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Marwan Al Banna

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Mr. Al Banna was assessed as suffering from mental illness under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983. Two doctors carried out the medical assessment. One doctor held a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery and was a member of the Royal College of Psychiatry. The other doctor was a member of the Royal College of Psychiatry and a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. This doctor was approved under the statutory requirements in Section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Immigration and Asylum Bill Voucher System

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: It is not certain at present how many personnel will be required solely to administer the voucher system. It is intended that the administration of the voucher scheme will be contracted

15 Jul 1999 : Column WA60

out and contractual negotiations will take place during the Autumn. A small number of staff in the Asylum Support Directorate will be responsible for administering that contract.

City of London Riot

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What prior briefing was given to members of the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police who were on duty on 18 June at the riot in the City of London and elsewhere in London about subsection (4A) recently added to Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.[HL3504]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: City of London police officers received full instructions in respect of Section 60(4) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 during briefings given by the force training centre in the run-up to the event.

Within the Metropolitan Police Service, officers receive training on legislation on an ongoing basis. In this case it was identified that members of the forward intelligence teams were those most likely to use these powers and an additional briefing sheet covering Section 60(4A) powers was provided to those officers.

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In respect of the riot which occurred in the City of London on 18 June and spilled over to other parts of London, how many persons were required by police officers, pursuant to Section 60(4A) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, to remove any item which the officer believed was being worn wholly or mainly to conceal the wearer's identity; and how many such items were seized pursuant to that subsection.[HL3505]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: During the disturbances, the number of items seized under the provision of Section 60 was seven. None of the seven persons concerned was arrested as a result of this provision.

A total of 16 items were retained by the police. Apart from the seven already mentioned, a further seven were found in various locations and two were seized as prisoners' property.

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many persons were arrested pursuant to Section 24(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 during the recent riot in the City of London and elsewhere in London for failure to comply with a requirement by a police constable to remove a mask.[HL3506]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I understand that no arrests were made under this provision.

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The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is a real need to renew a passport; and whether they would consider making a passport into a lifelong document.[HL3480]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: United Kingdom passports are normally limited to a maximum validity of 10 years in accordance with international practice, in particular the International Standards and Recommended Practice of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Convention on International Civil Aviation, first issued in 1949, to which the British Government are a signatory. One of the main reasons most countries issue passports with a maximum validity of 10 years is to ensure that the photograph in the passport, which links the person to the document, does not get too far out of date and can no longer be accepted as a true likeness of the holder. There would be problems in identifying the holder if a passport was made into a lifetime document. There is therefore a real need to renew a passport and issuing a lifelong passport document would not be appropriate.

Kosovar Albanians: Humanitarian Evacuation Programme

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect Kosovar Albanians who came to the United Kingdom under the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme to return to Kosovo.[HL3627]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Kosovar Albanians who came to the United Kingdom under the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme (HEP) were granted leave to enter in line with close family members already settled in the United Kingdom or granted exceptional leave to enter for 12 months to provide them with temporary shelter as requested by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). My right honourable friend the Home Secretary, in his announcement about the change of policy to the HEP and the consideration of asylum applications from citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 15 June, stated that no Kosovar Albanian would have their stay curtailed, nor would they be required to leave the United Kingdom until it was safe to do so.

It is our intention to facilitate the return of any Kosovar Albanians who wish to return to Kosovo as soon as possible. In co-operation with the voluntary organisations in the refugee sector, the British Red Cross, UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration, we will be providing a voluntary return programme. We expect the first flight to take place in the week commencing 19 July. For those without passports, the necessary travel documentation will be provided for those on the return programme. The programme will be available to those FRY citizens from Kosovo who arrived on the HEP as well as those who arrived in the United Kingdom independently.

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Police Numbers

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish for each police authority in England and Wales (a) validated figures showing the number of officers in each force as at 31 March, (b) the changes since March 1998, (c) the percentage changes in their budget and in the numbers of officers between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 1999 and (d) the overall number of police officers and civilian support staff at the latest available date.[HL3717]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is set out in the tables.

