HC Deb 26 November 2002 vol 395 cc250-1W
Mr. Oliver Letwin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the level of student visa fraud; [82561]

(2) what checks there are in place to prevent the facilitation of illegal immigrants by language schools; [82560]

(3) what action is taken against language schools found to be issuing certificates of enrolment in exchange for cash payments. [82562]

Beverley Hughes

[holding answer 25 November 2002]The Immigration Service (IS) is developing an intelligence-led strategy to deal with abuse of the United Kingdom's immigration laws. Where such intelligence suggests that immigration offences are being committed by any college or language school, the IS will pursue, with other agencies as appropriate.

Mr. Letwin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is provided, and how long members of the emergency services will be trained to operate under full NBC protection. [82552]

Mr. Blunkett

All three emergency services have officers equipped and trained in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) suits. These suits allow them to attend an incident where there has been a release of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) material, and to proceed to carry out their jobs without becoming contaminated themselves.

Since their roles at a CBRN incident vary, the emergency services carry different specifications of PPE suits. The Fire Service, who work in the area of highest contamination, carry the highest grade of PPE suits, which include breathing apparatus. The precise length of time during which the emergency services can operate in a CBRN contaminated environment depends on the nature, volume and method of dispersal of the contaminant, as well as the location of the incident and other environmental factors.

All three services are continuing to increase their numbers of CBRN trained and equipped officers. The Government do not reveal precise details of our response capabilities for reasons of security.

All sides in the current firefighters dispute have agreed to provide cover for any large-scale terrorist or other civil contingency incidents.