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Crime Statistics (Midlothian)

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the figures are for crime against the person in the Midlothian constituency in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; what percentage of this figure was related to mobile phone crime; and what the Government are doing to (a) help reduce crime and (b) improve community safety in the Midlothian constituency. [27181]

Mr. Denham: This detailed information on Midlothian is a matter for the Scottish Executive. But Scotland should benefit from work undertaken in England and Wales in researching the problem of mobile phone theft, and in working with the industry. Although other measures are important, more needs to be done by the industry to enhance the security of their product, and we are pressing them to do more to prevent their customers from becoming the victims of crime.

We have succeeded in gaining the commitment of United Kingdom phone operators to some early measures to test ways of putting stolen phones out of action. In particular, we are exploring with the police and the operators a Dutch initiative which disables stolen phones by "bombing" them with teletext messages every few minutes. The operators have also agreed to improve security as investment takes place in new systems, and we are seeking similar commitments from manufacturers.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the use of animal experimentation and animal welfare in universities. [28846]

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Angela Eagle: Some 40 per cent. of regulated scientific procedures using live animals in Great Britain are conducted in universities and medical schools. They form part of a wide range of programmes of fundamental and applied medical research.

All such procedures in the United Kingdom are regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Act provides for a three-tier licensing system covering the establishments concerned, the research programmes undertaken, and the individuals carrying out the work.

Under the Act the procedures can be licensed for only a limited number of permitted purposes, and then only if there is no alternative to the use of animals. Moreover, use of animals will not be permitted unless the benefits of the proposed research are deemed to outweigh the welfare costs to the animals. The number of animals then used, and the suffering they are caused, must be minimised. This reflects the application of the "three Rs" in relation to animal experimentation; replacing the use of animals with alternative methods, reducing the number of animals needed for a particular purpose and refining the procedures to minimise suffering.

The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate assesses all licence applications and monitors compliance with licence authorities to ensure appropriate standards of animal welfare. Required minimum standards for the housing and care of the animals are set out in detail in published codes of practice.

Hertfordshire Police Force

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were serving in the Hertsmere Division of the Hertfordshire Police Force on (a) 1 July 2001, (b) 1 October 2001 and (c) 1 January 2002. [25990]

Mr. Denham: The information in the table has been provided by the chief constable of Hertfordshire constabulary. On 1 October 2001 Hertsmere division joined with two other divisions to become part of the 'Central Area'. To provide a proper comparison, the table shows the total officers on 1 July 2001 deployed on the three divisions which now make up the Central Area; and totals for the Central Area on 1 October 2001 and 1 January 2002.

DatePolice officers
1 July 2001420
1 October 2001419
1 January 2002417

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how (1) many officers were recruited by the Hertfordshire constabulary in each year since 1983; [25246]

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

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YearOfficers recruitedTotal officer leaving
1982–83(31) 62(34)

(31) Source:

Hertfordshire constabulary records 1982–990 Hertfordshire constabulary records are kept by financial year (April to March). The force does not have wastage figures for before 1984–85.

(32) 1990 only represents nine months from April to December 1990 due to changes in Home Office collection and collation arrangements (April-June from Hertfordshire constabulary records, July-December from Home Office records.

(33) Source:

Home Office Statistics 1990–2001. Home Office data was kept by calendar year until 1995 when this was changed to financial year. The data for 1995–96 therefore represents 15 months from January 1995 to March 1996.

(34) Not available

Driving Offences

Ann Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drivers were successfully prosecuted in 2001 for a driving offence; and how many of these offences involved the use of a hand-held mobile phone. [28352]

Mr. Denham: Statistics on prosecutions for motoring offences in 2001 will be published in the autumn.

There is no separate offence of driving a vehicle using a hand-held mobile telephone, and any prosecution is likely to be for driving without due care and attention or for not being in proper control of a vehicle.

Foreign Armed Forces

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department further to his answer of 2 November 2001, Official Report, column 862W, on foreign armed forces, what protections under international instruments are available for individuals (a) serving under the command of and (b) associated with the armed forces of the former Government of Afghanistan. [29251]

Peter Hain: I have been asked to reply.

Categories of persons who are prisoners of war (POWs), or who are to be treated as POWs, are set out in Geneva Convention III and, where applicable, Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. The legal status of a detainee has to be determined by reference to these

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provisions in each individual case. Those detainees who do not enjoy prisoner of war status must in any event be treated humanely.

Protection of Children

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average prison term is for a person convicted of child abuse. [26608]

Beverley Hughes: 'Child Abuse' is not a specific offence but actions of this nature can be prosecuted under a number of offences. Recorded crime statistics show the categories of offence with the largest numbers of offences specifically against children are: cruelty or neglect to a child (2,558 offences in 2000–01) and gross indecency with a child (1,336 offences in 2000–01).

In the year 2000, 616 prisoners were received for the offence of gross indecency with a child. They had been given, on average, a sentence of 27.5 months. In the same year, 124 prisoners were received for the offence of cruelty to a child. They had been given, on average, a sentence of 16.4 months.

Other offenders imprisoned for actions against children would have been included in offence categories that do not separately identify children, eg rape, incest, homicide, etc. It is not possible to identify the sentence lengths given for these cases from central records, although all those convicted of murder would have received a mandatory life sentence.

Under the broad review of sentencing that began in July, the Government are looking at tougher determinate sentences for sex offenders that will ensure they stay in prison, up to the full term if necessary, so long as they continue to present a risk of harm to our communities and that they are subject to strict and extended supervision on release. The Government are also looking at a requirement that where a life sentence is an option judges should not shy away from using it if the professional evidence shows that there is a clear risk that the offender will commit further sex offences.

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