§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the policy of the Prison Service in respect of the use of the body belt of the type involved in the death of Joy Gardner; when that policy was last reviewed; what plans the Prison Service has to co-ordinate its policy in respect of the belt with the police; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from A. J. Pearson to Mr. Harry Cohen, dated 29 February 1996:The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about Prison Service policy on the use of body belts of the type involved in the death of Joy Gardner; when that policy was last reviewed and what plans the Prison Service has to co-ordinate its policy in respect of the belt with the Police.The type of body belt used by the Police is an operational matter for Chief Police Officers.The body belt used by the Prison Service is of a design approved by Prison Service headquarters. The authority for its use is covered in Prison Standing Order 3E, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.The design of the belts used by the Prison Service was reviewed some eighteen months ago. It was decided that the needs of the Service required the current design but we continue to see if more modern materials can be used to serve the same purpose, on the rare occasions body belts are used.