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Prisons: Responsibilities under Disability Discrimination Act

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Prison Service has issued Prison Service orders to ensure that governors and staff are aware of their responsibilities under the Act. To enable it to comply with the requirements of the Act in 2004, the Prison Service has formed a working party to advise on the action it will need to take.

Members of Parliament: Telephone Tapping Prohibition

Lord Roper asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: With permission, the reply covers both questions. As stated in the Prime Minister's answer to the honourable Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick) on 30 October 1997 (Official Report, col. 861) the Government's policy on interception of telephones of Members of Parliament remains as stated in 1966 by the then Prime Minister, and as applied by successive governments since. In answer to questions on 17 November 1966, the Prime Minister said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of telephones of Members of Parliament and that, if there was a development which required such a change of policy, he would at such moment as seemed compatible with the security of the country, on his own initiative, make a statement in the House about it.

Further, pursuant to the answers given to the Lord Balfour of Inchrye by The Lord Privy Seal on 22 November 1966 (Official Report, col. 122) stating that, exceptionally, the statement made by the Prime Minister extends to the House of Lords, the Government can confirm that the policy described in previous answers applies in relation to the use of

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electronic surveillance as well as to telephone interception.

Wandsworth Prison: Response to Board of Visitors

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action has been taken following the annual report for 1999 of the Board of Visitors of HM Prison Wandsworth, and in particular their response to 'Questions to the Home Secretary' contained within it.[HL3701]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Minister for Prisons and Probation will shortly be writing to the chairman of the Board of Visitors at Wandsworth Prison in response to all the issues raised in their annual report. As soon as he has done so, I will write to the noble Lord with details of the responses, and I will place a copy of my letter in the Library.

Dangerous Dogs Act: Statistics

Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many pit bull terriers have been registered under the provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989 in each of the last nine years.[HL3638]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Dangerous Dogs Act 1989 contains no provisions relating specifically to pit bull terriers, or to any other type or breed of dog. It extended powers available to the courts under the Dogs Act 1871 as regards dogs in general which are found to be dangerous, and centrally held information relating to offences under the Act does not identify the type or breed of dog concerned.

Dogs fully exempted from prohibition, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, as amended, of possession of certain types of fighting dog (almost entirely, but not exclusively, of the type known as pit bull terrier) are registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs. The number of fully exempted dogs registered on the index at the end of each year from 1991 to 1999, is as follows:

YearExempted Dogs
1991*2,801
1992*4,821
19934,286
19943,825
19953,430
19963,135
19972,841
19982,566
19992,151

* The 1991 total is less than that for 1992 as owners had a period of time to register exempted dogs after commencement of the 1991 Act. In addition, dogs are not required to be registered until they were seven months old.


Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many incidents involving pit bull terriers have been reported in each of the last nine years.[HL3749]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Centrally held data given in the table show the numbers of cautions, prosecutions and convictions under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. This section of the Act relates to incidents where dogs have been dangerously out of control. This would include any such incidents involving dogs of the type known as the pit bull terrier, but it is not possible from the data to isolate figures relating to them. The information requested is not readily available from other sources.

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Number of cautions, prosecutions and convictions under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991(1), England and Wales, 1991-1999P

Offence descriptionCourt proceedings199119921993199419951996199719981999
Owner or person in charge allowing dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place, injuring any person (s3.1 aggravated offence)Cautions Prosecutions Convictions-- -- -- 21 310 13129 349 13836 286 11343 259 9380 221 7069 259 12178 434 239110 446 261
Owner or person in charge allowing dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place, no injury being caused (s3.1 non aggravated offence)Cautions Prosecutions Convictions-- -- -- 143 389 181148 302 137134 196 81112 189 7744 162 6465 175 8867 248 12567 245 122
Owner or person in charge allowing dog to enter a non-public place and injure any person (s3.3 aggravated offence) Cautions Prosecutions Convictions -- -- -- 5 20 8 2 36 83 25 135 23 8 8 18 6 8 22 55 28 13 19 31 18
Owner or person in charge allowing dog to enter a non-public place causing reasonable apprehension of injury to a person (s3.3 non aggravated offence)Cautions Prosecutions Convictions -- -- -- 3 30 10 -- 21 14 6 8 5 8 18 8 3 4 -- 5 10 4 4 12 8 4 8 5

(1) Came into force August 1991.

P = Provisional.


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Government Bills in Current Session

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many government Bills have been before Parliament since the beginning of the present Session; how many of these have been sponsored by the Home Office; how many are currently before Parliament.[HL3531]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Since this parliamentary Session began the Government have introduced 42 Bills, of which 16 are still before Parliament. The Home Office has had policy responsibility for 12 Bills this Session, four of which have now passed onto the statute book.

Immigration Policy

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they will ensure that any change in Immigration Rules to allow into the United Kingdom greater numbers of people with skills needed in the United Kingdom economy will not aggravate the economic plight of the communities and countries from which they come, thereby increasing the pressures on those with fewer skills to emigrate.[HL3706]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Our formal aim for immigration explicitly calls for regulation of entry to and settlement in the United Kingdom in the interests of social stability and economic growth. Firm and effective immigration control is--and will remain--the essential platform to the Government's approach in this area. We recognise that there is a developing debate about the economic and social benefits of migration, taking place against a backdrop of globalisation, increasing labour mobility, political instability around the world and organised illegal immigration. In welcoming further discussion, there is a need to look across the full range of migration issues,

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including the impact on the communities and countries from which migrants come, to ensure a coherent approach.

HGV Drivers: Overweight Convictions

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the average fine imposed on lorry drivers convicted for operating overweight lorries during the last five years; and[HL3775]

    For the last five years, how many lorry drivers were convicted for operating lorries, which were overweight by (a) 0-5 tonnes; (b) 5-10 tonnes; (c) 10-20 tonnes; and (d) over 20 tonnes; and[HL3776]

    How many drivers operating heavy goods vehicles registered (a) in the United Kingdom; and (b) outside the United Kingdom; have been convicted of driving overweight lorries.[HL3777]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The number of convictions, number of fines and the average fine for the offence of "exceeding gross weight or axle weight" in England and Wales for the years 1993 to 1997 was as follows:

YearNumber of convictionsNumber of finesAverage fine
199318,45515,550£250
199418,64816,043£273
199518,06315,705£288
199616,59214,341£291
199715,21013,173£303

The figures relate to light and heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches. "Lorries" are not separately identifiable in the figures collected centrally. Statistics for 1998 and 1999 are not yet available. Similar information is not available for Scotland. For Northern Ireland, the readily available information

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relates to the average fine for "goods vehicles contravening the weight provisions" which was £113 in 1995-96, £140 in 1996-97, £147 in 1997-98 and £144 in 1998-99 and £160 in 1999-2000.

Information obtained from the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Food and Tradings Standards shows the following number of prosecutions in Great Britain in which lorries were overweight by the proportion stated:

YearLess than 5 per cent 5-10 per cent 10-20 per cent More than 20 per cent
1995-963751,5513,5491,870
1996-973561,3593,6841,959
1997-981411,0173,4111,819
1998-991279173,5011,891
1999-2000815842,7291,713

Information is not available to show whether heavy goods vehicles driven while overweight were registered in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.



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