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Detention in Police or Court Cells

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The requested information is not collected centrally.

Pig Meat Protests, Parliament Square

Lord Watson of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With which authority's agreement the present pig meat producers on display in Parliament Square have become apparently permanent.[HL1815]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I understand that permission of the Royal Parks Agency is normally required for the use of Parliament Square but has not been obtained on this occasion. Any action to remove demonstrators is an operational matter for that agency.

Community Service Statistics

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the number of hours of community service handed out by the courts in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what was the number of offenders who were sentenced to community service in each of the last five years.[HL1844]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The information given in the tables is for community service orders and excludes those orders where community service orders are in combination with probation orders.

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Table A: England and Wales, 1994-98

Number of persons given a community service order for all offences at all courts49,46918,33745,89547,12348,566
Total amount of hours given6,049,2396,265,2675,350,0785,530,8275,647,667

Table B: Scotland, 1994-98

Persons with a charge proved in Scottish courts where the main penalty was a community service order5,3205,3395,7115,7075,246
Number of hours of community service(1)735,088742,300812,812856,901785,522

(1) Excludes a small number of cases where the number of hours of community

service were not separately identifiable.

Table C: Northern Ireland, 1994-98

Number of offenders given a community service order at all courts61060764859833
Number of hours given88,394(1)88,79294,275(1)81,445(1)4,974

(1)Crown Court data only.

(1)Excludes two missing values.

(1)Excludes 13 missing values.

(1)Excludes seven missing values.

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Community Service Offenders: Litter Picking

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they regard litter picking as an appropriate form of community service for offenders sentenced to community service; and, if not, why not.[HL1845]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The work undertaken by community service offenders is decided locally, within the framework of the national standards for the supervision of offenders in the community. Litter and graffiti squads exist in a number of areas.

Driving Licence Bans

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the guidance available to the courts on length of driving licence bans which are appropriate for different categories of offences.[HL1846]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The provisions relating to minimum periods of disqualification for holding a driving licence are contained in Section 34 of and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Guidance on sentencing has always been, and must remain, a matter for the judiciary, whether in the form of judgments by the higher courts or in guidelines from the Magistrates' Association. The Magistrates' Association guidelines are currently being reviewed. The existing guidelines contain some guidance about appropriate periods of disqualification for alcohol offences, depending upon the amount of alcohol in the body.

Racist Incidents: City of London

Baroness Whitaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To what they attribute the rise of 367 per cent between 1997-98 and 1998-99 in racist incidents collected by the police and for the City of London, reported in the Home Office's Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System for 1999.[HL1852]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Racist incidents have been significantly under-reported by the public and under-recorded by the police in the past. Figures from the 1996 British Crime Survey indicate that in 1995 of 382,000 racist incidents reported by the respondents to the survey, only 172,000 were reported to the police, compared with 12,222 recorded by the police.

The police service as a whole has been working to increase reporting and recording of racist incidents. In 1998-99, 23,049 racist incidents were recorded by the police, an increase of 66 per cent on the previous year. Actions taken include the adoption of a new, simplified definition of a racist incident as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence inquiry

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report; and guidelines recently issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers on the recording of racist incidents.

While the City of London's increase of 367 per cent seems large in relation to the national increase of 66 per cent, the actual figures involved are small. The numerical increase is from six recorded incidents in 1997-98 to 28 recorded incidents in 1998-99.

Act of Union Bicentenary

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 29 February (WA 62), what consultations were undertaken and what factors were taken into account in the development policy on the celebration of the bicentenary of the creation of the United Kingdom.[HL1588]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by Baroness Scotland on 16 March (WA 230).

Gulf War Veterans: Epidemiological Study

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they anticipate the epidemiological study into morbidity and mortality among Gulf war veterans, conducted by Professor Nicola Cherry at Manchester University, will be published.[HL1810]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Results from the first stage of the Manchester University epidemiological studies into morbidity and mortality among UK Gulf veterans have been submitted for publication in peer reviewed scientific literature. The mortality paper has been accepted for publication. Her Majesty's Government have no control over the timing of publication, which is a matter for the relevant journals.

Gulf War Veterans: Neurological and Immunological Study

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they anticipate the results of the neurological and immunological study of Gulf war veterans being conducted at King's College Hospital will be published.[HL1812]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Ministry of Defence funded neuromuscular symptoms study and the analysis of blood samples collected from Gulf veterans as part of stage two of the United States Department of Defense funded study, both of which are being undertaken at Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, are expected to be completed later this year. The results from both studies are expected to

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be published in peer reviewed scientific journals. The timing of such publication is a matter for the relevant journals.

RAF Northolt

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they started their review of the future defence use of RAF Northolt; when they expect to complete the review; and whether they will publish the complete review.[HL1843]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The MoD's review of its property holdings within the greater London area started in June 1998, and RAF Northolt forms part of this review. The detailed work relating to RAF Northolt is ongoing and should be put to Ministers later this year. No publication timescale for the work of the London study has yet been set.

Cadet Units: Helicopter Operations Experience

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps have recently been taken to allow Army cadets to gain experience of helicopter operations in the south-west of England without a disproportionate increase in helicopter usage.[HL1849]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No specific steps have recently been taken. Every effort is made to allow cadet units to gain experience of helicopter operations but such training is always arranged on an ad hoc basis. A cadet unit may request the use of a helicopter for a particular activity but every such request will be considered in the light of other helicopter commitments and the availability of flying hours.

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