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21 Apr 1998 : Column WA197

Written Answers

Tuesday, 21st April 1998.

Homicides by Previously Convicted Killers

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people have died since 1963 in the United Kingdom at the hands of previously convicted killers.[HL1454]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): During the period 1963 to date, a total of 93 persons in England and Wales are known to have been killed by persons who had been previously convicted of homicide in England and Wales.

As with previous answers, the figure excludes persons who have been killed by those who may have been convicted outside England and Wales (for whom there is incomplete information) and persons who have been killed by those not previously convicted of homicide by reason of their mental state.

Figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland are not readily available.

European Convention on Human Rights: Legislative Changes

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What legislative changes are necessary to enable the United Kingdom to ratify Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL1423]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Legislation is needed to amend three rules of family law in England and Wales which we do not think are capable of being interpreted consistently with Article 5 of Protocol 7 ("Equality between spouses"). These rules are:

    (i) At common law a husband has a duty to maintain his wife, but not vice versa.

    (ii) Under Section 1 of the Married Women's Property Act 1964, if the wife gives her husband a housekeeping allowance any goods bought with it remain his wife's, but if the husband gives his wife a housekeeping allowance it belongs to them in equal shares unless they agree otherwise.

    (iii) A common law presumption of "advancement"-- where a husband makes a payment or puts property in his wife's name it is presumed to be a gift to her, but if the wife does the same the presumption does not apply.

Location of Prisoners: Computerised System

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they provide police forces in the United Kingdom with on-line access to computer-held

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    information on the location of prisoners serving sentences in Her Majesty's prisons in England and Wales; and, if not, when they expect to be able to do so.[HL1462]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Inmates Information System used by Her Majesty's Prison Service in England and Wales was designed over 10 years ago. Technical and security considerations prevent it from being readily integrated with existing police systems and networks. On-line access from police forces is not available but a Prisoner Location Service is provided to police forces which allows enquiries to be made through a central telephone contact point. Consideration is being given to a trial of on-line access from one or more police sites to evaluate the potential operational benefits.

Work is currently under way on a project that will lead to the complete replacement of the current system. It is a requirement for this system that links will be provided to and from the other criminal justice agencies, including police forces. The Prison Service is working closely with other criminal justice agencies in developing criteria for this new system. Significant development work will be required to implement these links and a precise date for its availability cannot be determined at this stage. The earliest likely date for full operational use is 2001.

Mr. Kandeya of UNITA

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what specific grounds Mr. Kandeya of UNITA of Angola remains in the United Kingdom despite being asked by them to leave and to close down the UNITA office in the United Kingdom, as required by United Nations Resolution.[HL1387]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Mr. Kandeya will not be required to leave the United Kingdom pending resolution of his application for further leave to remain here.

Traffic Light Offences, Edgware

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people were (a) charged and (b) convicted of traffic light offences at the junction of the A.5 and B.461 in Edgware during each of the last three years for which figures are available.[HL1501]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is not available.

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Associations of Chief Police Officers: Funding

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 16 March (WA 104), what funds or assistance for the years 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97 were given to the Association of Chief Police Officers in England and Wales and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland from the Home Office, the Scottish Office or other government departments, and what was the contribution from each police authority or joint police board.[HL1511]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In respect of the Association of Chief Police Officers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (ACPO), the Home Office contributed £466,000 in 1994-95, £470,000 in 1995-96 and £458,000 in 1996-97, under the common police service arrangements, towards staff salaries and administrative costs of the ACPO secretariat. Before 1996-97, ACPO was organised differently, with a limited central function. Work undertaken in the ACPO central office from part way through 1996-97 was previously carried out in forces for which no specific costs are available. Police authorities contributed £330,000 as a part year cost for setting up the reorganised ACPO.

In respect of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Scotland (ACPOS), assistance was provided by the Scottish Office Home Department in respect of ACPOS staff salaries and administrative costs: £104,000 in 1994-95, £119,000 in 1995-96 and £135,000 in 1996-97. Scottish Office funding for the ACPOS secretariat is included in the common police services, for which the Secretary of State for Scotland recovers 50 per cent. of the expenditure from police authorities. Details of the expenditure recovered from each of them in respect of 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 are shown in the table.

Police Authority 1994-951995-961996-97
Central 2,3802,7413,123
Dumfries & Galloway1,4061,5731,787
Fife 2,8563,2893,737
Grampian 4,3134,8545,533
Lothian & Borders 9,23810,54611,981
Northern 2,3952,7583,133
Strathclyde 25,46229,20233,154
Tayside 3,9514,5375,183

Rough Sleeping in Westminster

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why rough sleeping and begging are permitted in the immediate vicinity of Westminster Cathedral while they are not permitted in the immediate vicinity of Westminster Abbey.[HL1504]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Rough sleeping is not in itself an offence. Section 3 of the 1824 Vagrancy Act makes it an offence to beg in a public place and the threatening or intimidating behaviour sometimes associated with begging is an offence under the Public Order Act 1986. The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis tells me that anyone found begging in London is liable for arrest. For several reasons, the area around Westminster Cathedral is a popular area for rough sleepers, unlike the area around Westminster Abbey. The Metropolitan Police will continue to work in partnership with other agencies to deal with the problem of rough sleeping in central London.

Smallpox Vaccination and Operation Granby

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces were given smallpox vaccinations prior to and at the time of Operation Granby, and by whom was the vaccine manufactured.[HL838]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The UK Armed Forces ceased routine vaccination against smallpox in the early 1980s, following the World Health Assembly's ratification, in 1980, of an earlier declaration by the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication that the world was free of smallpox. It is quite possible, therefore, that some Service personnel who participated in Operation Granby could have been vaccinated against smallpox earlier in their careers. Vaccination data are not held centrally and details of how many had been so vaccinated could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Smallpox was not one of the routine vaccinations which were administered at the time of the Gulf conflict, nor did it form part of the Operation Granby anti-biological warfare agent immunisation programme.

The MoD is aware of one member of the Armed Forces who served in the Gulf conflict and who was vaccinated against smallpox in January 1991 by private arrangement.

The MoD is, however, also aware of one medical record which appears to show that a vaccination for smallpox was given to another Gulf veteran on 3 January 1991. The medical officer who apparently administered the vaccination has been contacted and shown a copy of this record. He has confirmed that the entry in the smallpox section of the medical record is in his handwriting; however, he has stated that he did not at any time during 1990 and 1991 give a smallpox vaccination to any members of the Armed Forces. This matter is being investigated further.

For reasons unrelated to the Gulf conflict, a very small number of UK Service personnel were immunised against smallpox in late 1990, using vaccine manufactured by Swiss Serum of Berne, Switzerland.

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