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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Whenever a prisoner dies in custody the death should be reported immediately to the Board of Visitors, amongst others. Prison Rule 95 does not, however, empower the board to inquire into the death of a prisoner, although the board may ask to see the official prison report.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is set out in the table below. Some police forces hold records on computer only of those persons who have been granted a firearm or shotgun certificate, not those who have applied for one, and this is indicated below.
|Police force area||Computer record of applicants||Computer record of certificate holders|
|Avon and Somerset||Yes||Yes|
|Devon and Cornwall||Yes||Yes|
|London, City of||Yes||Yes|
|Dumfries and Galloway||Yes||Yes|
|Lothian and Borders||Yes||Yes|
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The development tasks in progress on the Police National Computer (PNC) are set out below and have been agreed and prioritised by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) PNC Steering Committee. A precise breakdown of the cost of each development is not available; however, the main element in each case is the staffing resources deployed at the Hendon Data Centre. The estimated costs are therefore expressed in terms of days' effort.
|Project||Start Date||Estimated Completion Date||Days' Effort|
|Year 2000||August 1997||October 1998||2,000|
|(to ensure compliance with the century date change)|
|NAFIS||September 1995||May 1998||3,800|
|(the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System)|
|QUEST||May 1996||April 1998||1,800|
|(to enable searches of the PHOENIX criminal records database using descriptive information)|
|PNC links||October 1997||December 1998||600|
|to NSPIS Case Preparation application (National Strategy for Police Information Systems)|
|High Priority||Mid 1997||Mid 1998||600|
|Requests For Change (where the Police Service asks for modification to an existing application on the PNC)|
|Other Requests For Change||Ongoing||400|
|Drivers||October 1997||December 1998||1,500|
|(information held about drivers, as opposed to their vehicle ownership, such as penalty points accrued, etc.)|
In addition, there are a number of major developments which may, subject to ACPO agreement and priority, be added to the programme when resources permit. These are set out below, together with an initial estimate of the resources required, which may vary as User Requirements are finalised.
The marking of subject records on the PNC as either "Unconfirmed Dead" or "Confirmed Dead" is performed by local forces. This may occur where the death is reported directly to the police, for example, in the case of a sudden or suspicious death or a road traffic accident, or where the police are informed via a coroner's report. Under such circumstances, forces may perform a PNC check and mark the subject record accordingly.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The latter. Before setting the tariff of a mandatory life sentenced prisoner, the Secretary of State will have taken careful account of the views of the judiciary (including any minimum recommendation made in court by the trial judge under the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965) on the minimum period which must be served to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence. Thereafter, the tariff is used to set the date of the first review of the case by the Parole Board, which is generally two years before the tariff expires.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: At present there are 52 dogs held in police custody in England and Wales, having been seized since 8 June 1997 when the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 came into operation.
The dogs are being detained awaiting physical assessment to determine the type or breed; pending advice of the Crown Prosecution Service; subject to court proceedings; or waiting for the owner to obtain a certificate of exemption.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information on the number of cautions, prosecutions, convictions and sentences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended in 1997) is recorded centrally. Other information collected centrally relates to cases where the courts have given the owner permission to obtain a certificate of exemption for their dog.
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