Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

17 May 2000 : Column WA19

Written Answers

Wednesday, 17th May 2000.

Zimbabwe: Arms Exports

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the Government's policy on arms sales to Zimbabwe.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government's policy on export licence applications for Zimbabwe was set out in a statement made by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary in another place on 3 May 2000 (Official Report, cols. 149-62).

As my right honourable friend informed the House, the Government decided last week, in the light of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, to refuse from 3 May all applications for new licences for Zimbabwe for goods and technology listed in Part III, Schedule 1, of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, as amended (commonly known as the Military List). This included all new licence applications for spare parts in connection with previous contracts. We also began a review of all extant export licences for Zimbabwe.

In line with the statement of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister of 9 February 2000 (Official Report, cols. 184-5W) government will not grant export licences for dual-use equipment where there is a clear risk that the equipment would be used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other applications for standard individual export licences to export dual-use equipment to Zimbabwe will be considered on a case-by-case basis against the national criteria and those in the EU Code of Conduct.

We have now completed the review of extant licences foreshadowed in my statement of 3 May. The Government place considerable importance on UK companies being able to honour their contractual obligations. They do not, therefore, revoke existing licences except in exceptional circumstances. Zimbabwe has now regrettably placed itself in that category. We have, therefore, decided to revoke all extant standard individual export licences for goods and technology on the Military List (with the possible exception of one extant licence for de-mining equipment already in Zimbabwe) and to remove Zimbabwe as a permitted destination from all open individual export licences for goods and technology on the Military List.

In addition, Zimbabwe is a permitted destination on four open general export licences (OGELs) and two open general transhipment licences (OGTLs) which allow the export of goods and technology on the Military List. Zimbabwe will now be removed from the coverage of these licences. Amended copies of these licences will be placed in the Library of the House.

17 May 2000 : Column WA20

We will remove Zimbabwe as a permitted destination from the coverage of extant open individual export licences for dual-use equipment. Exporters affected by this measure may, however, submit applications for standard individual export licences for this equipment. Such applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis against the criteria as described above.

We will also be prohibiting transhipment of goods on the Military List to Zimbabwe via the United Kingdom without a licence by means of an amendment to Schedule 3 of the EG(C)O.

The effect of this is that we now have a national arms embargo on Zimbabwe. We will be requesting the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to take the necessary measures to implement the same embargo.

The Government will continue to monitor events in Zimbabwe closely.

Young People Held in Adult Prisons

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 12 April (WA 49), what are the "particular circumstances" (other than distance from court) making it appropriate for young men to be temporarily held in adult prisons.[HL2338]

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 12 April (WA 49), how many 17 year-olds on remand share facilities with adults in prison.[HL2339]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Other than for reasons of distance from court, it might be appropriate temporarily to hold young men outside the under-18 estate for reasons of security or medical requirements. There might also be occasions where an establishment outside the under-18 estate could offer specialist facilities to meet an individual regime need. All such cases would be considered on an individual basis between the prison establishment and the young person's youth offending team.

On 5 May 2000, there were 60 unsentenced young men aged 17 in prison establishments that also hold adult males and 17 unsentenced young women aged 17 in prison establishments that also hold adult females.

Young Women Serving Sentences

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton of 12 April (WA 49), what is their estimate for the period of time it will take for young women aged (a) 15 to 16 and (b) 17 to be placed in non-Prison Service accommodation.[HL2340]

17 May 2000 : Column WA21

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Much will depend on the demand for secure places. The Government are strengthening the community-based options available to the courts where the seriousness of the offence or the need to protect the public does not warrant the use of custody. The Youth Justice Board will place as many sentenced girls aged 15 to 17 as it can in non-Prison Service accommodation over the next year. It considers the process may take two years to complete.

Incitement to Religious Hatred

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 12 April (WA 50), what is the justification for banning the advocacy of religious hatred in Northern Ireland but not in Great Britain.[HL2341]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: As I explained in my reply to Baroness Whitaker on 12 April (WA 49-50), the issues surrounding the definition of "racial hatred" and its application to particular groups are difficult and complex. But this difficulty and complexity are a reflection of the ethnic and religious diversity of Britain generally.

It is the Government's view that the particular circumstances in Northern Ireland, with its terrible history of sectarian hostility and violence, require particular measures which it may not be suitable to apply to the United Kingdom. That is why there is legislation dealing with the issue which is specific to Northern Ireland, namely the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987. Under this it is an offence to incite hatred against a group of persons defined by "religious belief".

I should emphasise, however, that we are continuing to keep the issue of incitement to religious hatred under review.

Detention in Metropolitan Police Cells

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many persons have been detained for longer than 24 hours in police and court cells in the Metropolitan Police area in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many of them were Immigration Act detainees held for reasons other than early deportation.[HL2348]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In response to the first part of the noble Lord's question I refer him to the written reply given by my noble friend Lord Bach on 2 May (Official Report, WA 152-53).

Regrettably, information on the number of Immigration Act detainees detained in Metropolitan Police cells during the last three years is available only at disproportionate cost through the examination of

17 May 2000 : Column WA22

individual case records. It would not be possible from the records that are available to identify those detainees who were held for reasons other than early deportation.

Police Recruitment: Crime Fighting Fund

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to accelerate police recruitment under the Crime Fighting Fund. [HL2497]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: On 9 February my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced in another place (House of Commons, Official Report, cols. 172-174W) that all 43 forces in England and Wales had successfully bid for a share of the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) to recruit 5,000 police officers over and above the number they had otherwise planned to recruit over the next three years commencing April 2000. These were to be phased on the basis of 1,000 recruits this year (2000-01), 2,000 in 2001-02 and 2,000 in 2002-03. He also gave details of the number of police officers each force had been allocated.

Since then, and as a result of the funding decisions outlined by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary was able to announce in another place (House of Commons, Official Report, cols. 1-3W) that part of the £91 million provided in the Budget for modernising the police service in England and Wales would be used to accelerate the CFF with a view to delivering the 5,000 recruits within the first two years of the scheme.

My right honourable friend has consulted the police service and police authority representatives and he is now pleased to announce that forces will be able to recruit up to a maximum of 3,000 new recruits in year 1 of the scheme (2000-01), rather than 1,000 as announced in February, and the remaining 2,000 in year 2 (2001-02). Tripling the number which can be recruited during the current financial year will cost about £24 millon above and beyond the £35 million which has already been provided for the current allocation. Further decisions on funding for the police service for 2001-04 will be announced as part of the Spending Review 2000 in the summer.

The table shows the revised distribution of officers allocated to each force under the accelerated scheme.

Home Office officials have today written to each chief constable and each police authority to explain the funding arrangements under the scheme. I have placed a copy of the letter in the Library.

The funding for each force will be determined once each force has provided a profile of their planned recruitment during the first year. This will help ensure that funding can be maintained for forces to recruit up to the maximum in year 1. Forces are also being given the opportunity, by prior agreement, to revise their CFF allocations if they are experiencing difficulty in

17 May 2000 : Column WA23

recruitment by deferring part of their allocation to year 2 and, for those who are able to, to accelerate some of their year 2 allocation into year 1. No force will be able to exceed its overall total CFF allocation and any increase may be limited by the total CFF budget for year 1.

Revised Share of 5,000 Recruits

ForcesYear 1Year 2Total
Avon & Somerset6734101
City of London808
Devon & Cornwall7761138
Greater Manchester186192378
North Wales342862
North Yorkshire20525
South Wales59968
South Yorkshire6734101
Thames Valley11189200
West Mercia*503989
West Midlands173137310
West Yorkshire10724131

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page