament (acting in their constituency capacity) and prisoners is not routinely opened by prison staff. Under confidential access arrangements operated by the Prison Service such letters are not opened, read or stopped unless there are exceptional reasons for doing so.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, columns 110-11W, on speed limits: cameras, what additional duties have been given to traffic police officers since 1997 in addition to their basic function as traffic regulators. [141418]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 11 June 2007]: The Roads Policing Strategy Statement, agreed in January 2005 between the Home Office, Department for Transport and the Association of Chief Police Officers
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sets five main objectives for roads policing, whether undertaken by dedicated traffic police officers or others. These are: to deny criminals the use of the roads, to reduce road casualties, to tackle thee threat of terrorism, to reduce antisocial use of the roads and to enhance public confidence and reassurance by patrolling the roads. Within this framework, the allocation of resources and use of officers for different functions is an operational matter for individual chief officers.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, columns 110-1W, on speed limits: cameras, what (a) average and (b) total overtime was worked by dedicated traffic patrol police officers in each year between 1997 and 2006; what the (i) average and (ii) total mileage per annum of police traffic patrol vehicles was in each year; and how many dedicated police traffic patrol vehicles were in operation in each year. [141419]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 11 June 2007]: This information is not collected centrally.

Stop and Search

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many stop and searches were carried out by police under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in each year since the Act’s introduction; and how many and what percentage of those searches resulted in an arrest. [140774]

John Reid: Information on stop and searches and resultant arrests under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 from 2001-02 to 2004-05 (latest available) is given in the following table.

2005-06 data will be available later this year.

Searches of vehicles( 1) and occupants, and pedestrians under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000( 2) and resultant arrests( 3) , England and Wales, 2001-02 to 2004-05
Stop and searches in order to prevent acts of terrorism
Total searches Resultant arrests( 3) Percentage of arrests

2001-02

10,200

189

2

2002-03

32,100

380

1

2003-04

33,800

491

1

2004-05

35,800

455

1

(1) Searches may be conducted on vehicles only, occupants only or both may be searched. Where a vehicle and driver occupier are searched simultaneously the search is recorded against the driver (occupant). Any other passengers searched are recorded as occupants.
(2) The Terrorism Act 2000 came into force on 19 February 2001.
(3) Includes arrests under the Terrorism Act, arrests for terrorist related matters and other serious crimes.
Note:
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by police officers. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

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Surveillance

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many intrusive surveillance warrants were issued in each of the last five years. [141785]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 11 June 2007]: The number of authorisations granted, under section 32 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, for the carrying out of intrusive surveillance is included in the Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner to the Prime Minister and to Scottish Ministers which is laid before each House of Parliament and published. For the last five reports, the numbers have been:

Number

2001-02

493

2002-03

475

2003-04

447

2004-05

461

2005-06

435


Terrorism

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the recent tracer gas trials in the Westminster area as part of the Department’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Science and Technology Programme; what discussions he has held on further such trials; and if he will make a statement. [141700]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 11 June 2007]: It is not clear what type of assessment the question refers to. The trial is ongoing and the results will be assessed in due course to improve our understanding of the movement of material in the urban environment.

Further discussions have taken place in respect of the planned second phase of the trial which will be undertaken in early 2008 following analysis of the first phase results.

We encourage the publication of research results but this may be restricted for reasons of national security.

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the statement of 17 May 2007, Official Report, column 46WS, on Westminster tracer gas trials, what non-toxic gases were used in the Westminster area as part of the Department’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Science and Technology Programme. [141788]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 11 June 2007]: The non-toxic gases used in the trial belong to the family of chemicals known as cyclic perfluorocarbons. The actual gases released are: perfluoro methyl cyclohexane; meta perfluoro dimethyl cyclohexane; and para perfluoro dimethyl cyclohexane.


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Terrorism: Crime Prevention

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consideration he has given to the compatibility of proposed changes to counter-terrorism legislation with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights; [141216]

(2) what representations he has received on the conformity with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights of the changes he is preparing to propose to anti-terrorism legislation. [141318]

Mr. McNulty: The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a binding international agreement that enshrines fundamental civil and political rights. The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates ECHR into UK law.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 7 June 2007, Official Report, column 421, the Government’s intention to bring forward a Bill later this year. We are currently embarking on a wide ranging consultation to determine what measures should go into the Bill. Development of the new Counter Terrorism Bill therefore remains at an early stage.

