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Written Answers

Monday, 12 June 2006.

Anti-social Behaviour Orders

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

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The findings of the evaluation of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) will be published shortly. The Home Office's comprehensive guidance on ASBOs, issued jointly with the Youth Justice Board and the Association of Chief Police Officers, is being updated and will be published shortly.

It has been produced following consultation with expert practitioners and key organisations. Practitioners can also access information provided by the TOGETHER campaign in the form of a website, an extensive range of leaflets and a telephone action line offering advice on all aspects of anti-social behaviour.

The legislation allows for the terms of an ASBO to be varied or for the order itself to be discharged if circumstances warrant it. It is worth noting that every order is made by a court of law sitting in public and that the court has considered both that the statutory conditions for making the order were fulfilled and that the prohibitions were necessary for the protection of victims, witnesses and the wider community. None the less, we monitor ASBOs and their use on an ongoing basis and adjust policy in response.

We will continue to build on that and extend existing ASBO legislation as appropriate; for example, we recently announced that we would seek to put on a statutory footing the existing good practice, as set out in our comprehensive guidance, that juveniles' ASBOs should be reviewed after one year.

Army: Bowman Radio System

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Bowman radio system will be received only by units who require it for overseas operations or training purposes.

On current plans, regular Army units due to receive Bowman will be fully equipped by the end of 2007 and equipment and training upgrades will continue until late 2008. It is planned that Territorial Army units due to receive Bowman will be fully equipped during 2008 and their conversion training will continue to late 2009.

Army: Royal Irish Regiment

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): In addition to the normal Armed Forces occupational redundancy and resettlement package, full-time members of the Royal Irish Regiment home service battalions will receive a tax-free, flat-rate ex gratia payment of £28,000.

British Citizenship

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Yes, based on current understanding of Nepalese citizenship law. However,
 
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because the person still holds a Nepalese passport, we would normally require written confirmation from the Nepalese authorities that he was not, in fact, a Nepalese citizen before formally acknowledging the claim to British overseas citizenship.

Compensation: Miscarriages of Justice

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): On 24 April the then Home Secretary made a Written Ministerial Statement, which was laid in the House, setting out changes to the schemes for compensating miscarriages of justice. Some of the changes had immediate effect; others would require legislation. The main purposes of these changes, which continue to meet our international obligations, are to bring about a better balance with the compensation paid to victims of crime, to make the system simpler and fairer, and to ensure that applications are settled much more quickly than in the past.

Iraq: British Casualties

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): Information on fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan is published and updated regularly on the Ministry of Defence website at www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/defencenews.

Iraq: Veterans

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): I can reassure the noble Lord that no such warning was given. The
 
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Ministry of Defence press office returned a call from the lawyer to discuss in principle whether her client, who had been injured in Iraq, could appear on a television programme.

The press office advised that there were two issues of which the lawyer should be aware: first, the policy that all serving service personnel must seek approval from their chain of command before engaging with the media and, secondly, our policy that service personnel undergoing medical treatment must receive consent from their doctor in advance because, in certain circumstances, there could be adverse consequences for their recovery, for example by reliving traumatic experiences in an interview.

The explanation of this policy, which is designed to protect patients from media intrusion where it could impact adversely on their recovery, appears to have been completely misconstrued by the lawyer as a threat that there would be consequences for her client's treatment if he spoke to the media.

These facts were explained in full and in advance to the journalist responsible for the "Dispatches" documentary but did not find their way into either the programme or the pre-publicity newspaper reports that preceded it.


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