|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to increase the capacity for detaining asylum seekers; what is the (a) current and (b) planned capacity; what sites have been identified for new detention places; on what dates it is intended to open new detention facilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: We plan to increase the Immigration Detention estate from its current capacity of around 900 places to about 2,700 places. Work has already started to provide by next summer 900 places at the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) site near Bedford and 440 additional new places at Harmondsworth near Heathrow Airport. We are also finalising plans to deliver within the next six months up to a further 150 places at Dungavel Prison in Scotland. Our plans to provide 300 new detention places at Aldington, Kent, cannot be progressed as quickly because the public inquiry into the planning process has been adjourned pending the final outcome of litigation of another case before the courts in respect of a project at Alconbury.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if convictions for any of the offences created by (a) Schedule 2 and (b) Schedule 3 of the Hunting Bill would be disclosable on (i) the Criminal Conviction Certificate, (ii) the Criminal Record Certificate and (iii) the Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: All three levels of certificate to be issued by the Criminal Records Bureau will show convictions and, in the case of the two highest levels of certificate, cautions, reprimands and warnings recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC). With certain exceptions, imprisonable offences only are recorded on the PNC. Since the offences in the Hunting Bill are not imprisonable, convictions would not presently be entered. An Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate (ECRC) would also contain information from local police records which the police considered relevant to the purpose for which the certificate was being sought. The purposes for which an ECRC may be relevant are set out in detail in sections 115 and 116 of the Police Act 1997. In the main, they relate to posts which involve regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children and young persons, or of vulnerable adults; to certain licensing matters in connection with gaming and lotteries; and to judicial appointments.
15 Dec 2000 : Column: 306W
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what positions (a) in the judiciary, (b) in the police service and (c) elsewhere in the public service a person convicted of an offence created by (i) Schedule 2 and (ii) Schedule 3 of the Hunting Bill would be disqualified from holding either by statute or by policy because of such a conviction; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There is no specific reference in the Hunting Bill to these posts. A criminal conviction per se would not disqualify a member of the judiciary from continuing to hold his or her office, nor would it preclude an appointment to the judiciary. It would be for the Lord Chancellor to consider in the light of the particular circumstances what action, if any, it would be appropriate to take in the event of such a conviction.
It is for individual chief officers of police to consider the disciplinary action to be taken as the result of a police officer's criminal conviction on a case by case basis. The level of disciplinary action taken against an officer can range from a caution to a dismissal. Similarly, it is for individual chief officers to decide whether a particular conviction should be a bar to the recruitment of an applicant.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The proceeds of forfeiture orders made under the Hunting Bill will be treated as proceeds under existing forfeiture orders. The regulations governing this are the Police (Property) Regulations 1997. These require the proceeds of sales of forfeited property to be paid into the Police Property Act Fund. Money in the fund, including the interest on it, may be used to defray the costs of storage and handling such property, to pay reasonable compensation to persons by whom the property has been delivered, or for charitable purposes.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the implications of (a) Schedule 2 and (b) Schedule 3 of the Hunting Bill for delay in (i) the magistrates courts and (ii) the Crown courts; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the (a) cost and (b) time implications for the courts in England and Wales of each of the three options in the Hunting Bill; what additional resources his Department plans to allocate to the courts to reflect these implications in each case; what
15 Dec 2000 : Column: 307W
(4) what estimate he has made of the (a) cost and (b) officer time implications for each police force in England and Wales of each of the three options in the Hunting Bill; what additional resources his Department plans to allocate to police forces to reflect these implications in each case; what discussions he has had with police forces and the police representative organisations and what representations he has received; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have no reason to believe that those who engage in hunting are not law-abiding members of the community. There should not therefore be increased levels of crime as a consequence of any of the options.
My officials have consulted the Association of Chief Officers of Police (ACPO) about the Bill. ACPO does not believe that any of the options will place demands on resources that will be significantly greater than those that police forces already face in policing anti-hunt activities.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are to be applied to a mammal to define if it is wild for the purposes of the Hunting Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The criteria to be applied to a mammal to define if it is wild are the definition of "wild mammal" contained in each schedule to the Bill and the ordinary and natural meaning of the word 'wild' in accord with the usual rules of judicial interpretation.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of (a) dogs and (b) other animals that will be destroyed if (i) Schedule 2 and (ii) Schedule 3 of the Hunting Bill is enacted; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The options contained in Schedules 2 and 3 to the Hunting Bill have been put forward by the Middle Way Group and Deadline 2000 respectively and they are responsible for the content, and consequences, of those Schedules.
15 Dec 2000 : Column: 308W
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make available to the House the advice he has received on the compatibility of each of the options in the Hunting Bill with the Human Rights Act 1998. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is the Government's intention to seek to commit the Hunting Bill to a Special Standing Committee after the decision of the Committee of the whole House on which option to adopt. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|