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Police and Fire Services (Pensions)

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the state's total liability at 2001 prices to pay the pensions of (a) police and (b) fire officers, assuming all existing contributors retire and that all pensioners die at the age projected by the pension scheme actuaries. [148007]

Mr. Charles Clarke: In 1998, when the appraisal was last undertaken, the Government Actuary's Department estimated that the total accrued liabilities for police and fire officer pensions were broadly £25 billion and £5 billion respectively.

Naturalisation Applications

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) at what level within his Department authority can be given for an application for naturalisation to be treated other than in date order of receipt (a) in respect of initial consideration and (b) during subsequent stages of the process; [149576]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 8 February 2001]: Decisions to start consideration of a case other than in date of receipt order can be taken at the normal caseworking level. Decisions to give case priority throughout its various stages have to be taken at Higher Executive Officer level or above.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of naturalisation decisions taken in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000 were made within (i) six months, (ii) nine months, (iii) 12 months, (iv)18 months and (v) more than 18 months of the date of receipt of the application. [150056]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 12 February 2001]: Applications for naturalisation concluded under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 in a specified time are shown in the table.

Naturalisation decisions

Total 6(1)6 monthsPercentage9 monthsPercentage12 monthsPercentage18 monthsPercentage
19976,1253315.475812.01,94631.84,59475.0
199822,9354862.17223.11,9358.449,96543.4
199921,6071,1125.11,3456.21,8198.424,33920.1
200025,1591,3715.41,8197.24,73318.815,23160.5

Notes:

1. Totals for each year are cumulative.

2. 1997 figures are for January to March and October to December only. Due to technical problems other months' figures are not available. The "Total" number also covers only these months.

3. For the same reason, 2000 figures are for January and May-December only. Again, the "Total" number covers only these months.


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Asylum Seekers

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set a target for the length of time the security services take to complete the security check on those applying for settlement in the UK. [150097]

Mrs. Roche: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate aims to deal with 70 per cent. of non-asylum applications within three weeks. Within that overall target, there are no specific targets for applications which may require security checks, and no plans at present to set such targets.

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning asylum seekers going without food because of problems with the administration of vouchers; and if he will make a statement. [150936]

Mrs. Roche: We have received a number of communications, by letter or telephone, concerning asylum seekers who have encountered difficulties in receiving their vouchers. The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) has set up a dedicated telephone inquiry service to enable asylum seekers in this position to register their position as quickly as possible. A special team within NASS ensures any difficulty is resolved as soon as possible.

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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the asylum application made on 1 April 1997 under Home Office reference M718960LTN/97/ 259/1L will be determined. [151432]

Mrs. Roche: The asylum application was refused on 22 August 1998 and the appeal was finally dismissed on 12 December 1998. The outstanding application on the basis of marriage will now be considered.

Post-mortems

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many post-mortem examinations took place in each year since 1995; and how many of these in each year were undertaken (a) because there was suspicion of criminal activity in the death, (b) because the doctor was unsure of the cause of death, (c) for research purposes and (d) for other specified purposes; [150124]

Mr. Boateng: Information about the reasons for coroner post-mortem examinations is not held centrally. Available information up to 1999, including data on non-coroner post-mortems held by the Office for National Statistics, is set out in the table.

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19951996199719981999
Deaths
Reported to a coroner where a post-mortem was held126,398126,184123,015124,356124,780
of these:
Where a coroner did not proceed to hold an inquest104,151104,321100,679101,165100,884
Subject to a post-mortem but no cause of death found413461582695738
Inquests
Resulting in verdict of unlawful killing(63)217169165142165
Resulting in open verdicts(63)2,2572,1512,3192,5712,497
Resulting in any other verdict(63)22,03021,69422,17123,04923,731
Post-mortems
Performed for clinical purposes(64)--(64)--3,6143,5273,474

(63) In a small number of cases, inquests will have been held without post-mortem examinations

(64) Data not available


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European Union Humanitarian Operations

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers the UK may be called upon to supply in order to provide civil assistance for European Union humanitarian operations under the terms of the treaty of Nice; and if he will make a statement. [150033]

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Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 12 February 2001]: In the event of the European Union carrying out a civilian policing operation, the United Kingdom would not be obliged to contribute any police officers, but would decide in the light of circumstances whether it was appropriate for the United Kingdom to contribute to the operation, and if so, in what numbers.

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Police Officers (Gloucestershire)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in Gloucestershire in each year from 1993 to 2000; and what the projected numbers are for the next three years. [150854]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Police numbers in Gloucestershire in each year from 1993 to September 2000 (the latest date at which figures are available) are given in the table.

YearNumber
March 19931,149
March 19941,159
March 19951,163
March 19961,133
March 19971,133
March 19981,104
March 19991,104
March 20001,114
September 20001,142

The Chief Constable has informed me that on present estimates the force's planned staffing levels are 1,187 officers from April 2001, 1,222 officers from April 2002 and 1,244 officers from April 2003.

Firearms

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has consulted, and what plans he has to consult, sporting shooting organisations in the United Kingdom before the UN Conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in July. [150696]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Arrangements for participation in the United Nations Conference are being taken forward by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. I understand that his Department has already had contacts with a wide range of organisations, including representatives of the shooting community.


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