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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): We have consistently recognised the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and the Russian Government's right and obligation to defend its citizens from terrorism. We have acknowledged and condemned the terrorist atrocities committed by some Chechen groups and their clear links to international terrorism. But we continue to emphasise that counter-terrorist operations in Chechnya, as elsewhere, must be in strict adherence to the rule of law and must respect human rights. We believe that the protection of human rights in Chechnya is an essential precursor to any political solution to the Chechen conflict.
Baroness Amos: British officials paid a fourth visit to Guantananmo Bay between 11 and 15 November. The purpose of the visit was to ask questions relevant to national security, to check on the welfare of the seven British detainees last seen in May and to establish the identity and nationality of two further detainees believed to have British nationality. As a result of these inquiries, one was identified as British. The other detainee did not have British nationality. The officials were from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Security Service.
The FCO official met the detainees individually, US officials were able to observe the interviews. The official saw no visible signs of mistreatment. Some detainees reported minor medical problems and the official subsequently raised a number of these with the camp authorities.
The official passed to the camp authorities some personal letters for some of the detainees and was able to give oral messages to others. We have passed on to the families oral messages which were received and have briefed them on details of the detainees' circumstances. For reasons of privacy these details are not disclosed in this Answer. Detainees continue to be able to send and receive letters through the camp
All the detainees continue to be housed in accommodation which includes individual sleeping, washing and toilet facilities. They continue to be able to practise their religion freely, to take exercise and to have access to reading material.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Inland Revenue will provide all the help they can to ensure that the beneficiaries of the Thalidomide Trust receive all the tax repayments due to them. The Paymaster General has asked the Inland Revenue to contact the Thalidomide Trust to discuss how best to assist them.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Government keep under review all appropriate measures to address the rise in the prison population, including the emergency powers that Parliament has provided.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) of the National Crime Squad is currently recruiting to fill eight vacant and two new posts. This will take its complement to 50 staff.
How many requests for computer traffic data have been made to internet service providers by police forces in England in each of the past five years; and[HL489]
What costs have been incurred by police forces in England for the obtaining of mobile phone traffic data from mobile phone companies in each of the past five years.[HL490]
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The information requested is not collected centrally. Agreements are in place between communication service providers (CSPs) and the law enforcement agencies that provide for cost recovery where a CSP is called upon to provide communications data. The agreements have been reached independently of the Government and take account of the fact that a requirement to provide communication data places operational and financial burdens on the CSP.
Agreements are in place between communication service providers (CPSs) and the law enforcement agencies that provide for cost recovery where a CSP is called upon to provide communications data. The agreements have been reached independently of the Government and take account of the fact that a requirement to provide communication data places operational and financial burdens on the CSP.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government are committed to investment in information technology for the police. Technology can play a significant role in reducing the burden of bureaucracy and in increasing efficiency.
The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) was established from 1 April 1998 as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) to provide a national capability for information technology and communications solutions to the police service. The PITO budget over the past five years is as follows:
|200203 (estimated outturn)||£156.5 million|
The PITO budget covers the running costs of the organisation, including the operation and necessary upgrading of the police national computer, and central investment in key national projects. Investment in these projects over the past five years including Airwave, the new digital police radio system (£94 million), NAFIS, the national automated fingerprint identification system (£88 million), applications supporting the national strategy for police information systems (NSPIS) (£82 million) and the development of the police-public interface (£6 million).
Police forces have received additional central funding (some £194 million to date) directly from the Home Office to enable them to prepare for the introduction of Airwavefor example by reconfiguring control rooms.
Forces are also able to use central funding provided through police and other grants to make local investments in information technology (IT) and have direct access to funding streams such as the Invest to Save Budget.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): There are a number of steps which must be taken before an entitlement card scheme could be implemented, should the Government decide to proceed with one after the current consultation exercise concludes. These include:
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