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The Earl of Arran: My Lords, I make clear straightaway that there is no threat of direct rule. I repeat that co-operation is the best way forward. There are suspicions of money laundering and drug trafficking and it is true that the Gibraltarian Government have fallen behind in implementing some EC directives. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State is exhorting them to implement the directives as soon as possible.
Baroness Hooper: My Lords, will my noble friend say whether the Spanish Government have given any reason for the recent worsening of the position on the frontier with Gibraltar? Are we to deduce that it is as a result of the newly appointed governor of Andalucia or in anticipation of next weeks's talks?
The Earl of Arran: My Lords, the United Kingdom Government sign up to directives as quickly as possible. They have the right and bounden duty to make certain that the Gibraltarian Government also sign up to directives as quickly as possible. I do not believe that the reason is connected with the newly elected governor of Andalucia. The Spanish Government say that it is due to the smuggling of tobacco and drug trafficking in the area.
The Earl of Arran: My Lords, I can tell my noble friend that we are considering all possible options. That will be one of the probable areas of action that is being considered by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): My Lords, the arrangements for the discretionary release of sentenced prisoners and for the discharge of restricted patients are designed to ensure that all members of the public remain properly protected.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, the Minister knows of my interest in this matter as chairman of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for Personal Safety. The case in which I am interested and which has prompted my Question is that involving the man convicted of attacking the second daughter of the Lamplugh family. Noble Lords will recall that it was publicised widely at the time. He came from France with all sorts of weapons, determined to make a sacrifice of the first woman he met. It so happened that it was the second daughter of the Lamplugh family.
The family are very concerned as to what degree of supervision is being undertaken at present. Out of courtesy the police have notified the family that just two years after the attack, which is little more than 18 months after the conviction, he has been released into community care and is no longer in secure accommodation. Of course, that is a terrifying thought for the girl who faced the ordeal and for the family, which has now suffered twice. The family asked the
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I am sure that the House would wish to put on record its thanks for the work of my noble friend in relation to the trust and also the way in which we admire the incredible fortitude of Diana Lamplugh, the mother of the two girls, and the bravery of the second daughter who withstood that awful attack.
I understand that three psychiatrists were involved in saying that the man was suitable and fit for release, but it was a conditional release. Again, my understanding is that the conditions of the release were that he should reside at an address approved by his supervisors; that he should be under the supervision of a consultant psychiatrist and a social worker; that he must keep regular appointments at the outpatients department of a psychiatrist's clinic; and he is also subject to weekly home visits by a social worker and a community psychiatric nurse. Of course, he also remains subject to recall should my right honourable friend the Home Secretary consider it appropriate.
Lord Gainford: My Lords, will my noble friend tell us whether there is any scheme, or whether it is possible to introduce such a scheme, to deal with the situation when a prisoner who was considered to be dangerous is released so that the victims or their families might be alerted to be on their guard, in particular in cases where the victim has given evidence which has resulted in that prisoner's conviction, as revenge might be very much in his mind?
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, my noble friend makes an important and sensitive point. It is true to say that not enough has been done in the past for victims and, in particular, victims who find themselves in those circumstances. But the House will know, because I have said it on a number of occasions from the Dispatch Box, that much is improving in that regard. The national standards that have now been issued put an obligation on the key people--the police and certainly probation officers--to be as sensitive as possible and to give information about and warning of the release of prisoners.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, we all share the admiration that has been expressed for the family involved in the particular case to which the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner, referred. However, the Question is framed extremely widely and does not refer only to prisoners released on licence or on home leave but refers also to those released at the end of their sentences. Could the Minister be rather less opaque than she was in her first Answer and clarify the position, not in relation to the notice which is
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I can give the noble Lord an absolute assurance that specific information will be given to victims when there is a release as a result of completing a sentence, the release of somebody who is subject to a mandatory life sentence and is subject to recall for the rest of his life and also in relation to the release of discretionary life sentence prisoners. It is now part of the system and national standards that victims should be given as much information as possible.
Lord Carr of Hadley: My Lords, does the Minister agree that there is a growing concern in the country about the potential danger of psychiatric offenders who are now often at liberty whereas in the old institutional days they were not? I do not have in mind any particular case, but I hope that my noble friend will take into account that there is a growing anxiety about such offenders.
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I am happy to register that point and the sensitivity of it. It is true that within the Home Office we are doing what we can to tighten and make more rigorous the arrangements for the release of offenders in those circumstances. I know also that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health is doing much in her sphere of influence.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, the Minister said that the offender to whom I referred would be subject to recall. How is any assessment made as to whether or not he should be recalled when the Home Office and the police are no longer involved?
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, only a few days ago I answered a Question about the recall of a prisoner who started to display the kind of behaviour which gave cause for concern and which precipitated his recall. That is precisely what would happen here. If information is received, whether from the psychiatrist, the social worker or the police, that the behaviour of the offender is giving cause for concern, then the recall procedures would be re-activated.
The Motion incorporates several amendments to Standing Orders, all of which are consequent upon recommendations made in the second and fourth reports from the Procedure Committee last Session. As the House has already agreed to those reports, I shall not explain the changes in detail unless any noble Lord wishes me to do so.
I should mention that if the House agrees to the Motion, it is proposed that the Standing Orders should be reprinted in their amended form. At the same time, new editions of the Companion to the Standing Orders and a brief guide to the procedure and practice of the House of Lords will be produced. I beg to move.
"(5A) Any motion relating to a report from the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee on a draft order laid under section 1 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 shall be entered before a motion to approve that draft order."
"() in the case of a draft order proposed to be made under section 1 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994, there has been laid before the House the report thereon of the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee;".--(The Chairman of Committees.)
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