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Police: Weapons

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what non-lethal weaponry is in development for use by the police. (143753)

The Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) completed a comprehensive survey of less lethal technologies in 2001. That survey, and the work that followed, resulted in the introduction of conducted energy devices to England and Wales in the form of the Taser M26 in 2003 and the Taser X26 in 2005. Kinetic energy devices were introduced to the United Kingdom in the form of the L21A1 baton round system in 2002. The L21A1 system was replaced by the L60A1 Attenuating Energy Projectile system in 2005.

HOSDB has since been tasked with assessing promising commercial off-the-shelf products against the Association of Chief Police Officers' operational requirement as they become available. Additionally the UK Steering Group on Alternative Policing Approaches Towards the Management of Conflict has put in place a programme to develop a Discriminating Irritant Projectile (DIP) that will provide police with a round that will produce a discriminating cloud of irritant at distances of up to 40 metres.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what newly-developed non-lethal weapons have been supplied to police officers in the last five years. (143754)

The Home Office Scientific Development Branch completed a comprehensive survey of less lethal technologies in 2001. That survey, and the work that followed, resulted in the introduction in England and Wales of conducted energy devices (CED) in the form of the Taser M26 in 2003 and the Taser X26 in 2005. Kinetic energy (KE) devices in the form of the L21A1 baton round system were introduced in the United Kingdom in 2002 in support to firearms. The L60A1 Attenuating Energy Projectile system replaced the L21A1 system in 2005 as part of a cross government development programme to identify a less potentially lethal alternative to the baton round. Water cannon were made available to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2004. CS spray was approved for use by the Police Service in Northern Ireland in 2003, having previously been introduced in England and Wales in 1997.