Consideration of the impact of legislation on the European Convention on Human Rights will be considered as part of the consultation process. Prior to introduction of any Bill into Parliament a memorandum will be produced setting out the Bill's compatibility with the Convention rights, and a written statement on compatibility will be made to each House.

Terrorism: Detainees

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions since 25 July 2006 the police have been obliged by the 28-day pre-charge detention period to release terrorist suspects whom they still wished to detain beyond that period; and what the (a) date and (b) circumstances were of each case in which no legal proceedings are active. [141259]

John Reid [holding answer 11 June 2007]: The police do not centrally hold information on the circumstances of each terrorist case where a suspect is not charged within the 28 day pre-charge detention period.

Terrorism: Stop and Search

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he had with Cabinet colleagues prior to announcing to the media the proposals to extend counter-terrorism stop and search powers to the police. [141067]

Mr. McNulty: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary did not announce any such proposals to the media—the news reports were the result of a leaked document. All Bill proposals that are intended for inclusion in legislation are subject to Cabinet agreement before they can be discussed during a consultation.


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Duchy of Lancaster

Departments: Official Residences

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will list the official ministerial residences allocated to Ministers in her Department; and what the total annual cost is of running each. [141961]

Hilary Armstrong: No Ministers in the Cabinet Office are allocated a ministerial residence.

Slade Green

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what the itinerary was for her visit to Slade Green in the Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency on 5 June. [142292]

The Minister without Portfolio: This visit was not made in my ministerial capacity.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Cyprus

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government’s policy is on the implementation of the proposal of the UN Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari to start discussions on the technical committees and working groups as delineated in the agreement between President Papadopoulos of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot leader of 8 July 2006; for what reasons the process has not yet started; and what steps the Government are taking to make progress on the process. [142117]

Mr. Hoon: The Government welcomed the 8 July 2006 agreement brokered by former UN Under Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari, and remains fully supportive of the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Representative in Cyprus, Michael Moller, to launch the technical committees and working groups. The recent report of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus (accessible at: http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/sgrep07.htm) outlines in detail the reasons why this process has not yet started. The key obstacle is disagreement between the two sides on what constitutes a day-to-day matter, and the mechanisms for resolving disagreements.

We are disappointed at the lack of progress to date and have raised our concerns at the highest levels. We consider that the status quo is unacceptable and that negotiations on a final political solution have been at an impasse for too long. Time is not on the side of a settlement. We will continue to urge both sides to show the political will and flexibility to bridge the gap between words and deeds, and to engage constructively with the UN’s efforts to broker a comprehensive and durable settlement.
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Departments: Eligo International Ltd

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) date, (b) value and (c) purpose was of each payment made by her Department or its agencies to Eligo International Ltd since 1997. [141915]

Mr. Hoon: There is no record of payments made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK to Eligo International Ltd in this time frame. To establish whether FCO missions overseas have made payments to the company would require each post to check accounts for each of the last 10 years. This would incur disproportionate cost.

Departments: Public Relations

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by her Department on public relations in each of the last five years. [139424]

Mr. Hoon: The following totals have been identified as having been spent on public relations by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):

Financial year (FY) £

2001-02

1,700

2002-03

18,825

2003-04

9,503

2004-05

8,534

2005-06

13,104


The figures for FY 2006-07 are not available as the 2006-07 resource accounts are currently being audited by the National Audit Office.

The aforementioned figures are for expenditure explicitly identified, according to the FCO’s accounting systems, as public relations expenditure. Invoices charged to account codes for specific events or projects in these years are likely to have included public relations activities, but it is not possible to identify the public relations elements of this expenditure without incurring disproportionate cost.

In addition, the FCO Communication’s Directorate (including Press Office, Stakeholder Management and Public Diplomacy departments, for example) undertakes public relations work. It is not possible to identify this expenditure.

Iran: Terrorism

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the role of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the funding and support of terrorism in the Middle East; in which countries IRGC members are known to be active in this way; and if she will make a statement. [136493]

Margaret Beckett: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is an official organisation of the Iranian Government. We remain deeply concerned that Iran is undermining the prospects for stability, peace and democracy in the region. Iran continues to support
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those engaged in acts of terrorism, including arming and financing groups which have no regard for securing a peaceful Middle East. We firmly believe that Iran should co-operate fully with the rest of the international community against international terrorism, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and subsequent Resolutions, including 1701 and 1747. Iran has underlined its commitment to counter terrorism. We look to it to turn words into deeds.


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