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Loughries and Whiterock, Killinchy: Sewage Disposal

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The matters raised are for the Water Service (Northern Ireland). I have asked the chief executive, Robert C Martin, to write to the noble Lord. Copies of the letters will be placed in the Library.

Newtownards: Road Construction

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) When they plan to construct the link road between Portaferry Road and Comber Road in Newtownards; and

    (b) what progress has been made to determine the planning application for the Castlebawn development in Newtownards.[HL979]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The subject matters raised are the responsibility of the Roads Service (Northern Ireland). I have asked the chief executive, Dr D M McKibbin, to write to the noble Lord. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Parliamentary Network: e-mails

Lord Greaves asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the filtering of e-mails by the Parliamentary Communications Directorate includes censorship of e-mails to and from Members of the House of Lords in line with that applied to Members of the House of Commons; if so, what guidance has been published as to what may and may not be written; what is the definition of "profanities of a sexual or offensive nature"; and who is responsible for setting the rules.[HL1309]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): In response to concerns from users of the Parliamentary Network about the amount of unwanted and, in some cases, obscene e-mail being received, and with the agreement of the Information Committees of both Houses, the Parliamentary Communications Directorate (PCD) introduced a new service on 13 January to block incoming e-mails from non-parliamentary addresses which contain inappropriate or offensive text. PCD recognises that, on occasion, correspondents may legitimately use strong language, and incoming e-mails that contain only a few mild expletives will be unaffected. Only those e-mails that contain a high proportion of the most offensive obscenities are blocked automatically. Futhermore, in order to prevent genuine e-mails from being lost, the sender of any e-mail that is blocked will be notified and invited to contact the intended recipient to arrange for the e-mail to be released.

The service does not affect e-mails sent from addresses within the Parliamentary Network either to external or other internal addresses or e-mails sent by remote users of the Network via Citrix. The

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arrangements for incoming e-mails apply equally to Members and staff of both Houses.

Ayrshire and Arran: STIs

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases of (a) syphilis, (b) gonorrhoea and (c) chlamydia were recorded in Ayrshire and Arran in the last year for which figures are available; and what are these figures expressed as a percentage increase or decrease in the previous year.[HL1077]

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The provision of statistical information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has been a devolved matter since July 1999. However, the incidence of STIs in Ayrshire and Arran from 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000 is as follows:

    Syphilis 3

    Gonorrhoea 17

    Chlamydia 158

(These figures exclude epidemiological treatment for suspected cases of the above conditions.)

More recent statistics are a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

Trade in Services

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the response of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to the recent Department of Trade and Industry consultation, Liberalising Trade in Services; and what representations the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received on the matter.[HL1138]

Lord Evans of Temple Guitting: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was involved in the drafting of the consultation document Liberalising Trade in Services and it will be fully involved in formulating the Government's response in areas of relevant policy interest.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received a number of representations from local authorities on this matter. The points raised will be fully considered in preparing the Government's response to the consultation.

Immigration Removal Centres: Visiting Hours

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the visiting hours at each of the detention centres at which asylum applicants are detained.[HL1188]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): The visiting hours at each of the immigration removal centres are as follows:

CentreVisiting hours
CampsfieldBetween 2 pm–5 pm and 6 pm–9 pm daily for social visits. The break is to accommodate the detainees' evening meal. Between 9 am–noon, 1.30 pm–5 pm and 6.30 pm–9 pm daily for legal visits.
DoverBetween 2 pm and 4.15 pm daily for legal and social visits.
Between 9 am and 11.15 am, Monday to Friday for legal visits.
DungavelBetween 1.30 pm and 8.30 pm daily for social visits.
Between 9 am–noon and 1.30 pm–9 pm for legal visits.
LindholmeBetween 1.45 pm and 4 pm daily
HarmondsworthBetween 2 pm and 9 pm daily
HaslarBetween 1.30 pm and 4 pm daily, except on Wednesday.
OakingtonBetween 2 pm–5 pm and 7 pm–9 pm daily for social visits.
Legal representatives are on site. Outside legal representatives may visit their clients between 9.30 am to 9.30 pm daily.
Tinsley HouseBetween 9 am and 9 pm daily for legal visits.
Between 2 pm and 9 pm daily for social visits.

