To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has any plans to increase the resources of the radio investigation service to take effective action against pirate radio stations.
We have recently reviewed the resource need of the radio investigation service. We are currently strengthening manning levels in the London area and are investing some £400,000 in new equipment which should assist in the tracing of unlicensed radio operators. At the same time we are implementing new strategies to deal with the enormous tasks facing the service.The radio investigation service will act vigorously to clear the frequencies of unlicensed users. Particularly in view of the Home Secretary's announcement of 20 January on broadcast radio policy, I very much hope that unlicensed broadcasters will voluntarily stop broadcasting since they, with other interested parties, may soon have an opportunity to make applications to establish legal stations. At present they are squatting on frequencies assigned for legal stations and, because of the poor equipment they use, they are causing constant serious problems to the radio communications of users in other frequency bands including those who depend on radio for safety of life, such as Heathrow airport, fire brigades, the police, London Transport, British Gas, British Rail and the Ministry of Defence.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what representations he has received concerning the alleged financing by record companies of pirate radio stations.
One representation has been received from the Association of Independent Radio Contractors Limited and one from Capital Radio plc.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many prosecutions were brought against those (i) operating, (ii) controlling and (iii) financing pirate radio stations in the last year for which figures are available.
In 1987, 77 prosecutions were brought as a result of investigations by the Department's radio investigation service into the operations of unlicensed broadcasting stations. As a result, 75 offenders were convicted. I am sorry that the breakdown of statistics into the categories requested is not available.
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