Plastic bullet report setback

by Democrat reporter

THE CONCLUSIONS of a new police ombudsman report into the RUC/PSNI’s use of plastic bullets has dismayed campaigners calling for the weapons to be banned as a means of combating public disorder.

The report deals with the firing of 36 plastic bullets by the police in several incidents over a 12-month period.

Although a total of 26 people were injured as a result of the weapon’s use, the report focuses on the five instances which resulted in the lodging of official complaints. In each case the report concludes that their use was ‘justified’ and used in situations involving ‘provocation’.

Commenting on the report, Clara Reilly of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets said: “The Ombudsman’s report is not the result of any quantifiable or substantial research into the effects of plastic bullets and does not take into consideration any of the serious injuries and fatalities caused by their continued use.”

There was a real danger that the report could be used, or be interpreted by some, to justify the ongoing use of plastic bullets, she insisted.

The report needed to be seen in the context of previous reports which had benefitted from full terms of reference and which were based on quantifiable and substantial research, she said.

“The use of plastic bullets on civilians contravenes international standards on human rights, which the British government have pledged to uphold. Aside from retaining plastic bullets, their use in numerous incidents over this past 12 months has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for any standards.”

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2002-07-31 10:42:27.
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