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Weapons (Riot Control)

Volume 928: debated on Friday 25 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has exchanged information with the United States Government on the results of safety testing of impact-based riot-control weapons under the provisions of the ABCA Standardisation Agreement of 1964 or in any other way; and if he will give details.

Exchanges of information have taken place between the United States authorities and ourselves, both by means of forwarding copies of reports and at a meeting, about the ballistics and effects of baton rounds and other projectiles.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether CR gas is exported from the United Kingdom; and, if so, to what other countries.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 28th February 1977—[Vol. 927, c. 33].—It is not our practice to give details of individual sales.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any arrangements are made for the use of CR gas within any part of the United Kingdom; and, if so, under what circumstances it is contemplated that the gas might be used.

CR is available in the United Kingdom and is authorised for use in certain special circumstances, particularly when it may enable the use of firearms to be avoided when the Armed Forces have been called in to help deal with terrorists. It is not a gas and is normally available for use in liquid solution.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, having regard to the report of the Himsworth Committee, he will withdraw use of CR gas until the results of tests on its safety have been published in full.

No. In accordance with the recommendations of the Himsworth Committee (Cmnd 4173 and Cmnd 4775), extensive medical and scientific research has been conducted into the nature and effects of CR. This research has been subjected to independent scrutiny by recognised experts in the fields of medicine

At 31st December
Civilian Personnel
Naval Personnel16161513
To enable comparisons to be made personnel transferred with their tasks to other elements of the naval base in 1975

and biology, and the results give no cause for concern. Details of relevant research are, at an appropriate stage, submitted for publication in scientific and medical journals, and articles have been published in the British Medical Journal (July 1973); Medicine, Science and Law (1973, Vol. 13 and 1976, Vol. 16); the British Journal of Dermatology (1974, Vol. 90); the British Journal of Experimental Pathology (1974, Vol. 55); the Journal of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (1974, Vol. 29); the British Journal of Pharmacology (1975. Vol. 53 and 1976, Vol. 57); Archives Toxicology (1975, Vol. 34): Acta Pharmacol et Toxicol (1974, Vol. 35); and in a book entitled "Current Approaches in Toxicology" published this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether there are arrangements between the United Kingdom and the United States authorities in relation to the development of CR gas, or whether such arrangements are limited to the exchange of information.

There are no arrangements between the United Kingdom and United States authorities for the development of CR; exchanges of information do take place.