Home Page

Column 1

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 November 1992

HOME DEPARTMENT

Miscarriages of Justice

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total amount paid in compensation to victims of miscarriages of justice for each of the last three years.

Mr. Jack : The amounts paid in the last three financial years are as follows :


          |£                  

------------------------------

1989-90   |285,000            

1990-91   |839,000            

1991-92   |1,719,000          

Female Prisoners

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sentenced female prisoners in England and Wales were given bail or weekend leave to visit dependent children during 1992 ; and what is the method of financing such visits.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The statistical information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The financial arrangements governing the grant of temporary release to those prisoners eligible under prison rule 6 are set out in circular instructions 36/89 and 43/92, copies of which are in the Library. There is no provision for assisting financially sentenced prisoners released by the courts on bail.

Prison Survey

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the recent prison survey of inmates in England and Wales.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The National Prison Survey 1991 was published by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys on 10 November 1992. A Home Office research report summarising the main findings was published simultaneously. Copies of these have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Joyriding

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are being taken to combat joyriding in Wales.

Mr. Jack : The powers of the courts in both England and Wales to deal with the most serious cases of unauthorised taking have been increased by the Aggravated Vehicle-Taking Act 1992.


Column 2

The most effective way to prevent joyriding via the unauthorised taking of cars is to improve their security. This is the objective of Car Crime Prevention Year and of the many activities associated with it.

A significant development in Wales has been the establishment by all four Welsh police forces of a vehicle watch scheme which operates throughout the Principality.

My right hon. and learned Friend also announced on 16 July our intention to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving to 10 years, when parliamentary time allows.

Juvenile Crime, Wales

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are being taken to tackle and reduce crimes committed by juveniles in Wales.

Mr. Jack : The Government have encouraged the police and other agencies in the development of effective crime prevention programmes aimed at tackling youth crime and has funded a number of initiatives. The Welsh Office have approved support of over £500,000 under the urban programme in the current financial year for crime prevention and associated initiatives in Wales. Bids for new projects to start in 1993-94 are presently under consideration. In addition, the Welsh Office has funded the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders over the last three financial years to work with local authorities in south east Wales to develop strategies to combat juvenile crime. As part of its programme of action on youth crime for 1993, Crime Concern is planning a series of regional seminars, including one in Wales, on best practice in diverting young people from crime.

The Government are also considering what means might be needed to reduce offending by the very small group of persistent juvenile offenders.

Sunday Trading

Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indemnify local authorities against the costs incurred in prosecuting those offending the Sunday trading laws.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. Local authorities receive a substantial contribution to their costs generally through the revenue support grant system. We have no plans to increase this contribution specifically for their enforcement duties under the Shops Act 1950.

Confessions

Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to amend the rules relating to the acceptability of uncorroborated confessions.

Mr. Jack : The use of uncorroborated confession evidence is within the remit of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice. We shall consider whether any changes may be needed in the light of the commission's findings.

Remand Prisoners

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce a system whereby prisoners held on remand in Wales and England should either have their case brought before the courts within 110


Column 3

days, or that they be released on bail, in all cases other than those in which there could be either a real danger to the safety of the public, or of the subversion of the course of justice.

Mr. Jack : Custody time limits have applied to the whole of England and Wales since October 1991.

They are :

Magistrates court<1> -56 days from first appearance

to summary trial;

-or 70 days to committal to

Crown Court.

Crown courts<1> -112 days from committal to

arraignment.

<1> Responsibility for the courts lies with the Lord Chancellor's Department.

If these limits are exceeded the defendant will normally be released on bail. However, courts are empowered to extend the time limits upon application where they are satisfied that there is a good and sufficient cause and the Crown has acted with all due expedition.

Prisoners (Conjugal Visits)

Mr. Dicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration his Department is giving to introducing conjugal visits for prisoners ; and what assessment he has made on the effect of such visits on the deterrent effect of imprisonment.


Column 4

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The feasibility and desirability of introducing private family visits will be considered in the light of the imminent review of the operation of the home leave scheme planned by the prison service.

Wolds Prison

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time equivalent prison custody officers are employed at Her Majesty's prison Wolds.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information requested is subject to commercial confidentiality and a matter for Group 4 Remand Services Ltd.

Police Accommodation

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many houses and flats in the ownership of the Metropolitan police in each of the London boroughs are currently vacant ; and how many have been vacant for more than three months, more than six months and more than one year.

Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 9 November 1992] : The information requested is set out in the following table :


Column 3


                        Vacant less thVacant more thVacant more thVacant more than    

                        3 months      3 months      6 months      12 months           

                       |Houses|Flats |Houses|Flats |Houses|Flats |Houses|Flats        

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Barnet                 |-     |1     |3     |1     |1     |-     |1     |-            

Bexley                 |-     |-     |1     |-     |-     |3     |-     |-            

Brent                  |1     |-     |1     |-     |2     |-     |2     |-            

Bromley                |-     |1     |-     |-     |-     |4     |-     |2            

Camden                 |-     |1     |-     |2     |-     |1     |-     |-            

Croydon                |1     |2     |1     |1     |-     |3     |-     |1            

Ealing                 |-     |1     |-     |2     |-     |-     |-     |-            

Enfield                |1     |2     |4     |-     |1     |-     |-     |-            

Greenwich              |-     |1     |-     |2     |-     |3     |-     |4            

Hammersmith and Fulham |-     |2     |-     |1     |-     |1     |-     |1            

Haringey               |-     |3     |1     |3     |-     |1     |1     |2            

Harrow                 |1     |-     |-     |-     |1     |-     |-     |-            

Havering               |3     |-     |4     |-     |6     |1     |2     |-            

Hillingdon             |1     |-     |-     |-     |-     |-     |-     |-            

Islington              |-     |5     |1     |3     |-     |-     |-     |-            

Kensington and Chelsea |-     |2     |-     |-     |-     |-     |-     |-            

Kingston               |-     |1     |-     |1     |1     |-     |-     |2            

Lambeth                |-     |-     |1     |-     |-     |-     |-     |2            

Lewisham               |-     |-     |1     |4     |-     |1     |-     |3            

Merton                 |-     |-     |-     |9     |-     |3     |1     |7            

Redbridge              |1     |-     |5     |-     |3     |3     |-     |-            

Richmond               |1     |3     |-     |1     |-     |-     |-     |1            

Sutton                 |1     |-     |-     |-     |1     |-     |-     |-            

Waltham Forest         |-     |-     |1     |1     |-     |1     |-     |-            

Wandsworth             |-     |3     |-     |1     |1     |2     |1     |2            

Westminster            |-     |2     |-     |3     |-     |2     |-     |1            

Outer London Districts |5     |-     |1     |-     |4     |-     |1     |-            

                       |---   |---   |---   |---   |---   |---   |---   |---          

Total                  |16    |30    |25    |35    |21    |29    |9     |28           

                       |---   |---   |---   |---   |---   |---   |---   |---          

On market              |8     |3     |14    |13    |13    |12    |8     |17           

For allocation         |8     |27    |11    |22    |8     |17    |2     |11           

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of residential


Column 4

properties in the ownership of the Metropolitan police in each of the London boroughs, showing separately the number of houses and flats.


Column 5

Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 9 November 1992] : The information requested is set out in the following table :


London Borough             |Houses        |Flats                        

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Barking                    |10            |20                           

Barnet                     |118           |33                           

Bexley                     |17            |6                            

Brent                      |52            |-                            

Bromley                    |71            |39                           

Camden                     |4             |47                           

Croydon                    |93            |16                           

Ealing                     |20            |113                          

Enfield                    |67            |17                           

Greenwich                  |33            |66                           

Hammersmith and Fulham     |5             |51                           

Haringey                   |20            |90                           

Harrow                     |53            |18                           

Havering                   |130           |-                            

Hillingdon                 |63            |8                            

Hounslow                   |10            |23                           

Islington                  |18            |93                           

Kensington and Chelsea     |-             |105                          

Kingston                   |30            |35                           

Lambeth                    |8             |32                           

Lewisham                   |30            |24                           

Merton                     |12            |68                           

Newham                     |1             |11                           

Redbridge                  |73            |-                            

Sutton                     |39            |45                           

Sutton                     |35            |16                           

Waltham Forest             |45            |64                           

Wandsworth                 |5             |53                           

Westminster                |-             |141                          

Outer London districts and                                              

  Windsor                  |215           |1                            

                           |-------       |-------                      

Total                      |1,277         |1,235                        

Yugoslavia

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements he has made to supply clear and concise information about correct procedures for nationals of former states of Yugoslavia wishing to apply for visas.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : I have been asked to reply.

The Home Secretary's announcement of the imposition of the visa regime was widely reported on the vernacular services of the BBC and in the medial of Yugoslavia and neighbouring countries. Our posts in the area have issued releases to the media indicating that inquirers may contact any British mission for information on how to apply for a visa for the United Kingdom.

Consultants

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the consultants currently working in his Department, the title of the project, its start and proposed finish date and, where available, its cost.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Information on consultants currently working in the Home Office is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The cost of individual consultancy contracts is a matter of commercial confidentiality which it would not be proper to disclose.


Column 6

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Queen's Counsel

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many QCs are currently women or from the ethnic minorities ; and what percentage this is of the total number of QCs.

Mr. John M. Taylor : On 1 October 1992, there were 760 Queen's Counsel in private practice, of whom 41--5.4 per cent.--were women. The ethnic origin of applicants for the office of Queen's Counsel was not recorded prior to the autumn of 1991, and the formal records in respect of ethnic origin are therefore incomplete.

