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(9) Whole-time equivalent. Includes senior probation officers, senior practitioners, temporary and trainee officers.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what controls exist to regulate the maximum amount that can be charged by private individuals and companies in respect of fines applied (a) for vehicles clamped on private property and (b) for the daily holding of those vehicles. 
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Beverley Hughes: Subject to population pressures and any unforeseen changes in the composition of the general prison population, the long-term objective for Northallerton Remand Centre and Young Offender Institution is for it to hold short-term sentenced adult prisoners.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for reviewing the compatibility of the Official Secrets Acts with the Human Rights Act 1998; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Blunkett: Reviewing legislation in the light of Human Rights Act is a continuous process. In its judgment of 21 March 2002 in the case of R v Shayler, the House of Lords held that sections 1(1) and 4(1) and (3) of the Official Secret Act 1989 are compatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mr. Keith Bradley: Responses to the public consultation exercise on John Halliday's report, "Making Punishments Work", were published on 4 February 2002. The Government are currently considering the recommendations in the light of those responses; its position on the report will be included in a White Paper which will be published this year.
Beverley Hughes: Detailed statistics on court proceedings and sentencing for 2001 is not yet available. The annual command paper, "Criminal statistics, England and Wales 2001", will be published by December 2002.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government have to issue guidance to magistrates dealing with wildlife crime; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keith Bradley: The Government are currently looking at the scope for a new set of sentencing guidelines under the auspices of a statutory body. The aim would be to build up a set of guidelines that would eventually embrace all types of offending, including wildlife offences, which would be easily accessible and command the respect of the judiciary, practitioners and the wider public. They will also help the courts in achieving greater consistency in sentencing thereby increasing public confidence in the criminal justice system.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans the Government have to increase the maximum sentence for illegal dealing in wildlife; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Keith Bradley: There are currently no plans to increase the maximum sentence for illegal dealing in wildlife. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are, however, about to begin reviewing the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (COTES). This will consider whether the maximum penalties for wildlife trade offences remain appropriate.
Mr. Keith Bradley: The buying and selling of ivory and tiger products is an offence under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (COTES). The maximum penalty on summary conviction is a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (£5,000) and/or three months imprisonment. The maximum penalty on conviction on indictment is a fine and/or two years imprisonment.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information has been supplied by British security services to (a) the Indonesian Government, (b) the Australian Government, (c) the New Zealand Government and (d) the Portuguese Government concerning the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters. 
Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time has been between deaths and inquests in Cleveland in the last 12 months; what assessment he has made of the reasons for unusual delays; and what the average time was in the other coroners' areas in the north-east. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 April 2002]: I understand from figures supplied by the Teesside coroner that the average time between a reported death and an inquest in his district in 2001 was about 34 weeks. Calculated on the same basis, the national average is about 18 and a half weeks, with a similar average time interval in the north-east.
Many variable factors affect the timing of an inquest. The Teesside coroner attributes delays in his area to a lack of coroners' officers. Additional officers have recently been supplied by the Cleveland police.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the number of occasions police were dismissed from court duty on the day of a hearing in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what proposals he has to reduce this. 
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Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 15 March 2002]: Figures are not available. However, central guidance was issued to all criminal justice areas in 2001 asking that courts list cases with due consideration to police officers' availability. The police and Crown Prosecution Service are also working with others in the criminal justice system to ensure that cases are prepared, and witnesses appropriately called, to enable cases to proceed as smoothly as possible when they reach court.
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 17 April 2002]: Denial of guilt is not of itself a bar to the release of prisoners from custody. The assessment of the prisoner's current level of risk is the pre-eminent factor in determining whether he/she may be granted parole. Although denial makes it harder to conduct a risk assessment, it should still be possible to make one, taking into account, among other things, the prisoner's attitudes and behaviour during sentence. The Prison Service has to assume that the prisoner was rightly convicted. Prisoners who maintain their innocence are advised to contact the independent Criminal Cases Review Commission who are responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice.
Information on the reasons why a Parole Board recommendation has been rejected by the Secretary of State is not collated centrally and would incur disproportionate cost. Since 1998, the Secretary of State has not rejected any recommendation for release on parole licence.
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