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Constituency Data

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the Members who have requested statistical data, since 1 May 1997, on the effects of the Government's policies pertaining to their own constituency; what has been the average length of response to such parliamentary questions; what his policy is on length of response to parliamentary questions in general; what measures are taken to ensure political impartiality in such responses; and if he will make a statement. [58776]

The Prime Minister: The Government have consistently made it clear, in response to reports of the Public Administration Select Committee, and previous questions from Members of the House, that they are committed to providing prompt and accurate answers to PQs. This remains the position.

Details of Members who have requested information on the effect of Government policy on their respective constituencies can be obtained from the Library of the House.

Information on the response time to this sort of question is not kept centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

With regard to maintaining political impartiality in answers to PQs, the general principles which civil servants must follow are set out in the Civil Service Code, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

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Weston Park Agreement

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Northern Ireland political parties endorsed the Weston Park Agreement. [45969]

Mr. Browne: The Weston Park discussions did not result in immediate agreement between the Northern Ireland parties. Following intensive discussions there, the British and Irish Governments put a package of measures, covering all outstanding issues, to the parties on 1 August.

Organised Crime Task Force

Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the work of the Organised Crime Task Force during the last 12 months. [59800]

Jane Kennedy: The creation of the Northern Ireland Organised Crime Task Force is the manifestation of the Government's commitment to help make Northern Ireland a stable and peaceful society. A year on from the publication of the task force's first Threat Assessment and Strategy, we have seen some truly remarkable successes against organised criminals in Northern Ireland. Concerted law enforcement activity has clearly played a vital role in disrupting and fragmenting the illegal acts of the criminals.

I have today arranged for copies of the publication to be placed in the Library of both Houses.

Kinetic Energy Projectiles

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research has been undertaken on (a) the energy attenuation features for future kinetic energy projectiles in order to reduce the severity of head injuries, (b) post-ricochet injuries and energy of baton rounds and steps that could be taken to reduce risk to non-targeted personnel from ricochets and (c) the features of a kinetic energy based system that are intrinsic to its use as a deterrent, in order to provide the analysis tools for maintaining the required performance but at a reduced risk of life-threatening injury. [17761]

Mr. Ingram: I have been asked to reply as these issues relate to recommendations following an independent medical assessment of the safety of the L21A1 baton round undertaken by the Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC) to my request.

The assessment was completed prior to work on alternatives to the L21A1 being undertaken under the leadership of the Northern Ireland Office. This work seeks to address recommendations 69 and 70 of the Patten report. Phases 1 and 11 have been completed and publicly reported. This programme is currently assessing systems that offer potentially energy attenuating features and that will have different ricochet characteristics to L21A1. In support of this assessment the Government are undertaking a programme of trials and model development as well as recording information from L21A1 in service. These programmes therefore address energy attenuation features for kinetic energy projectiles and systems that will reduce risk from ricochet.

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In addition the Ministry of Defence has conducted a separate research programme into the characteristics of kinetic energy projectiles intrinsic to their use as a deterrent.

Provisional IRA Ceasefire

David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the present status of the provisional IRA ceasefire in relation to the theft of intelligence information from PSNI Special Branch at Castlereagh police station. [48766]

Dr. John Reid: In relation to the break in at Castlereagh, the criminal investigation is continuing and the Acting Chief Constable has advised me that the PSNI are actively pursuing lines of inquiry. It would be wrong for me to make any comment which anticipated the outcome of the investigation.

In relation to the status of the IRA's ceasefire, I do not believe that it is under threat.


Armed Forces Personnel

(Deaths on Military Premises)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members or employees of Her Majesty's armed forces have died by self-inflicted injuries in and around military premises in each of the past eight years, indicating (a) the date of death of each person, (b) their gender, age and ethnic origin, (c) the military premises on which the fatal incident occurred and (d) the location, date and verdict of the inquest. [56697]

Mr. Ingram: Between 1 January 1993 and 14 May 2002 there have been 156 suicides among serving members of the regular armed forces. To ensure that service personnel confidentiality is not compromised, it has been necessary to group the data by year, location and age group in the following tables. Of the 156 suicides only three were female. In respect of breakdown by ethnic origin, information is only available from May 1996—64 suicides were recorded as "White" and 10 were recorded as "Unspecified".

It is not possible to provide information on self inflicted deaths as the definitions used for these deaths are currently under review. They are being checked for consistency against those used in the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Information on suicides can however be provided for this period, as these are well defined.

Suicides in serving regular armed forces personnel by geographic location: 1 January 1993 to 14 May 2002

Year of deathGreat Britain (4)Northern IrelandGermany (BAOR) OtherGrand Total
1 January
Grand total11115237156

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Suicides in serving regular armed forces personnel by age group: 1 January 1993 to 14 May 2002

Age group
Year of deathUnder 3030–3940 and overGrand total
1 January
Grand total974811156


1. There were no reported suicides for 2002 as at the 14 May 2002.

2. Figures for suicides are subject to revision as further coroner's verdicts are reported to DASA.

3. Census Survey categories, based on the 1991 Census Survey categories. Records of ethnic category for service personnel was not recorded prior to May 1996.

4. Great Britain included UK Waters and North Atlantic.

Armed Forces

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many violent incidents involving (a) injury and (b) death of Her Majesty's forces personnel stationed or present at the Deepcut barracks have been (i) reported in the past eight years to the army medical services and (ii) sent on for treatment at a local hospital; and if he will make a statement. [56698]

Mr. Ingram: There have been four deaths at Deepcut resulting from gunshot wounds over the last eight years. It is not possible to provide details of the number of injuries as, due to differing reporting criteria for sickness and injuries in the past, these data are unreliable. This shortcoming is being addressed.

Since 1 January 1995, 28 personnel from 25 Training Support Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, Deepcut, have appeared before court-martial as a result of violent incidents. In addition, a further 41 soldiers have been dealt with summarily as a result of their involvement in such incidents since October 2000, the date from which central recording of summary dealing statistics began. It is not readily possible, however, to determine whether these incidents resulted in injury and/or death and, consequently, whether the Army medical services or local hospitals were involved in providing any treatment.

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