The total number of police officers in England and Wales at 31 March 1999, taking account of officers seconded outside of their forces, was 126,096. This represents a reduction of 677 officers (0.5 per cent.) since March 1998.

Between March 1992 and March 1999, the number of civilian support staff increased by 5,695 to 53,031.

Police Numbers--Change between March 1998 and March 1999

ForceStrength as at 31 March 1999Change since 31 March 1998
Avon and Somerset2,999.3+23.4
City of London778.1-46.8
Devon and Cornwall2,887-74.5
Greater Manchester6,809.9-138.8
Metropolitan Police26,073.1-20.7
North Wales1,391-5
North Yorkshire1,336.5-30.7
South Wales2,981.4-4.8
South Yorkshire3,168-14
Thames Valley3,748.1-27.4
West Mercia2,024.7+15.1
West Midlands7,320.8+165.3
West Yorkshire4,982-172.7
Force total strength123,841-873.8

15 Jul 1999 : Column WA63

Police Numbers--Comparison between percentage change in numbers and changes in budgets for 1998-99

% Change in Police Numbers%Change in Budget
ForceMarch 1998-March 19991997-98-1998-99
5-5.9% reduction in strength
City of London-5.7% (-46.8)-7.3%
4-4.9% reduction in strength
Cleveland-4.6% (-67.8)+5.1%
Lincolnshire-4.3% (-51.5)+1.1%
Nottinghamshire-4.2% (-98)+3.8%
3-3.9% reduction in strength
Bedfordshire-3.4% (-37.2)+3.8%
Cumbria-3.2% (-37.5)+3.7%
Norfolk-3.4% (-48.2)+3.8%
Sussex-3.7% (-107.9)+3.8%
West Yorkshire-3.4% (-172.7)+3.8%
2-2.9% reduction in strength
Devon & Cornwall-2.5% (-74.5)+4.5%
Dorset-2.4% (-30.9)+3.7%
Greater Manchester-2% (-138.8)+3.8%
Humberside-2.3% (-46.8)+3.8%
Northamptonshire-2.7% (-31.2)+3.7%
North Yorkshire-2.2% (-30.7)+4.0%
Staffordshire-2.4% (-54.5)+3.7%
0-1.9% reduction in strength
Cambridgeshire-1.3% (-17)+3.8%
Derbyshire-0.8% (-13.6)+3.8%
Essex-1.3% (-38)+3.7%
Hampshire-0.5% (-16.1)+3.8%
Hertfordshire-0.9% (-16.2)+3.8%
Kent-1.5% (-50)+4.4%
Lancashire-0.4% (-12.3)+3.8%
Metropolitan Police-0.08% (-20.7)+3.7%
Merseyside-0.13% (-5.4%)+3.8%
North Wales-0.4% (-5)+3.8%
South Wales-0.2% (-4.8)+3.8%
South Yorkshire-0.4% (-14)+3.8%
Thames Valley-0.7% (-27.4)+3.8%
Warwickshire-1.8% (-16.4)+3.7%
Wiltshire-0.5% (-5.3)+3.7%
Forces with increases in police numbers
Gloucestershire+0.02% (+0.2)+3.8%
Avon & Somerset+0.8% (+23.4)+3.8%
Cheshire+1.4% (+28.7)+3.8%
Durham+3.5% (+53.1)+4.9%
Dyfed-Powys+2.4% (+24)+3.8%
Gwent+1.2% (+14.3)+3.8%
Leicestershire+0.5% (+10.1)+3.8%
Suffolk+0.4% (+4.4)+3.8%
Surrey+3.3% (+53.5)-1.0%
West Mercia+0.75% (+15.1)+3.8%
West Midlands+2.3% (+165.3)+3.8%
Overall totals-0.7% (-873.8)+3.7%

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