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Crime (Sentences) Act 1997

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government have always said that implementation depended on the capacity of the Prison Service and available resources. The latest long-term projections for the prison population are lower than had previously been the case. We now believe that the Prison Service has the capacity to cope with the increase in the prison population which Section 4 will give rise to.

Police Authority Funding

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Allocations for each police authority are set out in the table. The table also shows allocations approved by Parliament for 1998-99.

Police Authority1998-1999 Allocation(1)1999-2000 Allocation(1)
£ million£ million
English Shire forces
Avon & Somerset164.3168.4
Devon and Cornwall167.4174.3
North Yorkshire75.677.6
Thames Valley219.3224.6
West Mercia110.0113.0
English Metropolitan forces
Greater Manchester364.8375.7
South Yorkshire165.4171.3
West Midlands371.9380.6
West Yorkshire279.5286.3
London forces
Metropolitan Police(2)1,715.31,743.9
City of London(3)57.155.4
English total6,682.66,852.8
Welsh forces
North Wales73.275.5
South Wales161.3163.8
Welsh total353.0360.8


(1) Rounded to the nearest £100,000. The Allocation is the sum of: Police Grant, Transitional Grant, Police SSA, Capital Finance SSA, SSA Reduction Grant and Central Support Protection Grant.

(2) Figure for the Metropolitan Police does not include funding allocated to the Receiver under the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA for school crossing patrols, Magistrates' Courts and the Probation Service. It does include its Special Payment.

(3) Figure for the City includes Police SSA Grant, and SSA Reduction Grant, but excludes other SSAs (e.g. Capital Financing) and Central Support Protection Grant. These are allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions.

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Public Records: Security Service Files

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Public Records' review of the criteria used by the Security Service in deciding whether to retain files on grounds of historical interest.[HL891]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In July last year my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced that, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, he had invited the Advisory Council on Public Records to review the criteria which the Security Service employs to select files for permanent preservation on grounds of historical interest. The Chairman of the Council, the Master of the Rolls, accepted the invitation and submitted the Council's report to him on 21 December 1998.

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The council's report concludes with the following recommendations:

    1. The following criteria should be added to those which currently guide the selection of files of historical interest: (i) Organisations and individuals on which security action was required but which were not of great significance nationally or internationally at the time when the action took place. Selection should be carried out to show the geographical, national and social range of individuals and organisations with which the Service had dealings. Full details of this criterion to be developed within the operational selection policy as follows: (ii) Events with which the Service had an active involvement but which were neither newsworthy at the time nor historically significant if considered in isolation. Selection should be carried out in order to reflect both developments in the Service's own activities and policies and the social, economic and political context within which the Service operated. Full details of this criterion to be developed within the operational selection policy. (iii) A sample taken from all files on individuals on whom, after initial investigation, no security action was taken and from the files on individuals not selected under other criteria. At a minimum this should be a sample of 1/100 of such files. The details of the sampling method should be considered as part of the development of an operational selection policy. The taking of a sample is dependent on the preservation of all means of reference. (iv) All policy and subject files, other than those of an ephemeral nature. (v) All registers and other means of reference to policy files and to files on subjects, organisations and individuals.

    2. The Security Service should work with the Public Record Office to develop an operational selection policy based on the criteria as amended, for completion in 2000-01.

Having consulted the Director General of the Security Service, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has decided to accept the council's recommendations in full. Additionally, and in response to an observation elsewhere in the report, officials of the Public Record Office with the necessary security clearance will, in future, be invited to examine files which have been earmarked for destruction following review by the Security Service. This will provide a useful measure of external scrutiny of the selection process.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is most grateful to the Advisory Council for undertaking this valuable review, and for its helpful and constructive recommendations. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

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Defence Attaches

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many days in 1998 the British Defence Attache to Finland and Estonia spent on duty in Helsinki and Tallinn respectively; and whether he is able to fill both appointments to the complete satisfaction of the United Kingdom, Finland and Estonia.[HL694]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The British Defence Attache to Finland and Estonia spent 61 days in Estonia in 1998, supplemented by a further 36 days spent in Estonia by his support staff. Other than 25 days in the UK on duty, he spent the remainder of the year in Helsinki. Her Majesty's Government is satisfied that the Defence Attache has satisfactorily fulfilled both appointments and made a significant contribution to developing our bilateral defence relationships with both Finland and Estonia.

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have decided against sending a Defence Attache to Estonia, whose sole duties will be connected with Estonia; and whether they will reconsider the decision; and[HL695]

    Whether they will appoint a Defence Attache to the British Embassies accredited to every European nation that has applied to join NATO.[HL696]

Lord Gilbert: We are currently reviewing the worldwide distribution of attaches in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. No decision has yet been taken. I shall write to the noble Earl when the review is complete.

Regular and Territorial Armies: Trained Strength

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the present strength compared to the establishment of the Regular Army and the Territorial Army.[HL666]

Lord Gilbert: The trained strength, compared to the establishment, of the Regular Army and the Territorial Army is as follows.

Trained strengthEstablishment
Regular Army*96,822102,825
Territorial Army54,03159,000

* Figures for the Regular Army exclude Gurkhas, the Royal Irish (Home Service), Mobilised Reservists and Full Time Reserve Service.

In addition there are 13,751 members of the Regular Army currently undergoing training.

3 Feb 1999 : Column WA215

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