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Prison Population

Volume 984: debated on Monday 12 May 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will update his reply to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East, Official Report, 20 April 1978, Volume 948 column 319–20, stating how many convicted and unconvicted prisoners there are separately and as a whole in each of the countries of the EEC and for the whole of the Community, and in each case the number per 100,000 population and the date of the figures given.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1980, c. 178]: The information is set out below. The figures should, how-ever, be treated with caution in making comparisons, since the basis for calculating them varies from country to country.suicide by firearm in the last 10 years; and in how many of these cases the hands of the dead officer were tested for powder traces.

In the last 10 years 15 police officers out of a force now totalling over 20,000 have committed suicide by shooting. In three of these cases the hands were tested for gunshot residue.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when the special investigation unit of the Royal Hong Kong Police force was set up; who have been its commanding officers; what was the purpose of its establishment; what results it has achieved; what is its establishment and strength; and what is the level of forensic training of its specialist officers, if any.

The special investigation unit was set up under the command of a superintendent in August 1978 to investigate allegations of unnatural offences particularly those involving procuring and exploitation of young males. As a result 13 adults have been brought to court on various charges of buggery, gross indecency, procuration, blackmail and theft. Of these, nine were found guilty, two are awaiting trial, one has been acquitted and a nolle prosequi was entered in the other case. The unit originally comprised 27 all ranks. However, the establishment has fluctuated since its formation and presently stands at 19. The unit is staffed by experienced detective officers who call upon forensic and other specialists when needed.

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) what were the allegations which led to the dismissal of the late Inspector John MacLennan from the Royal Hong Kong Police in 1978; what unit or units investigated the allegations; who was in charge of the investigation; which officer decided to dismiss him; and under which provisions of which ordinance he was dismissed;(2) what new evidence, if any, led to the reinstatement of the late Inspector John MacLennan to the Royal Hong Kong Police force in December 1978; what investigations took place; who was in charge of them; which officer decided on the reinstatement; whether any apology was offered to Inspector MacLennan; and under which provision of which ordinance he was reinstated;(3) whether he will make a statement about the case of the late Inspector John MacLennan, in the light of the verdict of the jury at the inquest; and whether he will order a public inquiry into the full circumstances of the death of John MacLennan in Hong Kong.

The case of Inspector MacLennan is still the subject of examination by the Attorney-General of Hong Kong, who received on 29 April the recorded evidence given at the coroner's inquest which took place from 29 February to 12 March. In accordance with the provisions of the Coroner's Ordinance the Attorney-General will consider all aspects of the case, including points covered in the hon. Member's questions. Until he has done this I cannot comment further.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in the light of the disclosures at the recent inquest on the late Inspector John MacLennan in Hong Kong, he is satisfied with the professional level of forensic examination of the scene of crime in such cases; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Lord Privy Seal at whose request or order the body of the late Inspector John MacLennan was cremated in Hong Kong in the current year.

The deceased's parents requested that the body be cremated. This was ordered by the coroner.