It is, however, believed that on 1 October 1992 there were seven Queen's Counsel of non-white background--1 per cent.--of whom one was a woman.

Entry Clearance

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how long on average (a) fiance (e)s and (b) spouses now being heard by the adjudicator on appeal against refusal of entry clearance have had to wait ; and how long he expects those applying now have to wait.

Mr. John M. Taylor : It is estimated that at present an appeal against refusal of entry clearance to an adjudicator by (a) fiance (e)s and (b) spouses is on average heard within 16 months of its receipt by the immigration appellate authorities. This period includes the time taken by the parties to prepare for the hearing, which is typically nine months. Hearings can sometimes be brought forward if the appellant so requests and an earlier date becomes available. Steps are being taken to shorten the time taken, wherever possible, for a case to come before an adjudicator.

Child Witnesses

Dr. Godman : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in how many cases involving child witnesses heard in (a) the Crown courts and (b) the Central Criminal Court, London, evidence has been offered by way of a live closed-circuit television link in each of the past three years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The provision for the giving in evidence of a video-recording of an interview with a child witness in certain specified proceedings is contained in section 54 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. As this provision came into force only on 1 October 1992, no cases have yet been brought in which evidence has been given in this way.

Dr. Godman : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in how many cases involving child witnesses heard in (a) Crown courts and (b) the Central Criminal Court, London, video-taped evidence has been offered in each of the past three years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The answer to (a) is that in all Crown court centres, excluding the Central Criminal Court, the number of cases involving child witnesses in


Column 7

which the live television link was used by children to give evidence was : in 1990, 124 cases ; in 1991, 152 cases ; and in 1992, to date, 89 cases. The answer to (b) is that in the Central Criminal Court, the number of cases in which the live Television link was used was : in 1990, four cases ; in 1991, three cases ; and in 1992, to date, two cases.

Dr. Godman : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in how many cases in the past three years, involving child witnesses, heard in (a) the Crown courts and (b) the Central Criminal Court, London, screens have been used in order to shield a child from the accused person whilst the former is giving evidence against the latter ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The information sought by the hon. Member has not been collected, and could be obtained only at disproportionate expense.

Vulnerable Witnesses

Dr. Godman : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in how many Crown courts live closed-circuit television links and associated equipment have been installed for the use for the purpose of taking evidence from those deemed to be vulnerable witnesses ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 8

Mr. John M. Taylor : Installation of live television link equipment has taken place in 41 Crown court centres to date, for the purpose of children giving evidence under the provisions of section 32 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Consultants

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list all of the reports his Department has commissioned from external consultants in each of the last three years ; for each of the last three years, how many reports from external consultants to his Department led to further consultancy work being commissioned, stating for each of these who were the original and subsequent consultants and briefly describing the subject matter of the consultancy work ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mates : The available information has been placed in the Library.

Drugs

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantities of drugs have been seized by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in each of the last five years.

Mr. Mates : The requested information as follows :


Column 7


                  |Cannabis         |Cocaine          |Heroin           |LSD              |Amphetamines                       

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1987              |6 kilos          |98 gms           |196 gms          |500 doses        |630 gms                            

                                                                                                                              

1988              |12.75 kilos      |2.51 gms         |3.65 gms         |917 doses        |466.26 gms                         

                                                                                                                              

1989              |21.71 kilos      |52.4 gms         |25.35 gms        |485 doses        |658.60 gms                         

                                                      |1,052 MST tablets|17.80 gms                                            

                                                                                                                              

1990              |37.6 kilos       |-                |2,757 MST tablets|573 doses        |95.2 gms                           

                                                                                                                              

1991              |37.5 kilos       |88 gms           |250 doses        |" kilo Psilocin  |625 gms                            

                  |1.5 kilos herbal                   |Dipipanone       |800 doses        |25 tablets                         

                                                      |1 gm Morphine    |2,711 MDMA                                           

                                                                        |114 gms                                              

                                                                                                                              

1992<1>           |14.75 kilos      |77 gms           |9 gms            |9,018 doses      |4,668 gms                          

                                                      |51 MST tablets   |3,325 tablets                                        

                                                                        |MDMA                                                 

<1> Up to 31 October.                                                                                                         

MST=Morphine Sulphate.                                                                                                        

MDMA=Ecstasy.                                                                                                                 

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many officers are employed by the RUC anti-drugs team ; and what increase in the number is planned.

Mr. Mates : I am informed by the Chief Constable that the Royal Ulster Constabulary drugs squad has an establishment of 28 officers and is at full strength. There are presently no plans to increase the number of officers deployed to the squad but the resources allocated to it are reviewed regularly.

