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Hospitality Industry: Smoking Policy

Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: Completely smoke-free places are the ideal and we support those businesses which have decided to take that route. We recognise, however, that this is not always going to be possible and we have therefore entered into the agreement with

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the hospitality industry for the public places charter, which provides for signage of an establishment's smoking policy in five categories as follows: 1. no smoking, 2. smoking allowed throughout, 3. ventilated premises—smoking allowed throughout, 4. ventilated premises with separate area, 5. separate areas.

This provides customers with information enabling them to choose between different establishments which offer reduced exposure to tobacco smoke.

Cannabis: Effect on Unborn Children

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What advice is being issued to women regarding the effect on unborn children of exposure to cannabis.[HL2315]

Baroness Andrews: A report prepared for the Department of Health by the National Addiction Centre, named Dangerousness of Drugs (September 2001), links the following dangers to cannabis: "Like tobacco, cannabis smoke is highly likely to be harmful to foetal development and should be avoided by pregnant women. Although there is a raft of studies suggesting that babies born to cannabis smoking mothers weigh less than the offspring of a control group and that children of cannabis smoking mothers may face developmental problems, the research thus far has been unable to untangle the effects of smoking and other factors from that of cannabis use per se".

Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.


Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide the number of British passports reported lost or stolen, respectively, in each of the last five years.[HL2324]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): The United Kingdom (UKPS) Passport Service records information on passports reported lost, stolen or unavailable. In collating these figures no distinction is made between these categories. The information UKPS has recorded for the past five years is shown below:

1998 31,497

1999 62,364

2000 114,624

2001 148,230

2002 166,358

UKPS is introducing a comprehensive system for recording and disseminating information on lost, stolen and recovered passports. This system is due to go live in December of this year. It will enable the timely and accurate collection and dissemination of information on lost, stolen and recovered passports in the United Kingdom and in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posts abroad. This information will improve our fraud prevention and

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detection capability and improve aspects of our customer service. The information held on this system will also be made available to the United Kingdom Immigration Service.

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps are taken by the Registrar General routinely to notify the Passport Agency of deaths; how many current British passports are in circulation; and how many have been returned to the authorities on the death of the holder in each of the past five years.[HL2325]

Lord Filkin: The United Kingdom Passport Service does not routinely receive notification of deaths from the Registrar General. The United Kingdom Passport Service has been seeking to establish arrangements to receive routine notification of deaths from government departments which hold such data. Discussions on this matter are on-going.

It is estimated that there are 47 million valid British passports, equivalent to 80 per cent of the population. Every passport contains a reminder that it should be returned for cancellation on the death of the holder. The United Kingdom Passport Service has not routinely collated figures relating to the number of passports returned for cancellation on the death of the holder. Figures for passports cancelled in such circumstances are not therefore available for each of the past five years. However, figures are available for the period October 2000 to November 2001 and for the 2002 calendar year. These figures are shown below:

October 2000–November 200133,786

Hull: Cautions and Convictions

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the year ending 30 April 2002, what percentage of crimes notified to the police service in the policing area of Hull resulted in either a caution or a conviction; and how that compares with the average percentage for the rest of the United Kingdom.[HL2259]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The requested information is not available centrally. For the year ending March 2002, for Humberside, and England and Wales, the percentage ratios between the number of crimes for which there were cautions and convictions, and the number of recorded crimes, were 14.3 per cent and 16.9 per cent respectively. Cautions and convictions represent only part of the overall number of recorded crimes brought to justice, which include offences taken into consideration by the court. Cautions and convictions in one year may be for offences recorded in earlier years.

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In Scotland in the calendar year 2001, there were 421,093 recorded crimes, and 41,665 offenders against whom charges were proved. As the former figure relates to offences, and the latter to offenders, they cannot be directly compared to each other. Owing to the different legal systems, they also cannot be compared to figures for England and Wales; for example, there are no figures directly equivalent to cautions in Scotland.

Caution and conviction figures for Northern Ireland for 2001 were not available.

National Firearms Licensing Management System

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 25 March (HL Deb, col. 646), whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the invitation to tender for the national firearms licensing management system and a copy of the timetable for responses, scrutiny and award of a contract to deliver that system.[HL2309]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I am arranging for the timetable of proposed actions to be placed in the Library together with details of the high level award

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criteria. The actual invitation to tender is commercially confidential and cannot be made available in this way at present.

Firearms Amnesty: Forensic Examination

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What mechanisms they have put in place to ensure that those firearms which are surrendered to the police during the current amnesty will be collected centrally within police forces to facilitate examination by the Forensic Science Service for intelligence-gathering purposes.[HL2318]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Arrangements have been made for the police to refer weapons that they believe may have been used in crime to the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in the normal way. Police forces have also been asked to provide the Home Office with detailed information about what is handed in. This will be shared with the FSS and the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). Weapons of most interest to the FSS and NCIS will also be transferred to a single, central location in each police force area.

The Association of Chief Police Officers does not believe, having regard to all of the above, that the cost and effort involved justifies the setting up of regional collection centres.

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