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Police Force (Diabetes)

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) for what reason the police force is not permitted to recruit diabetics; and what guidance has been issued on the transfer of a diagnosed diabetic from one constabulary to another; [41093]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 7 March 2002]: The Home Office issues no guidance to police forces on the subject of medical standards for officers transferring from one force to another.

Home Office guidance for forces on the recruitment of diabetics is currently under review by independent medical experts as part of the Home Office's National Recruitment Standards project. This work aims to ensure

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that occupational medical standards for police recruitment are evidence-based, job-related and not unfairly discriminatory. The new standards are expected to be applied consistently by the 43 forces of England and Wales.

The medical review will also take into account the implications of the proposed extension of the employment-related provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to the police.

Recommendations on proposed new medical standards should be available for consultation shortly.

In the meantime, there are current Home Office medical guidelines on the recruitment of new entrants to the police service. These were formulated after consultations between occupational physicians and force medical advisers, and agreed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Working Group on Organisational Health, Safety and Welfare.

The Working Group further confirmed that the standards should not only reflect "fitness to serve" at the time of assessment, but should also predict, as far as possible, that the individual is likely to remain fit for the full duties of a police constable for the foreseeable future. This is in order to minimise premature retirement on health grounds.

The guidelines on diabetes state that candidates with diabetes mellitus should be rejected.

I responded to the hon. Member's letter of 17 December to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary (Mr. Blunkett) on 6 March 2002.

Working Holidaymaker Scheme

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons have been for individuals in the working holidaymaker scheme remaining in the UK after the two-year period had lapsed. [70797]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 July 2002]: Working holidaymakers can stay in the United Kingdom beyond their initial two-year leave of entry if they obtain leave to remain in another category, for example, as a student.

Working holidaymakers are not normally permitted to remain in the United Kingdom for the purposes of employment, although some are permitted to switch into work permit employment on a case-by-case discretionary basis. A short extension of stay may be granted on an exceptional basis to a working holidaymaker employed as a supply teacher, until the end of the school term. Those working holidaymakers who have not been specifically permitted to stay longer should leave the United Kingdom at the end of the two-year period.

The Working Holidaymaker Scheme

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people participating in the working holidaymaker scheme are based in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [70795]

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Beverley Hughes: [Holding answer 19 July 2002]: The information is not collected. Under the scheme young Commonwealth citizens come to the United Kingdom (UK) for an extended two-year holiday, during which they can take incidental employment to fund their stay here. They are free to move around the UK as they wish. Around 40,000 come to the UK each year on the scheme but, given its nature, it is not feasible or necessary to collect information on where participants base themselves at any one particular time during their stay.

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people participating in the working holidaymaker scheme in each of the last five years have continued to stay in the UK after the two year period has been completed. [70796]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 July 2002]: This information is not available. Unless working holidaymakers have been granted an extension of stay, they should leave the country at the end of their two-year working holiday.


Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make an assessment of the availability of empty housing stock owned by (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations, (c) public sector bodies and (d) the private sector in areas of industrial decline and its suitability to accommodate asylum seekers; and if he will make a statement. [68805]

Beverley Hughes: The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) is responsible for administering the support available to asylum seekers including the provision of accommodation. Research to identify cluster areas suitable for the dispersal of asylum seekers was conducted centrally by NASS in consultation with regional consortia. NASS is satisfied that it has a sufficient supply of accommodation for single adults but is currently negotiating for further accommodation for families.

Careless Driving

Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drivers convicted of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs (a) served the whole of their sentence and (b) had their sentence reduced, in each of the past 10 years. [70972]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to my hon. Friend.

EU Committees

(Scottish Executive Representation)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when the EU Committee for the Implementation of the Programme of Exchanges, Training and Co-operation between Law Enforcement Authorities (OISIN) is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if he will make a statement; [70925]

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Beverley Hughes: The committees which assist the European Commission in managing the Oisin II, Falcone, Hippocrates and Grotius funding programmes will meet on 23 July to discuss the bids which have been received for the year 2002 and agree the allocation of funds to successful projects. The STOP Committee will meet on 24 July for the same purpose. The Daphne Committee will next meet on 11 September 2002. The Odysseus funding programme has expired.

The committees consist of a representative of each member state who may be accompanied by additional experts at the expense of the individual member state. The United Kingdom (UK) is represented on each committee by a Home Office official and an official from the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union (EU) in Brussels. A representative from Her Majesty's Customs and Excise also attends the OISIN Committee as appropriate.

In accordance with the Concordat on co-ordination of European Union policy issues, officials from the Home Office are in contact with Scottish Executive officials about the development and implementation of relevant funding programmes. Attendance by Scottish Executive officials at meetings of the committees would be agreed bilaterally, but has not so far taken place. Immigration and asylum matters are reserved subjects and

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consequently officials from the Scottish Executive were not members of, and did not attend, the Odysseus Committee.

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