Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Crime: Rape

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: From data held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform court proceedings database, of the 787 defendants found guilty of rape at the Crown Court in 2005, 361, or 46 per cent, pleaded guilty and 426, or 54 per cent, were found guilty by a jury decision. Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scotland Office and that for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

Cyclists: Footpaths

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The number of cyclists prosecuted at magistrates’ court, for offences relating to riding on pavements in the Metropolitan Police force area, 1996 to 2005 can be found in the attached table. Information on the number of fixed penalty notices issued to cyclists riding on footpaths is not held within RDS OCJR (research and development statistics, Office for Criminal Justice Reform). Data for 2006 will be available in the autumn of 2007. Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scotland Office and that for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

18 Jan 2007 : Column WA177

18 Jan 2007 : Column WA178

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court for offences relating to pedal cycles—riding on footpath in the Metropolitan Police force area, 1996-05 1 2
StatuteOffence DescriptionProceeded against (Year)

Highway Act, 1835 Sec 72. Metropolitan Police Act 1839 Section 54(7) & Byelaws Offences under the Metropolitan Police Acts

Pedal cycles—riding on footpath











1 These data are on the principal offence basis.
2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete.

However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Cyprus: Green Line

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Cyprus Government checkpoints already exist at all crossing points on the green line. The Republic of Cyprus has EU rights and obligations in this matter, reflected in a regulation adopted at the time of accession, as well as national law. However, we recognise that the green line regulation is still very limited in scope and that there are a number of obstacles which hinder trade across the green line. We continue to encourage both sides to lift all restrictions to allow for unhindered exchanges of goods, which we believe is in the interests of all Cypriots and all EU member states, and would promote reunification of the island.


Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have had discussions with the Metropolitan Police Service in the light of the representations from Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur on the policing of demonstrations. We keep public order legislation under review and would always consider representations from the police service on changes. We would also consult the police service as a whole on any proposed changes to legislation.

It is already a criminal offence for a person to display or deface a national flag if such activity is likely to pose a real risk to public order or the activity constitutes incitement to racial or religious hatred. For example, under Sections 4A and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, a person may be guilty of an offence if they display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

In determining whether a person has committed such offences the court is required to respect a person's right to freedom of expression, while balancing that freedom with the need to maintain public order and protect the rights of people who may be offended by the activity.

In addition to the offences under Sections 4A and 5, the Public Order Act 1986 gives the police the power to impose conditions on, or to prohibit, processions and to impose conditions on assemblies. The types of conditions that may be imposed on an assembly are limited to those relating to its place, the numbers taking part and its duration. There are no restrictions on the type of conditions that may be placed on processions.

There are already powers in place to allow the police to require the removal of face coverings. Section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was inserted by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. It enables a police officer of inspector rank or above to authorise police officers within a given area for a period of up to 24 hours to require the removal of face coverings worn for the purpose of concealing identity and to seize any such items. Before authorising an area, an inspector must

18 Jan 2007 : Column WA179

reasonably believe that activities likely to involve the commission of offences will take place in that area and that it is expedient, in order to prevent or control the activities, to give an authorisation.

Diplomatic Passports

Lord Russell-Johnston asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The following British nationals are eligible for diplomatic passports:

members of Her Majesty's (HM) Diplomatic Service accredited as diplomatic staff at UK Missions overseas;members of other government departments and the British Council, accredited as diplomatic staff at UK missions overseas; andgovernors of overseas territories and the staff of such governors who are members of HM Diplomatic Service; and accompanying British dependants of any of the above who are resident at UK missions overseas.

Diplomatic status is granted in accordance with the requirements of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).

Disabled People: Care Services

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): A representation from Nicole Penn-Symons of the Disabled Living Foundation regarding transforming community equipment services was received by the department on 9 January 2007. A reply will be sent as soon as possible.

EU: Biodiversity

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

18 Jan 2007 : Column WA180

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Government are already working closely with the European Commission and other European Union member states to stimulate growth in environmental markets. This is being done through our input into initiatives such as the Environmental Technologies Action Plan, the High Level Group on Energy, Environment and Competitiveness and the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation.

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Biodiversity conservation within the European Community, including wetlands, has been promoted and supported in a number of ways. This has occurred most notably via the EC habitats and birds directives and by funding from the nature conservation strand of the LIFE III Regulation (LIFE Nature).

