Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Secure Training Orders

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As of 8 December, a total of 100 children have been sentenced to a secure training order since the power to make an order commenced on 1 March 1998. The offences for which they were sentenced are those given in my previous answer, as well as the following:



    Attempted theft of a motor vehicle


    Causing unnecessary suffering to an animal


    Dangerous driving


    Indecent assault


    Obtaining property by deception


    Possession of a knife.

Most trainees were sentenced for more than one offence when the secure training order was imposed.

Medway Secure Training Centre

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many children are currently in the Medway Secure Training Centre; and what were the offences for which they were sentenced.[HL183]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As of 8 December, there are 30 trainees currently detained in Medway Secure Training Centre. Most trainees were sentenced for more than one offence when the secure training order was imposed. The most common offences of which trainees were convicted were:


    Aggravated vehicle taking


    Burglary


    Criminal damage


    Taking a vehicle without the owner's consent


    Theft.

Other offences are as follows:


    Actual Bodily Harm


    Affray


    Allowing self to be carried


    Assault


    Assault on a police officer


    Attempted burglary


    Common assault


    Driving while disqualified

14 Dec 1998 : Column WA129


    Intimidating witness


    No driving licence


    No insurance


    Possession of drugs


    Possession of imitation firearm


    Robbery


    Threatening behaviour


    Trespass


    Violent disorder.

Defence Medical Services

Lord Stone of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for the Defence Medical Services.[HL308]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The Strategic Defence Review, SDR, acknowledged the importance of medical support for defence and identified a number of shortfalls, both in peacetime care and in operational medical support. As a result of the SDR, we announced plans for significant investment in additional medical personnel and equipment of about £140 million over the next four years.

Although the SDR provided funding for substantial improvements to our medical capabilities, this did not by itself solve all the immediate problems. The Defence Medical Services, DMS, organisation continues to suffer from a number of interrelated difficulties which are hindering it in fulfilling its objectives and which are also affecting morale. In particular, serious staffing shortages, combined with a high level of operational deployment, have led to increased turbulence for DMS staff and their families. There is also serious concern about the continued viability of the Royal Hospital, Haslar.

We therefore set work in hand in July with the aim of producing a strategy for the resolution of these problems and to give DMS personnel a clear and positive vision of the future. We are today publishing a summary of our findings in a booklet The Defence Medical Services--A Strategy for the Future, copies of which will be placed in the Library of the House.

The key proposals include: a major recruiting campaign, properly co-ordinated and targeted, aimed at both new entry Regulars and Reserves, and at a small number of direct entry ready-trained personnel to fill the most pressing shortfalls. Tackling a range of key personnel issues to address the main problems felt by people in the DMS, including identifying the causes of overstretch and more effective ways of reducing it, harmonising different conditions of service within the DMS, and addressing concerns about the need to maintain military standards and ethos while working in NHS hospitals. Restructured secondary care arrangements, including a new centre for defence medicine to act as a focal point for the DMS and a centre of excellence for training and research, the

14 Dec 1998 : Column WA130

location of which will be decided after further study. A new Ministry of Defence hospital unit is to be established in the Portsmouth area. The Royal Hospital, Haslar, will close once these new arrangements are in place and once a clearer remit has been established for the Defence Secondary Care Agency to co-ordinate treatment for service personnel. A reorganisation of the DMS to improve management and financial co-ordination, including the creation of a new Chief of Staff post on the Surgeon General's staff to co-ordinate planning, personnel management, training, finance and the implementation of change. Developing closer relations with the NHS, including NHS representation on the two key DMS management boards, and improved arrangements at local level.

These proposals will have a significant impact both within the DMS and outside defence, particularly in the Portsmouth area. We will immediately begin a period of consultation on our proposals and will listen closely to the views of, among others, the local community around Gosport and the trade unions that represent our civilian staff. We will be working closely with the National Health Service in taking our proposals forward.

Together the proposals represent for the DMS a new strategy which addresses the very difficult problems being experienced at the moment and which looks ahead to the future. We value the DMS, and we plan to rebuild it to meet the needs of our Armed Forces both on operations and in peacetime. It will provide a more attractive and rewarding career, not only for those already serving, but also for those thinking of joining. Above all, it will be a service in which all concerned can have confidence for the future.

Defence: Post-doctoral Research Fellowships

Lord Stone of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for a new post-doctoral research fellowship scheme.[HL309]

Lord Gilbert: I am pleased to announce the launch of the MoD's new post-doctoral research fellowships. The aims of this scheme are to encourage new talent in the defence field; to maintain interest in defence studies in the academic community; and to encourage informed debate on defence issues. Each fellowship is awarded for a three-year period and is funded jointly by the MoD and the academic institution at which the fellow is based. The cost to the MoD is £15,000 per annum for each fellow.

From a strong field we have been able to select three outstanding fellows. A dedicated Defence Diplomacy Fellowship has been awarded to Dr. Irene Isakova, a Russian national. Dr. Isakova will undertake her research with the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College London, where she will focus on the impact and effectiveness of our defence diplomacy initiative in and with Russia. Fellowships have also been awarded to

14 Dec 1998 : Column WA131

Dr. Asifa Hussain from the Scottish Centre for War Studies at Glasgow University and Dr Tanya Ogilvie-White from the Mountbatten Centre at Southampton University. Dr. Hussain's research will focus on the recruitment of ethnic minorities, race relations and equal opportunities in the Armed Forces, and Dr. Olgilvie-White will undertake research into nuclear proliferation issues. Each of these candidates is ideally placed to provide the MoD with a broader, alternative perspective on these key issues.

It is our intention that additional fellowships will be awarded on an annual basis.

Statutory Instruments

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:


    (a) what plans exist to prepare a database of statutory instruments;


    (b) by what date any such database could be prepared;


    (c) whether it would be possible to search any such database to establish which statutory instruments are currently in force;


    (d) whether they would propose to make any such database available on the Internet; and


    (e) if any such database has been started, whether they will make available on the Internet for the use of the general public that part which has already been prepared.[HL180]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): There are no current plans to prepare a database of statutory instruments (SIs).

Since 1 January 1997 all new SIs have been published on the HMSO Internet Web site. HMSO is currently reviewing the presentation of SIs and has undertaken a consultation exercise via a questionnaire on the Web site. Creation of a database, which will provide the ability to search for SIs which have come into force, is an option under consideration. There are, however, no current plans to apply the effects of legislation and the SIs will be reproduced as originally published on behalf of the Queen's Printer.

The Statute Law Database which is currently under development by the Statutory Publications Office within the Lord Chancellor's Department will contain the full text of all SIs from 1991 onwards which have been printed and published by or on behalf of the Queen's Printer. Although the SIs will be fully searchable there are currently no plans to apply the effects of legislation to these. Decisions have yet to be taken as to how the database is to be made available to the general public.

14 Dec 1998 : Column WA132


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page