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Police Officers: Whistle-blowing

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Guidance issued by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to police forces under Sections 83 and 87 of the Police Act 1996 makes it clear that police officers have an obligation to disclose wrongdoing by others in the force, and that supervisors and managers should ensure that any officer who makes such a disclosure is not victimised, whether by act or omission. Any officer who is thought to have victimised another officer is liable to misconduct proceedings.

Racism and Xenophobia: Treaty of Amsterdam Definition

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Article 29 of the Treaty of the European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, sets "preventing and combating racism and xenophobia" as an element in achieving the objective of providing citizens with "a high level of safety within an area of freedom, security and justice". The Treaty provides for no definition of the terms "racism" and "xenophobia". In the view of the United Kingdom Government, the terms are to be given their ordinarily accepted meaning, having regard to the context in which they are used. In Article 29, the terms are used more particularly in connection with the prevention and combat of crime.

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Police Service Radio Communication Project

Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the Police Service Radio Communication Project.[HL 1282]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: On 13 January, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary laid before Parliament a departmental minute notifying a non-statutory liability arising from the issue by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) of a letter of instruction to proceed to British Telecom plc. This letter authorised them to invest in the project infrastructure, pending satisfactory conclusions of the final contract negotiations. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary can now confirm that yesterday evening PITO signed a contract with British Telecom plc for the provision of the Public Safety Radio Communications Service (PSRCS) to all police forces in England, Wales and Scotland. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will be announcing shortly further details on the scope and timetable of the project.

Afghan Hijack Victims

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the number of Afghan passengers who returned home after the recent hijack corresponded with the estimated number who left Afghanistan against their will.[HL1159]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Seventy-three people, including 15 members of the cabin crew, returned voluntarily to Afghanistan on 14 February. It would be wrong to speculate on whether this corresponds with the number who were victims of the hijacking.

General Pinochet:Home Secretary's Decision

Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have taken a decision in the case of Senator Pinochet.[HL1311]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary expects to make a decision in the case of Senator Pinochet at 8 a.m. tomorrow. He will give full reasons for his decision.

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Asylum Applications, Northern Ireland

Lord Eames asked her Majesty's Government:

    How many people applied for asylum in Northern Ireland in 1999; and how many were granted that status.[HL1163]

Lord Bassam of Brighton : Information on the number of people applying for asylum in Northern Ireland and how many were granted that status is not separately identifiable within the statistics. The available information relates to total applications for asylum in the United Kingdom and those granted that status and can be accessed via the Internet at:

Lord Eames asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to seek the provision of suitable acommodation for those seeking asylum in Northern Ireland who are at present detained in Magilligan or Magheberry Prisons.[HL1164]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The number of persons in Norther Ireland who are seeking asylum and who are detained has always been small. The normal course of action has been to grant temporary admission or bail while their claim is under consideration. The Government have no plans to change this arrangement Because of the small number involved, the Government do not believe that a dedicated detention facility in Northern Ireland would be viable on cost or efficiency grounds. There are also considerable practical difficulties in segregating immigration detainees from prisoners at Magheberry and Magilligan. However, the Home Office and the Northern Ireland Prison Service recognise the difficulties of using prisons for people detained under the Immigration Act 1971 and plan to undertake a joint review of future provision of detention facilities in Northern Ireland. A meeting between the Immigration Service and the Northern Ireland Prison Service is scheduled to take place on 9 March.

Asylum Applications, Turkish Citizens

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a table showing the number of applications for asylum received, the number granted, the number given exceptional leave to remain and the number rejected in respect of citizens of Turkey in each of the years 1997, 1998 and 1999, and the number of such applications outstanding at the end of each of those years.[HL1168]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The available information is given in the table.

Asylum applications1 received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, and initial decisions sup2,3> on applications, 1997, 1998 and 1999, nationals of Turkey
Principal applicants

Applications Decisions
TotalPortin CountryTotal decisionsGrants of asylumGrants of ELRTotal refusalsCertified refusalsOther refusals3rd ctry refusals(1)Non-compli- ance refusals(1)Grants of ELR under backlog criteria(1), (1)Non compli- ance refusals under backlog criteria (1), (1)Applica- tions pending

n/a=Not applicable and N/A=Not available

p Provisional data.

(1) Figures rounded to nearest 5, with *=1 or 2

(1) Information is of initial determination decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

(1) Refused on the grounds that the applicant had arrived from a safe third country.

(1) Paragraph 340 of Immigration Rules. For failure to provide evidence to support the asylum claim within a reasonable period, including failure to respond to invitation to interview.

(1) Cases decided under pragmatic measures aimed at reducing the pre '96 act asylum backlog.

(1) May include a small number of cases where asylum has been granted.

(1) May include a small number of cases where the application has been refused on substantive grounds.

(1) January to May 1999 only.

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