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Special Constables

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Information regarding the number of unsuccessful applicants to the Special Constabulary is not collected centrally.

The Police Health and Safety Act of 1997 which came into effect on 1 July 1998 brought police officers within the scope of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Police forces must therefore take the necessary measures to safeguard the health and safety of all their officers, whether regulars of specials.

As special constables carry out broadly the same range of duties as the regulars; they need to demonstrate the same skills and be trained and equipped to the same standard as regular officers. This has inevitably meant that recruitment standards for

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specials have risen. They are now very similar to those for regular officers. And this has resulted in a number of applicants who might formerly have been accepted into the Special Constabulary being rejected. Per-session Cookies

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What purpose is served in requiring that, in order to gain access to the United Kingdom online website, "per-session cookies" have to be allowed by the user's browser.[HL913]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): uses cookies so that each user can choose to receive different information according to their needs or interest. Without cookies, everyone would get exactly the same information. So if you lived in Scotland, for example, and were searching for information about how to register a birth, without cookies you could only receive generic UK-wide information, rather than information which has been specially tailored to reflect the different legal situation north of the Border. The use of per-session cookies is therefore vital to enable to meet its aim of providing every UK citizen with easy access to information and services which are relevant to them. In any case, these cookies are only temporary and are erased automatically once the user has finished their session on the site.

Warrior Armoured Vehicle

Lord Preston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the use of the Warrior armoured vehicle.[HL1121]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My honourable friend the Minister for the Armed Forces announced in another place on 30 November 2000 (Official Report, cols. 726-27W) that a number of precautionary operating restrictions had been put in place on the use of the Warrior armoured vehicle following the failure of the drive shaft system in some vehicles. A technical solution to the problem has now been developed and the fitting of modified parts commenced on 5 March 2001. The operating restrictions are being lifted from individual vehicles as they receive the modified drive shafts. The programme to convert all Warrior vehicles is expected to be completed by July 2001.

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Armed Services: Public Events

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for major future public events related to defence.[HL1127]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In 1999 the then Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Robertson, announced a series of events, now under the umbrella title Defence 2000, which would follow the ending of the Royal Tournament. The spirit of the tournament would be taken forward with an event in London and a military festival held annually outside the capital at different military locations. The Royal Military Tattoo 2000 held on Horse Guards Parade last summer was a major undertaking for the armed services. It was the Ministry of Defence's principal contribution to the Millennium celebrations and was an outstanding success. London will continue to be well served with military pageantry, not least in terms of state occasions, the annual Beating the Retreat and Queen's Birthday Parade. We intend to identify possible future occasions where an event on the scale of RMT 2000 would be both appropriate and practicable.

In 2001 the Royal Navy will host the first regional event in Portsmouth. It will build on the very successful International Festival of the Sea format, held previously in Bristol in 1996 and Portsmouth in 1998. This year's International Festival of the Sea will feature significant contributions from all three services under the title Defence 2001. These regional events will allow our armed services to display their latest equipment, as well as providing a glimpse into the future. There will be no regional event in 2002 because of the involvement of the armed services in the celebrations for The Queen's Golden Jubilee, in particular the Royal visit to the armed services at Portsmouth and the Thanksgiving Service at St Paul's Cathedral. The Royal Air Force will host the regional event in 2003 and the Army in 2004.

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Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Wild Deer

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contingency plans they have made if wild deer become infected with foot-and-mouth virus.[HL988]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Our current assessment is that the risk of wild deer playing any significant part in the spread of disease is very low. We therefore have no plans at this stage to control wild deer populations.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Farmed Deer

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contingency plans they have if farmed deer become infected with foot-and-mouth virus.[HL989]

Baroness Hayman: If farmed deer become infected with foot and mouth disease, they will be slaughtered and disposed of in the same way as any other species of farmed livestock.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Survey of Badger Carcasses

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the survey of badger carcasses for bovine tuberculosis announced in a Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food press release on 7 November 2000 will be concluded; and when the results will be published.[HL1038]

Baroness Hayman: The survey of badger carcasses announced by the Government on 7 November will run until further notice. However, collection of badger carcasses by the State Veterinary Service has been temporarily suspended as a result of the foot-and-mouth outbreak. Results will be published periodically after analysis by the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB.

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