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Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans will be made to protect an Olympic Games held in London from terrorist attack. [116048]

Security arrangements for any major event are of the utmost importance, and an Olympic Games would be no exception. The Government and their partners will work alongside the bidding organisation and in the event of a successful bid, the organising committee, to ensure that the appropriate arrangements are in place.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack at venues where large groups of people gather. [116049]

Cross-government contingency plans have always been in place and regular exercises test responses to a wide range of different threats. The exercises test the roles of all relevant Government Departments, military, police and local authorities. The Government give the police and security forces the funds and powers necessary to do their job. Day to day operational considerations are a matter for the heads of the appropriate authorities in any particular area. It would not be appropriate for me to disclose contingency arrangements or how particular authorities utilise the resources available to them.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to reduce the time taken for those detained under the Anti-Terrorism and Security Act 2001 to be brought to trial. [116050]

Individuals detained under s23 of the Anti-Terrorist, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA) are detained under a primary immigration power and are free to leave the country.Individuals detained under the ATCSA have a Right of Appeal against certification exercisable to the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission (SIAC). SIAC began hearing the first of 15 appeals on 19 May 2003.The detainees exercised their right to contest the Government's derogation from Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which underpins Part IV of Act, by lodging an appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals' Commissioner. This matter was taken up in the Court Appeal and resolved in October 2002. Any delays to the individual detainee appeal hearings have followed from these legal challenges, as well as delays in the preparation of material by those acting for the detainees themselves.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to prevent incidents of terrorism in the UK. [116438]

As I have made clear in the House on a number of occasions, safeguards are in place across the country to combat the threat posed by terrorism. It would not be appropriate to comment on particular measures or operational procedures.The security and intelligence agencies continue to gather, analyse and assess intelligence, working closely with others, to thwart and disrupt those individuals and organisations involved in the facilitation, preparation or commission of terrorist acts.