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Non-lethal Operations

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) in what circumstances military personnel use non-lethal weapons on operations; (107722)

(2) what types of non-lethal weapons may be used in current military operations.

UK military personnel use non-lethal weapons primarily on public order operations such as crowd control, when the safety of personnel needs to be protected but the use of lethal force would not be appropriate. This role has been fulfilled in Northern Ireland in support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and in overseas operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. Depending on circumstances, UK military personnel may use batons, plastic baton rounds and CS smoke.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2006, Official Report, column 882W, on non-lethal operations, what the policy reasons are for non-lethal spray type weapons not being routinely carried by British forces during operations. (110301)

Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, non-lethal spray weapons such as CS smoke may only be used for law enforcement, including domestic riot control purposes and are therefore unsuitable for use on many types of operations carried out by British forces.