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Police Resources: National Objectives

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We do not intend to ask Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to undertake such an evaluation and comparison of the use of police resources. Many different aspects of policing contribute to each of the objectives and this type of analysis would not be practical. Nonetheless, future HMIC best value inspections will examine the

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efficiency and effectiveness of providing each policing service. This will inevitably require police forces to cost their activities and provision of services under a variety of headings, including fraud.

Police Resources: Deployment

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Burlison on 29 April (WA 63), when they will request Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to evaluate and compare the resources (both financial and manpower) directed to the subjects on which chief officers of police in some constabularies hold committee positions on the Association of Chief Police Officers Ltd's specialist interest committees with the resources deployed by those chief officers of police who hold no direct staff involvement in those special interest committees.[HL2384]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has no plans to carry out such an evaluation and comparison of resources and we have no plans to ask it to do so. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary regularly inspects each force with regard to its efficiency and effectiveness which includes reviewing the use of both staffing and financial resources. The membership of the Association of Chief Police Officers committees are changed frequently so that no one force carries the responsibility for a particular committee for a long period of time.

Police Resources: Tackling Fraud

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Burlison on 29 April (WA 63): (a) why they have not added, and when they intended to add, "Fraud" to the Home Office National Police Objectives; and (b) what incentive is given to chief officers of police to direct manpower and financial resources to tackling fraud if it is not included in the Home Office National Police Objectives.[HL2381]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I have little to add to the reply given by the noble Lord, Lord Burlison, on 29 April, save to emphasise once again that tackling fraud is one of the many activities that the police are obliged to undertake. Ministerial priorities (previously known as Key National Objectives) require the police to focus their activity so that the crimes that most concern the public are given greater emphasis. This does not mean that other types of crime receive or should receive no attention and all advice to the police makes this clear. Ministerial priorities also encourage chief officers to make progress on local issues as identified by consultation with the community. For example, tackling fraud is an important local objective for the City of London Police.

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Combat 18: Definition of "Right-wing"

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which of the political aims of the group styled Combat 18 cause Ministers to describe it as Right-wing.[HL2445]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 10 May, Official Report, col. 124.

Licensing Hours: St. Patrick'sand St. George's Day

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why an extension of normal public house licensing hours is permitted on St. Patrick's day but not on St. George's day.[HL2389]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Licensing hours can be extended for any special occasion at the discretion of the local licensing court. It is for the court to decide in each case whether the circumstances justify special treatment. The Government are reviewing these arrangements as part of their general review of licensing laws.

Treaty of Amsterdam: Co-operative Initiatives

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 28 April (WA 38), whether they will list the articles in the Treaty on European Union which came into force on 1 May 1999 which permit, without unanimity or common accord, actions by police forces, including actions by joint teams, and the progressive adoption by judicial authorities of minimal rules relating to certain categories of criminal acts and penalties related thereto.[HL2378]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Article 34 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as amended by the Amsterdam Treaty, provides for all measures under Articles 30 to 32 of the TEU in the fields of police co-operation and judicial co-operation to be taken by unanimity, except for implementing measures relating to decisions or conventions which have themselves been established by unanimity. Provision for such implementing measures would need to be included in the parent instrument and would therefore be governed by unanimity. Authorisation for closer co-operation in the field of freedom, security and justice can also be agreed by a qualified majority of the member states under Article 40, subject to a procedure for referral to the European Council for a decision by unanimity where a member state declares that it opposes the closer co-operation for reasons of national policy. Measures resulting from closer co-operation apply only to those member states wishing to participate.

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In addition, Article 42 of the TEU provides for the transfer of matters dealt with in Articles 30 to 32 to Title IV of the EC Treaty, following a unanimous decision by the Council; that decision can make provision about the voting conditions relating to matters so transferred.

Human Rights Task Force

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

    Whether they will publish the results of their departmental audit of laws and practices that may be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998.[HL2385]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The noble Lord may be referring to a summary of information provided by departments on their initial preparations for implementation. It was prepared for a meeting of the Human Rights Task Force in March 1999 and included a preliminary identification of areas where there was a possibility that convention points could be raised, whether justifiably or not. I have placed the document and a record of the relevant task force discussion in the Library.

Human Rights Act 1998: Departmental Audit

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

    Whether their departmental audit has identified any laws or practices which should be changed before the Human Rights Act 1998 is brought fully into force; and, if so, what are those laws or practices.[HL2386]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Departments continue to review their legislation and procedures for compatibility with the convention rights. Individual departments are responsible for initiating any necessary action should convention points be identified. It is not possible at this stage to say what, if any, new legislation Parliament will be asked to consider.

Human Rights Act 1998: Implementation

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the main provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 will be brought into force.[HL2546]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We plan to bring the remaining provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 into force on Monday 2 October 2000. Some provisions principally those of Section 19 relating to statements by Ministers of the Crown about the compatibility of Bills with the convention rights, are already in force.

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Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Steering Group

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to publish the membership of the steering group which will oversee the implementation of the action plan to take forward the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.[HL2547]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Details of membership of the steering group are as follows:

Members representing official bodies:
The Right Honourable Jack Straw MP Home SecretaryDenis O'Connor Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police
Paul Boateng MP Minister of State Home OfficeTony Burden Chairman of Association of Chief Police Officers Race and Community Relations Committee
Sir Herman Ouseley Chairman Commission for Racial EqualityFred Broughton Chairman The Police Federation
Bob Purkiss Commission for Racial EqualityPeter Gammon Chairman The Police Superintendents' Association
Mark Addison Chief Executive Crown Prosecution ServiceRuth Henig Chair Association of Police Authorities
Dan Crompton Her Majesty's Inspector of ConstabularyRobyn Williams National Black Police Association
Charles Clarke Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for School Standards Department for Education and Employment
Independent Members of the Steering Group
Maqsood AhmadJudy Clements
Ros Howells OBEKeith Kerr
Anita ShardaUsha Sood
Beverley ThompsonGurbux Singh
Doreen LawrenceMark Blake
Neville Lawrence

Membership reflects the commitment given in the action plan that involvement and consultation of minority ethnic people as well as the police service and other relevant organisations will be one of the principles which will guide all the work to implement the plan.

The steering group is meeting for the first time today. The purpose of the meeting is to agree terms of reference, to consider what progress has been made so far in implementing the action plan and to identify areas for particular attention at future meetings. It is expected that the group will meet five or six times a year.

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