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Drug Use (Prisoners)


Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Deparment what (1) the rate of testing for cannabis use among prisoners has been in each of the past five years. [45076]

Beverley Hughes: The most reliable indicator of drug misuse in prisons is data from the random mandatory drug testing (MDT) programme. National figures are given in the table.

Percentage of positive tests from random MDT

Opiates (including heroin)4.3%4.5%4.3%4.7%4.7%
Cocaine (including crack)0.2%0.3%0.2%0.2%0.2%
All drugs20.8%18.3%14.2%12.4%11.4%

1 Figures are based on the year to date—to 31 January 2002.

No central record is kept of the amount of alcohol use in prisons. However, the best available indicator is the number of punishments handed down to prisoners for knowingly consuming alcohol. Between 1997 and 2000 these were:

Alcohol-related Crime

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police forces in England and Wales keep records of alcohol-related crime. [44001]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 21 March 2002]: The term alcohol-related crime potentially covers any criminal act where the perpetrator may have been drinking alcohol prior to, or at the time of, the offence. While the relevant offence may be recorded, there is at present no requirement on police forces to record whether or not the offender had been drinking. Many forces do, however make their own assessment of alcohol-related crime problems, to inform their operational policing decisions.

The suite of Best Value Performance Indicators for the police for 2002–03 include both a measure of violent offences committed in connection with licensed premises and a measure of violent offences under the influence of an intoxicating substance. This will provide a consistent measure of alcohol-related violence across all police forces in England and Wales.

Special Urgency Provisions

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2002, Official Report, column 1100W, if he will list the occasions on which his Department has applied the special urgency provisions of circular 18/84 (Development by Government Departments), stating (a) the date, (b) the nature of the development and (c) a description of local consultations conducted. [45560]

Angela Eagle: Crown land is exempt from statutory planning control. Under the provisions of Circular 18/84 Government Departments instead must consult with local planning authorities before proceeding with Crown developments. In the event of an objection to the proposed development the matter may be referred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (Stephen Byers), who may arrange for a non-statutory public local inquiry to be held. A decision will then be issued to all interested parties.

Paragraph 22 of the Circular permits Departments to seek responses from local planning authorities within just 14 days, instead of the normal eight weeks. Unlike the normal procedure there is no obligation on the local planning authority to seek third party views. If no

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response is received after 14 days the Department can proceed with the development by the service of notice on the authority.

The special urgency provisions of circular 18/84 have been applied in the following cases:

The special urgency provisions have also been used for 120-place blocks at the following prisons:

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The special urgency provisions were also used for 40-place living units at the following prisons:

In the period since the answer of 13 March 2002 special urgency provisions were applied in respect of 40-place rapid modular units at the following prisons:

Finally, special urgency provisions were applied in March 2002 in respect of a 40-place ready-to-use unit at the following prison:

In the case of all prison developments an application letter and drawings were sent to the local planning authority and subsequent consultations were undertaken on an informal basis.

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