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Criminal Justice Reports

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to publish draft legislation covering the recommendations of the (a) Halliday and (b) Auld reports and the results of the subsequent consultations. [40005]

Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: Responses to the public consultation exercise on John Halliday's report "Making Punishments Work" were published on 4 February 2002. Those to Lord Justice Auld's report on the Criminal Courts have been made available on the Criminal Courts Review website.

The Government are currently considering the recommendations of both reports in the light of those responses, with the intention of setting out its position in a White Paper later this year. Until the legislative programme for next Session has been finalised, it is not clear when there will be an appropriate opportunity to publish legislation in draft.

Miscarriages of Justice

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the departmental report on the aftercare treatment of victims of miscarriages of justice. [38360]

Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The report of the independent study has contributed useful material for further development of proposals but it does not stand alone, and was an internal document not designed for wider circulation.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the central unit for the advice for victims of miscarriages of justice. [38363]

Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The Home Office has established a working group that is considering how best to provide an advice and information service for wrongfully convicted prisoners. Proposals will come forward from the working group shortly but, as yet, no decisions have been taken.

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Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any persons believed to have fought in Taliban or Al-Qaeda forces are known to have returned to the UK; and if he will make a statement. [39713]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 4 March 2002]: No such persons are known to have returned to the United Kingdom to date.

Gun Licences

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many gun licences, and for which type of weapon, are held (a) in the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency, (b) in the Teesside area, (c) in each police force area and (d) in the UK. [38249]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Home Office collects numbers of firearm and shotgun certificates for each police force area in England and Wales. The numbers of certificates, and weapons held on those certificates, are given in the table.

Firearm certificates cover a range of weapons. From incomplete returns, about 73 per cent. of the weapons held under 'firearms' certificates are rifles, with the remainder including section one shotguns and those handguns that remain legal, such as muzzle loading handguns and humane killers.

Information relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Northern Ireland.

Certificates on issue at 31 December 2000, and weapons covered

Police force area Firearm certificatesFirearms covered by certificates Shotgun certificatesShotguns covered by certificates
Avon and Somerset4,81212,06421,23047,570
Devon and Cornwall8,17115,18134,29172,516
Greater Manchester2,0134,9929,06720,039
London, City of322283874
Metropolitan police5,39914,26528,13955,099
North Yorkshire5,43411,31018,76038,114
South Yorkshire1,5663,7058,19816,602
Thames Valley6,22916,79428,90265,095
West Mercia5,49713,36930,31165,654
West Midlands1,7034,6519,99821,043
West Yorkshire2,5836,18210,99323,009
North Wales2,326(3)4,01813,834(3)28,083
South Wales1,7804,2519,34819,390
All forces125,363296,849(4)602,5331,320,883

(3) Estimate

(4) Revised since earlier publication

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Immigration Act Detainees

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Immigration Act 1988 detainees are held in prisons in England and Wales. [38102]

Angela Eagle: The latest available information on the number of persons detained under Immigration Act 1988 powers relates to 29 December 2001. The number of detainees held in prisons in England and Wales is given in the table.

Immigration Act detainees as at 29 December 2001(5)

Place of detentionNumber
Dedicated Immigration Service wings(6)330
Other prison establishments(7)335

(5) Figures rounded to the nearest five.

(6) Persons detained at the dedicated Immigration Service wings at Haslar, Lindholme and Rochester

(7) Includes 270 persons detained under dual immigration and other powers.

The temporary use of spaces in a number of local prisons ended in mid-January 2002, as did the use of the accommodation at Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Rochester. In addition, the dedicated detention facilities at HMP Haslar and HMP Lindholme were redesignated formally as immigration removal centres on 8 February 2002, thus requiring them to operate under Detention Centre Rules rather than Prison Rules. These changes will be reflected in the quarterly asylum statistics which will be published on 31 May 2002 on the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at


Defence Evaluation and Research Agency

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the public-private partnership for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. [41452]

Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the announcement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence made in the House on 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 77–79 about our decision to implement the Core Competence model for the DERA public-private partnership. Under this approach, on 1 July 2001 around three-quarters of the former DERA organisation was vested with its assets as QinetiQ, a wholly Government

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owned company. For strategic reasons, the remainder was retained within Ministry of Defence as the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to carry out functions that could not appropriately be transferred to the private sector.

Since the vesting of QinetiQ as a company on 1 July 2001, work has concentrated on preparing the company for sale, options for which were through a flotation or strategic partnership. We have now completed a comprehensive review of the available options for the transaction route and timing in conjunction with specialist advisers and QinetiQ's senior management. Although flotation has always been our preferred route, as we have consistently stated, the priority is to achieve a successful move into the private sector with a transaction that clearly achieves best value for the taxpayer. We believe that a flotation under current market conditions would not realise this, yet delay could lead to a damaging loss of momentum. We have, therefore, decided that the strategic partner route offers the best potential for a transaction within 2002, offers value to the taxpayer and meets our objective of a successful public-private partnership.

A strategic partner would work closely with QinetiQ and contribute significantly to growing the overall value of its business, from which the taxpayer would benefit through MOD's initial retention of a significant financial interest in the company. MOD will also retain a special share as a means of protecting UK defence and security interests.

Confidential discussions with potential strategic partners will now begin, and it is expected that a preferred partner will be selected, and agreements signed, later this year.

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