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6 Nov 2002 : Column 331W—continued

Nationality Instructions

Ms Christine Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will place copies of the instructions to Immigration and Nationality Directorate staff dealing with applications for British citizenship in the Library. [80354]

Beverley Hughes: The Nationality Instructions contain guidance to staff on the handling of applications for British nationality and related matters. A version of these Instructions has now been added to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's website and hard copies are being placed in the Library. The Instructions are being made available in accordance with the principles of openness in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. A small amount of material cannot be disclosed, either on the grounds of national security or because disclosure would impede the effective administration of the legislation. The material is subject to periodic review and revision.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations he has received concerning children under 18 holding BNOCO BDTC passport; and if he will make a statement. [78873]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.


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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what measures the Government have taken to reduce the number of women being stalked; [78821]

Hilary Benn: The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 provides the legal framework for the prevention of offending, and punishment of those pursuing a course of conduct which is alarming or distressing to another, or in the worst cases causes another to fear violence. The Government are committed to reducing this type of crime, as with all violent crime, particularly when it is perpetrated against vulnerable individuals.

Following the 1997 legislation we commissioned the guide ''Stalking and other forms of harassment: An investigator's guide'', written by Hamish Brown from the Metropolitan Police. This provides advice in the main for police officers about how to use various pieces of legislation to deal with those causing harassment but it also contains advice for victims.

We have also conducted a number of research studies into various types of behaviour related to harassment. Research suggests that a substantial proportional of harassment is carried out by ex-partners. Domestic violence is a key priority across government. A cross-departmental Ministerial Group is currently looking at five areas for action: increasing safe accommodation choices for women and children; developing early and effective healthcare intervention; Improving the link between criminal and civil law; ensuring a consistent and appropriate response from the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS); and promoting education and awareness raising.

Data Protection

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance he has issued to public authorities about the procedures for the collection of communications data under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 with regard to industrial action; and if he will make a statement. [77240]

Mr. Blunkett: The access to communications data provisions in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) have not yet been implemented. I will be bringing forward new proposals in relation to any additional public authorities under Chapter II of Part I of RIPA following detailed public consultation. However, the RIPA does not provide for access to communications data for purposes relating to industrial action. A strict test of ''necessity'' must be met before any communications data is obtained under RIPA. An authorising officer must not only consider the communications data to be necessary but must also consider the conduct involved in obtaining the communications data to be ''proportionate'' to what it seeks to achieve. The grounds on which it is necessary, for example, include: in the interests of national security; for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder.

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Fire Safety

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he expects to receive the conclusions and recommendations of the review that he has commissioned into fire safety precautions and the use of sprinklers in young offender institutions, adult prisons and detention centres. [45746]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 28 March 2002]: The report is in its final stages of preparation and I would expect to receive it soon.

Criminal Record Checks

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to suspend the checking of applicants from voluntary organisations by the Criminal Records Bureau; and what alternative arrangements he will put in place. [76016]

Hilary Benn: There are no plans to suspend checks of applicants from voluntary organisations. Due to current operational difficulties being experienced by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), it has been necessary to announce proposals to postpone mandatory checks under certain regulations arising from the Care Standards Act 2000. These would apply to voluntary organisations and to any other bodies which are subject to there regulations. The Government remain committed to introducing mandatory checks in these areas at the earliest possible opportunity. For the time being, even without the CRB check, the regulations and national minimum standards will help to improve standards and protect service users.

Fire Service Cover

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what preparations he has made to ensure the safety and continuity of service to the public in the event of a firefighters' strike. [77666]

Mr. Blunkett: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Local Government and the Regions on 28 October 2002, Official Report, column 527W.

Security Operation (Barrow-in-Furness)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how many (a) police officers and (b) anti-terrorist officers were involved in the security operation at Barrow-in-Furness for the docking of the Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal vessels in September, and if he will make a statement. [77771]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

Security for the transportation of nuclear material is regulated by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), the security regulator. It is not Government policy to disclose details of security measures taken in connection with nuclear material.

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David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assistance her Department has given to expanding access to clean and affordable water for the people of Ghana; and if she will make a statement. [77698]

Clare Short: The Government of Ghana decided some years ago to invite tenders from the private sector to improve the delivery of publicly owned water services in Accra. This policy was agreed by the previous government and supported by the government elected in December 2000.

Ghana has faced a barrage of misleading campaigning suggesting that this is a privatisation—which it is not and that the poor will suffer. In fact the urban poor currently receive no water services and pay very high prices for water they purchase by the bucket.

My Department has provided #10 million to support this reform which was put in place by Ghana's democratic elected government and will improve water services for the poor.

HIV Vaccine

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the contribution the UK can make towards the development of a vaccine against HIV for use in the developing world. [77699]

Ms Keeble: The UK is making a significant contribution to work on developing AIDS vaccines. For example, the Medical Research Council in partnership with Oxford and Nairobi Universities are making very good progress on vaccines designed specifically for use in Africa. These trials are due to take place in the next few years. My Department has contributed #14 million to this work over the last 5 years.


Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Malawi. [77700]

Clare Short: A recent assessment concluded that 2.2 million people will be in need of food assistance between September and December 2002, and that this will rise to 3¼ million—or one third of the population in early 2003.

My Department is playing a leading role in a partnership with the Government of Malawi, and other donors to try to cope with the crisis. DFID has so far provided #30 million emergency assistance to Malawi.

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