The “Maghreb” wetlands project is aimed at supporting wetland management and capacity building in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It was 65 per cent co-funded through a different strand of the LIFE Programme (LIFE Third Countries). This strand supported the building of environmental capacity in countries bordering the territory of the EU; that is, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries.

Future support for ENP countries will be provided through a dedicated European neighbourhood and partnership instrument (ENPI). Between 2007 and 2013, ENPI funding will approach €12 billion, including access to thematic programmes (€465 million from the development co-operation instrument), one of which focuses directly on environment issues. The European Commission is expected to present a strategy setting out priorities for the funding of environment-related issues once its content has been agreed.

LIFE Nature will become part of the new LIFE+ regulation. This has not yet been implemented and is currently subject to a conciliation procedure between the European Council and European Parliament.


Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

18 Jan 2007 : Column WA181

Lord Davies of Oldham: (a & b) There is no legislation that governs the form, shape or size of the union flag or the English flag (St George's cross). There are no rules about the permitted use of the union flag or English flag (cross of St George) on non-government buildings, provided the flag is flown on a single vertical flagstaff and neither the flag nor the flagstaff display any advertisement additional to the design of the flag as explained under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. Government departments are restricted to flying flags on 18 fixed days a year in compliance with rules issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Consideration should also be given to flag protocol, which considers it improper to fly the union flag upside down and requires that the flag should not be defaced by text or symbols and should be treated with respect.

(c & d) There is also no legislation that governs the form, shape or size of the Royal Arms of Scotland (here referred to as the Scottish royal lion flag) or the St Andrew's cross, but the design is firmly specified in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. The Royal Arms of Scotland can only be used by the Sovereign or her Great Lieutenants when acting in their official capacity. The Scottish flag (St Andrew's cross) may be flown by Scots and to represent Scotland on all occasions; however, under The Act of Lyon King of Arms Act 1672, cap. 47 individuals may not deface the flag by placing a symbol on top of the flag or use it in such a way that suggests it is his/her personal property.

(e) There is no specific legislation about the Welsh flag design or rules about permitted use.

(f) The union flag is the only official flag that represents Northern Ireland. The Flags (NI) Order 2000 empowered the Secretary of State to make the Flags Regulations (NI) 2000, which governs when and where the union flag can be flown from government buildings in Northern Ireland on specified days. The legislation does not define the form, shape or design of the union flag. Flag flying from non-governmental buildings is unregulated.

For all flags, consideration should also be given to flag protocol, which requires flags to be treated with respect, not to be defaced by text or symbols or flown upside down.

Guantanamo Bay

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government's position on the closure of Guantanamo Bay is clear. As my right honourable

18 Jan 2007 : Column WA182

friend the Prime Minister has said, Guantanamo Bay should be closed. The US Government are fully aware of our position.

We welcome President Bush's public statements expressing a wish to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as soon as practicable and the US Government’s efforts to reduce numbers at the camp. However, we recognise that this is a complicated task and that there are issues, including trials of detainees under the recent Military Commissions Act, which still need to be resolved. Careful consideration needs to be given to how numbers at the camp are reduced to ensure international security is maintained and the human rights of detainees respected—including if they are to be transferred back to their countries of nationality.

Health: Prescriptions

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Work previously undertaken by the prescription pricing division of the National Health Service Business Service Authority has shown that quantities prescribed already match that of an available pack size in the majority of cases. For example, sample statistics show that drugs available in a pack size of 28 are prescribed in multiples of 28 nearly 78 per cent of the time. Further, it is unlikely that standard packs sizes would always represent the best or most clinically appropriate quantity for every patient. We are therefore not convinced that further encouragement for prescribers to prescribe in line with patient pack sizes will significantly increase the dispensing of patient packs.

However, we are fully supportive of increasing the use of patient packs and new services provided as part of the new community pharmacy contractual framework—such as repeat dispensing and medicines use review—are giving community pharmacists and general practitioners new opportunities to work together. These two services may give rise to the opportunity to consider the optimum quantities in which medicines should be prescribed for an individual patient, taking into account, amongst other things, the ability to dispense using a patient pack.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page