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The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The information requested is not held centrally. The public sector utilises a range of databases with varying degrees of national or local coverage, with different data sets and sources of updates.
As the noble Lord may be aware, the Government published a report by the Performance and Innovation Unit, Privacy and Data-Sharing: The Way Forward for Public Services in April 2002. The report sets out a strategy for improving the use of personal data in the public sector, while safeguarding the individual's privacy. The Government are consulting on, and taking forward the PIU recommendations. Copies of the report are available in the Library. I apologise to the noble Lord for the delay in issuing this reply.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Guidance on Ministers' accountability for events under a previous administration is set out in Volume 2 of the Directory of Civil Service Guidance, copies of which are in the Library of the House. The practice under successive administrations of not providing formal details of Cabinet meetings on a systematic basis is a matter of public record and is set out in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and the Guidance on its Interpretation.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The investigation by Sir John Stevens into the murder of Patrick Finucane and associated allegations was commissioned by the then Chief Constable of the RUC in 1999. The report Sir John produces as a result of that investigation will be submitted to the Chief Constable of the PSNI and questions regarding publication will be a matter for Sir John and the Chief Constable.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: One hundred and forty people in Northern Ireland have received death threats from paramilitary organisations. When a threat becomes known, individuals are informed and appropriate steps are taken in each particular case.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government have consistently stated that ceasefires, however they are defined are not enough. Indeed, the Prime Minister clarified that position by stating there can be no halfway house on the road to peace. We must see a complete move away from all paramilitary activity and its preparations including targeting and training along with the decommissioning of all illegal weapons.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: No prosecutions were brought as a result of electoral malpractice in Northern Ireland following the elections held on 7 June 2001. However, three arrests were made at the electionsone for personation and two for possession of false documents and these are being taken forward by the police. In addition, seven cases of electoral malpractice by candidates and two of maladministration by poll staff have been reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Provisional IRA is proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. The Colombian FARC is not proscribed, but the list of proscribed organisations is kept under review and decisions to proscribe or deproscribe are taken after careful consideration of all relevant aspects.
Whether they have taken into account the overall numerical strength of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in formulating their policy on the future of the Full-time Reserve; and[HL5139]
When they will publish plans for the future of the Full-time Reserve of the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and[HL5141]
Whether uncertainty regarding the future of the Full-time Reserve of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is having any detrimental effect on the morale of the Service.[HL5142]
The Policing Board has asked the PSNI in the context of the service's overall human resources strategy, to prepare detailed proposals, including the Full-time Reserve, to be considered by the board. The Government will want to hear the board's views, in conjunction with the Chief Constable's assessment, before final decisions are made and announced.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: I have been advised by the Acting Chief Constable that there are no current plans to close Saintfield station or to decrease the number of officers serving Downpatrick DCU which covers the Saintfield area. The Government remain committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure that the police service operates effectively, however, the future of policing in Saintfield is an operational matter and as such is the responsibility of the Chief Constable in consultation with the Policing Board.
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