Nine of the officers presently deployed to the drugs squad are serving six- month secondments from their sub-divisions. This is part of an ongoing programme--which has involved the secondment of almost 100 officers to the drugs squad in the past five years--intended to enhance the level of drugs awareness and improve investigation techniques at sub-divisional level.


Column 8

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many successful convictions there have been in Northern Ireland for drug- related offences in each of the last five years.

Mr. Mates : The information is as follows :


        |Number       

----------------------

1987    |143          

1988    |131          

1989    |133          

1990    |113          

1991    |157          

<1>1992 |188          

        |--           

Total   |865          

<1> To 31 October.    


Column 9

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of those convicted for drugs-related offences in Northern Ireland in the last five years have also been convicted for membership of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Irish National Liberation Army or the Irish People's Liberation Organisation, and other paramilitary organisations.

Mr. Mates : This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Irish Language

Rev. Ian Paisley : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much Government expenditure has been directed at the promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 9 November 1992] : Government funding for projects which involve the promotion of Irish is provided from a variety of sources. The last complete financial year for which information on expenditure is available is 1991-92. In that year, Government expenditure totalled some £1,216,000. This figure does not include funding for the teaching of Irish in mainstream English-medium education or for an Irish-medium unit in an English-medium primary school.

The central community relations unit (CCRU) within the Department of Finance and Personnel provided funding of £523,000, including support for the Ultach Trust and for research into the origins of Irish placenames. This included a once only payment of £250,000 to the endowment fund maintained by the trust.

The Department of the Environment, through the Belfast action teams, expended some £46,410 on a wide variety of activities and schemes designed to promote the Irish language in the Greater Belfast area. The sum of £146,535 was paid under the Training and Employment Agency's action for community employment scheme to assist employment within six organisations promoting the Irish language.

The Department of Education for Northern Ireland contributed £405, 000 to the costs of an Irish-medium primary school.

The Northern Ireland Office incurred staffing and ancillary costs of £61,500 in providing educational and translation facilities for prisoners using the Irish language.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland awarded a total grant of £33, 600 for Irish language arts.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Research

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make it his policy to allocate extra funding to the dual support system for funding higher education research in science and technology.

Mr. Waldegrave : As I announced on 12 November, spending next year on basic and strategic research in science, engineering and the social sciences will total £1,170 million, an increase in real terms over 1992-93 provision. It is for the research councils to determine what proportion of the funding allocated to them is spent in the higher education institutions.

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make it his policy to review the dual


Column 10

support scheme for research funding mechanisms with reference to the maintenance of diversity and scope for enterprise in the research of the science base.

Mr. Waldegrave : Our policy on the dual support system was set out in the 1991 White Paper "Higher Education : A Framework for Expansion"-- copies are in the House Library. It announced new arrangements for dual support funding which came into effect on 1 August this year, and which were intended to clarify the respective funding responsibilities of the research councils and higher education institutions for research council funded projects within the dual support system.

We shall be considering the wider issues of how funding mechanisms contribute to the maintenance of diversity and scope for enterprise in the science base as part of our wider consultations on the science and technology White Paper which I plan to publish next year.

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make it his policy to insulate domestic research programmes of the research councils from uncontrollable fluctuations in the pound sterling value of international subscriptions through his Department meeting such variations outside an agreed budget level which is subject to occasional review.

Mr. Waldegrave : I have no plans to do so at present.

The question of the best way of handling international subscriptions has, however, featured in a number of the submissions put to me in connection with the forthcoming White Paper on science and technology. I shall be considering carefully this and other proposals for change that have been made.

Public Service Reform

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he is taking to discuss public service reform with other countries.

Mr. Waldegrave : Throughout Europe governments are faced daily by the competing requirements of spending taxpayers' money wisely and delivering the best possible public services. Here in Britain the Prime Minister launched the citizens charter initiative in July 1991 with the aim of improving the quality of our public services and I know that other countries are working to improve theirs.

As one of the activities arranged during our presidency of the European Community, my Department is co-operating in the organisation of a conference--"Service and the Citizen"--which will take place at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London on 3 and 4 December 1992. It is being organised, in consultation with the citizens charter unit in my Department, by Touchstone Exhibitions and Conferences Ltd. I will arrange for a copy of the conference programme to be placed in the Library of the House.

This will be the first time, to my knowledge, that a conference on public service reform--with such a comprehensive programme--has been organised anywhere in Europe. Already there has been an enthusiastic response from individuals and organisations who wish to participate. We also have an impressive line-up of speakers. I am looking forward to welcoming the participants to London in December for what I am sure will be an exciting and worthwhile event.


Column 11

Appointments

Mr. Paice : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many appointments to public bodies are currently held by women and members of ethnic minorities ; and what plans the Government have to increase this number by 1996.


Next Section

  Home Page