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HOME DEPARTMENT

Professor Mohammed Al-Masari

Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what decision he has reached upon the application for political asylum by Professor Mohammed Al-Masari. [26555]

Miss Widdecombe: Dr. Al-Masari has been given leave to remain for an initial period of four years. Dr. Al-Masari's asylum application has not been considered substantively.

Drink Driving

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he will take to ensure that the police ensure that identity in drink drive cases is substantiated by evidence other than the driver's licence alone. [26591]

Mr. Maclean: This is an operational matter for the police, but I understand that, when someone is charged with a drink drive offence, the usual procedure is to carry out checks on the vehicle records and the address given, in addition to verifying licence details.

Asylum Cases

Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what budgetary allocation (a) was made in 1994-95 and (b) has been set aside for 1996-97 for (i) the B3 division of the immigration and nationality department and (ii) the Home Office presenting officers' unit in B1 division; how many decisions were made by B3 division

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in each of the last two years; how many decisions are projected for 1996-97; how many (1) cases in total and (2) asylum cases were presented by Home Office presenting officers in each of the last two years; and how many cases in each category they are projected to present in 1996-97. [27175]

Mr. Kirkhope: The available information is contained in the tables:

Running costsAsylum division(2)B1 presenting officers' unit(2)
1994-95£13 million£2.8 million
1996-97Not finally settled(3)Not finally settled(3)

(2) Does not include accommodation costs and certain other overheads not allocated to the units concerned to manage directly.

(3) Final amount depends on the precise allocation of spend to save funds for 1996-97.


Asylum divisionDecisions
199421,000
199527,000
Projected 1996-9745,000

April 1994 to March 1995April 1995 to March (4)1996
Decisions on asylum applications23,97528,915
Total appeal determinations(5)26,22021,700
Of which; asylum appeals(6)3,3358,320

(4) Provisional figures.

(5) Separate figures for cases presented are not available.

(6) Includes asylum appeals referred back to the Secretary of State for further consideration.


Firearms

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what review of firearms legislation is presently being carried out by his Department; when it (a) began and (b) was announced; what are its terms of reference; what are the names and positions of those conducting the review; from whom submissions have been received to date; and from whom else submissions have been requested. [27122]

Mr. Maclean: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland announced on 21 March that they would conduct a joint review of firearms controls in Great Britain. The review began at that time and has now considered the arguments for and against the changes in the controls which have been suggested following the tragic events in Dunblane on 13 March.

In conducting their review, my right hon. and learned Friend and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland have taken account of submissions from opposition parties, comments from the Firearms consultative committee and over 2,000 letters from Members of Parliament and the public. Comments were invited from all interested parties who are, of course, free to submit their evidence directly to Lord Cullen's inquiry.

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Mr. Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the recommendations made by the Firearms Consultative Committee in its (a) first, (b) second, (c) third, (d) fourth, (e) fifth and (f) sixth report (i) have been implemented, (ii) dealt with matters

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of public safety, (iii) would require amendment of primary legislation and (iv) could be implemented by a change in administrative procedures. [27127]

Mr. Maclean: The information requested is set out in the table:

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Firearms consultative committee annual report

(a) 1st(b) 2nd(c) 3rd(d) 4th(e) 5th(f) 6th
Recommendations which have been implemented or which require no action18151261915
Recommendations which would require primary legislation19911717
Recommendations which could be implemented through a change in administrative procedures14261113

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In addition, a number of the recommendations of the Firearms Consultative Committee would require secondary legislation to implement them and are not included in the table above. Some of the recommendations included in the table have been formally rejected.

It is not possible to identify separately those recommendations which deal solely with matters of public safety but, in making recommendations, the committee always consider the likely impact on public safety.

Mr. Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at (a) directions and (b) terms of reference he has given to the Firearms Consultative Committee to review firearms legislation since 13 March; what submissions have been received and from whom; what other information has been sought and from whom; and if he will place a copy of (i) that information and (ii) the final report in the Library. [27123]

Mr. Maclean: The terms of reference of the Firearms Consultative Committee, as set out in section 22(5) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988. These have not been changed since 13 March. Within its terms of reference, the Firearms Consultative Committee may consider any issues arising from the tragic events of 13 March that it considers appropriate.

I understand that the Firearms Consultative Committee has received a number of submissions from members of the public and other interested parties. Publication of any material submitted to the committee is a matter for it.

The Firearms Consultative Committee is required by section 22(6) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 to make a report each year on its activities to the Secretary of State, who is required to lay copies of the report before Parliament. A copy of the report of the committee for this year will be placed in the Library in the usual way.

Holloway Prison

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 28 March, Official Report, column 1286 and his answer of 24 April, Official Report, column 163, on how many occasions in the last two years the Minister of State has visited Holloway prison. [27555]

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Miss Widdecombe: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member on 24 April, Official Report, column 163.

Durham Constabulary (Compensation)

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much compensation Durham constabulary paid out in each year since 1980; and for what reasons. [27380]

Mr. Maclean: This information is not held centrally.

Stray Dogs

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to transfer the responsibility for stray dogs from the police services to local authorities. [27302]

Mr. Maclean: Since April 1992, local authorities have had primary responsibility for dealing with stray dogs. The police have a duty under the Dogs Act 1906 to deal with stray dogs brought to police stations. The report of the review of police core and ancillary tasks, published on 27 June 1995, proposed that the police might shed this statutory duty so that local authorities would assume full responsibility for strays.

The proposal, with examples of other co-operative schemes involving police and local authorities, is being considered in consultation with police and local authority associations before any decision is reached.

Immigration

Mr. Bernie Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been prosecuted under the provisions of paragraph 325, sub-paragraph (II) (f) of the immigration rules within the last five years; what guidelines on sentencing policy for those found guilty under the said provisions have been issued to the courts; how many of those prosecuted were convicted; how many of those convicted were sent to prison; how many were fined; what was the most common prison sentence given; and what was the most common fine levied. [27247]

Mr. Maclean: Information collected centrally cannot identify the exact immigration sub-rule under which a prosecution under section 26 (1) (f) of the Immigration Act 1971--whereby it is an offence for a foreign national,

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subject to conditions imposed, to fail to register with the police--has been made. No guidelines have been issued by the Department on sentencing policy relating to the above legislation.

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The court proceedings data given in the table show the number of defendants prosecuted, in England and Wales only, for failing to register with the police, by result, from 1990 to 1994--latest available.

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Defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts for offences associated with failing to register with the police under section 26 (1)( f) of the Immigration Act 1971 by result 1990 to 1994
England and Wales

Offence(7) description/year Total proceeded against Total found guilty Total for sentence Total fined Average fine (£) Total immediate custodyAverage Custodial sentence length (months) Otherwise dealt with
Foreign national failing to register with police or to produce documents etc., 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 6 6 8 6 -- 5 4 4 1 -- 5 4 4 1 -- 1 4 2 -- -- 100 48 38 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 -- 2 1 --

(7) Principal immigration offence.


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