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State of the Construction Industry

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Ferrers: The latest State of the Construction Industry report, produced jointly by the Department of the Environment and representatives of the construction industry, has just been completed. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Sheep Dipping Effects: Study

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Ferrers: Urinary metabolites of organophosphates significantly above background levels were found in only a few of the volunteers (Niven et al 1994); the researchers commented on possible reasons for these findings relating to work practices. The reasons for similarity with urine metabolite levels found previously (Niven et al 1993) are not known.

The researchers also investigated the effectiveness of personal protective equipment using whole body sampling suits; they described its overall performance as very high with minimal penetration.

The latest research will be considered by the Veterinary Products Committee.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Ferrers: Health and Safety Executive research has identified low background levels of DMP and DMTP in urine samples from individuals in a range of occupations. The levels of DMP and DMTP reported in two recent studies by the Institute of Occupational

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Medicine (Niven et al 1993, Niven et al 1994) in sheep dippers are comparable to those found in employees who are not occupationally exposed to diazinon. In the same studies DMDTP were not detected.

Organophosphates: Use with Other Materials

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will commission research into the potential for materials other than organophosphates to cause adverse health effects either alone or in conjunction with organophosphates.

Earl Ferrers: The Government support a wide range of research into possible adverse health effects associated with materials. No specific research is planned into adverse effects from materials in conjunction with organophosphates, but suppliers of pesticides and veterinary medicines are required to support their product authorisations with substantial research and testing. In addition, the regulatory authorities for such products monitor scientific and medical research world-wide, so that all available evidence is taken into account in the judgments made.

Crown Court Pre-Trial Hearings

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proposals they have to improve pre-trial procedures in the Crown Court.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The Government share the view of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice that further measures are needed to improve the effectiveness of pre-trial hearings in the Crown Court, to enable issues to be clarified and resolved in advance of the trial.

To achieve this, we propose providing for a power for judges to make binding rulings before the start of the trial, and for an extension of the existing system of preparatory hearings, currently held in serious fraud cases, to other potentially long or complex cases. These proposals are contained in a consultation paper [on improving the effectiveness of pre-trial hearings in the Crown Court], which we are publishing today.

Firearms Consultative Committee Report

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will lay before Parliament the sixth annual report of the Firearms Consultative Committee.

Baroness Blatch: We have placed a copy of the annual report of the Firearms Consultative Committee in the Library today.

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Burglary: Cautioning Guidance

The Marquess of Ailesbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the Home Office guidelines relating to the cautioning of burglars.

Baroness Blatch: No specific guidance has been issued by the Home Office on the use of cautioning for burglary, but guidance on cautioning generally is set out in Home Office Circular 18/1994, a copy of which is already in the Library.

Category A Prisoners: Escapes

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Category A prisoners have escaped from custody in each of the last six years and whether they will publish in the Official Report a table showing the date of each escape, the location of the prison or vehicle from which the escape was made, the name of the prisoner, the offence for which the prisoner was in custody, the date the

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    prisoner was recaptured and the type of inquiry held into the escape and whether the results of the inquiry were in each case reported to the Home Secretary; and

    Whether, in view of public concern when a Category A prisoner escapes from custody, they will in future arrange for the results of the inquiry into the causes and circumstances of the escape to be made public.

Baroness Blatch: The attached table provides details of each escape incident. It does not include the names of individual prisoners as it has not been the practice to name prisoners in these circumstances and in some cases charges have yet to be resolved.

The Home Secretary has received the reports on all the completed external inquiries and, in recent years, has received the results of all internal inquiries.

External inquiries into escapes are normally published subject to security considerations. However, internal inquiries are not published, as evidence is collected on the basis that they will not be published and the procedures necessary for publication are not adopted.

Date of escape Establishment or location No of category A prisoners in incident Offence Recapture date Inquiry type
7/7/89 HMP Hull 1 Armed robbery 12/7/89 Internal (Prison Service)
26/3/90 HMP Leicester 1(1) Robbery, wounding, poss of firearm 27/3/90 Internal (Prison Service)
17/7/90 En route HMP Bristol 1(1)(1) Remanded on murder charge 31/7/90 Internal (Police)
7/7/91 HMP Brixton 2(1) Remanded on terrorist related charges In custody in Republic of Ireland External (Hadfield & Lakes)
Remanded on terrorist related charges In custody in Republic of Ireland External (Judge Tumim)
22/10/91 HMP Parkhurst 1 Robbery, poss of firearms with intent to kill and endanger life 3/1/92 Internal (Prison Service)
31/12/91 Outside hospital (Ex HMP Wakefield) 1 Rape/burglary x3 31/12/91 Internal (Prison Service)
1/4/92 HMP Frankland 1 Armed robbery 4/8/92 Internal (Prison Service)
8/12/92 En route to Maidstone Crown Court 1(1)(1) Remanded on manslaughter charge 8/12/92 Internal (Police)
17/2/93 Cells Manchester Crown Court 1(1) Murder 6/3/93 Internal (Prison Service)
9/9/94 HMP Whitemoor 6 Murder and attempted murder 9/9/94 External (Sir John Woodcock)
Conspiracy to cause explosions 9/9/94
Conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life 9/9/94
Assisting an escape and conspiracy to armed robbery 9/9/94
Conspiracy to cause explosions 9/9/94
Conspiracy to cause explosions and possession of firearms and explosives 9/9/94
3/1/95 HMP Parkhurst 2 Murder 8/1/95 External (Sir John Learnmont)
Conspiracy to cause explosions and possess an explosive substance etc 8/1/95
5/4/95 West Hendon Magistrates Court 1(1) Remanded on charge of attempted murder At large Internal (Prison Service)
5/6/95 En route to Central Criminal Court (ex HMP Belmarsh) 2(1) On trial for possession of firearm with intent to kidnap 5/6/95 Internal (Prison Service)
On trial for possession of firearm with intent to kidnap At large

(1) Provisional category A (unconvicted and sentenced).

(1) These category A prisoners were in police custody at the time they escaped.


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