Where a detainee is due to be removed, or in other exceptional or urgent circumstances, efforts will be made to accommodate visits outside the normal visiting hours.

Yarl's Wood Detention Centre

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who are the insurers of Yarl's Wood Detention Centre; what is the amount of the claim in respect of the fire which caused extensive damage on 14 February 2002; what negotiations have taken place regarding the claim; and what is now the position regarding insurance of each of the other establishments where asylum seekers are detained.[HL1261]

Lord Filkin: Insurance provisions in respect of the Yarl's Wood Detention Centre and any claims arising from it are the responsibility of Group Four Amey International Limited in accordance with the contract for the management and operation of the centre. The insurance provisions are in the joint names of the Home Office and the contractor. The total insurance claim is £97 million. Negotiations have been on-going with the contractor and other interested parties since the incident last February. The terms of insurance cover for other establishments where asylum seekers

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are detained are subject to negotiation as and when they become due for renewal.

Review of Police Shootings 1998–2001

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the Police Complaints Authority's Review of Shootings by Police in England and Wales between 1998 and 2001.[HL1454]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): We are pleased to be able to place in the Library a copy of the Police Complaints Authority's (PCA) Review of Shootings by Police in England and Wales between 1998 and 2001.

We commissioned this review under Section 79(1) of the Police Act 1996, which allows the Home Secretary to call for a report from the PCA on issues of concern. We announced the terms of reference to Parliament on 20 November 2001. They were:

"The review will consider what lessons can be learnt from the investigations into police shootings which have resulted in death or injury since January 1998.

In particular the review will look at:

    The planning, control and conduct of operations;

The way in which the concerns of the bereaved families were addressed, and how they were kept informed of the progress of the investigation; and

    The training and skill needs of the police officers involved in such operations, particularly at command level."

We are very grateful to the PCA, and in particular to Mr Alan Bailey, Dr David Best and the two deputy chairs for the hard work and expertise they have brought to this report.

We welcome the report and its positive findings. It covers a very difficult and demanding area of police work, where great professionalism is needed. Rightly, it gives credit to police forces for the small number of shots discharged by police officers in armed responses and praises much policing practice. The overall picture is very positive and it gives clear guidance on how best to manage firearms operations to minimise threat to life.

We commissioned the report in order to make sure that the lessons from each individual incident could be learned and shared by all forces. While there is always understandable public concern when someone who is shot turns out to be unarmed, we must recognise that armed police face enormously difficult decisions. Sometimes these decisions have tragic consequences, and it is nonetheless essential to ensure that operational procedures, training and support to officers minimises the number of avoidable deaths and injuries.

Our police officers are not routinely armed. The use of firearms is a rare last resort, considered only where there is a serious risk to public or police safety. When it is necessary for police officers to deploy firearms, it

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is vital that they are properly equipped and expertly trained to respond effectively to the serious situations they have to face. Police use of firearms is subject to stringent guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which govern training, control and the conduct of operations. This is reflected in their excellent record against international standards.

The PCA report makes a number of recommendations to further improve the management of firearms incidents. Many of these are already under way and we have published an action plan today, which we will also place in the Library, which sets out how we will work with the police service and other

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agencies to build on existing good work and take forward the recommendations in the report. We are determined to build on the good practice already in place by working closely with the police and others, including mental health professionals.

It is essential that our police have effective less lethal alternatives available to them. The search for suitable less lethal options is complex and requires in-depth consideration of a range of issues. After rigorous medical and operational trials, and at ACPO's request, we have agreed that pilots on taser use will go ahead. If any less lethal options are ultimately recommended to police these must provide real tactical solutions to disorder and violence.

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