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Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Tuesday 28 October 1980

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Written Answers

Police/Immigration Service Operations

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will state, for each of the raids conducted by the police and immigration officers at Bestways on 13th May, the Hilton Hotel on 22nd May, and the Main Gas appliance factory on 20th June, and for any other such raids since the beginning of 1980 the number of persons taken into custody, and within the totals, the number of United Kingdom citizens, the number charged with offences under the immigration laws, the number detained as illegal entrants under the powers of the Immigration Act 1971, the number found guilty of offences against the immigration laws, the number deported without being charged with any offence, the number whose cases have still to be dealt with, and the total number of police and immigration man-hours involved respectively.

(Lord Belstead)

The available information relating to the joint police-immigration service operations earlier this year at the Bestway Cash and Carry premises, the Hilton Hotel and the Main Gas factory at Edmonton is set out below. In every case those arrested were arrested either in connection with their immigration status (either illegal entry, overstaying or breach of landing conditions) or in respect of possible charges of facilitating illegal entry or harbouring illegal entrants or over-stayers.

Bestway Cash and Carry and associated premises

Thirty-seven people were arrested and taken to Kilburn or Kensington police stations. Of 17 people taken to Kilburn police station, two were illegal entrants, two were overstayers in respect of whom detention orders were subsequently issued, one was charged as an overstayer and one was charged with working in breach of conditions. Of 20 people taken to Kensington, three were illegal entrants. Of those arrested a total of nine were found to be patrials and 19 were non-patrials whose immigration status was in order. In total, 26 police officers and 19 members of the immigration service took part in the operation.

Hilton Hotel

Thirty-five people were arrested. Eight were found to be illegal entrants, 13 were found to be overstayers, six were working in breach of conditions, three were subject to deportation orders and one was a seaman deserter. Of those arrested two were patrials and two were non-patrials whose immigration status was found to be in order. Sixteen immigration officers and about 60 police officers were involved in this operation.

Main Gas

Twenty-eight people were arrested, of whom 12 were found to be illegal entrants, 14 were found to be overstayers and two were working in breach of their conditions. Three other people were also arrested and later released. The 31 people arrested comprised 25 Ghanaians, two Pakistanis, two Nigerians, one Jamaican and one citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Of the three people arrested whose immigration status was found to be in order, one was a patrial and two were non-patrials. Twenty-two immigration officers and 79 police officers were involved in this operation.

Prisoners: Tape-Recording Of Interviews

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, considering that Members of Parliament and Peers require to interview prisoners in connection with their parliamentary duties, they will allow any such interviews to be recorded by what-every means the Member or Peer thinks fit.

The Government appreciate the need for Members of Parliament to make suitable records of their interviews with prisoners, and would not wish to rule out methods which are compatible with the maintenance of security and control and the resources required for this purpose. Members have generally found written records to be adequate; but the current prohibition on their use of tape recorders is being examined as part of a more general review of related matters which is now taking place.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they refused permission to tape-record a conversation with a prisoner within the precincts of the Royal Courts of Justice on 16th October though allowing a secretary to be present in order to take a shorthand note of the discussion, and why they incorrectly stated at first that the prisoner in question was on the escape list and therefore that he could only be interviewed in prison.

Permission to use a tape-recorder was refused in line with current prison regulations. The prisoner in question had been placed on the escape list earlier this year and I regret that it was not initially appreciated that this restriction had been removed on 20th September.

The Prison Rules: Publication

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish the prison rules and submit them to Parliament for approval.

Rules for the regulation and management of prisons, remand centres, detention centres and borstal institutions are published as statutory instruments and are subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament. The Government have no plan to propose a change in these arrangements.

Protection Of The Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution: Athens Conference

asked Her Majesty's Government:What conclusions were reached at the conference of Mediterranean countries at Athens under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme on the protection of endangered animals and plants; and what is the Government's attitude to the decisions.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution and the associated Mediterranean Action Plan. The United Kingdom is not a party to the convention and thus did not participate, but I understand that agreement was reached on the text of a protocol—the fourth in a series under the convention—defining the criteria for the choice of a network of protected areas (sea parks) in the Mediterranean. The protocol includes measures for the operation and protection of the sea parks, which will be selected by a joint scientific committee.

Her Majesty's Government regard the convention and action plan—which all Mediterranean coastal states except Albania have signed—as an excellent example of the co-operation which can be achieved in the field of the environment but believe that it is a matter for the states directly concerned to decide how best the convention should be implemented.

The Law Of Defamation

asked Her Majesty's Government:Which of the recommendations of the Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Faulks on the Defamation Act 1952 have been enacted; what other changes have been made to the laws of defamation since Mr. Justice Faulks's Report (Cmnd. 5909 of 1975) and whether they have any further plans to amend the Defamation Act 1952.

None of the recommendations of the Faulks Committee has been implemented and there have been no changes of substance in the law of defamation since 1975. While the Government is willing to consider proposals for change, there is no present intention of introducing legislation.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund

asked Her Majesty's Government:When guidelines will be issued to the trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund to assist them in operating the fund.

Guidelines were issued to the trustees in August. These were endorsed jointly by my right honourable friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Copies of the guidelines are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.House adjourned at twenty-eight minutes before twelve o'clock.