PSNI to get new plastic baton round

The PSNI is to adopt a new plastic baton round following backing from the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

In a statement released on Friday the board said the decision to replace the baton round with an 'attenuated energy projectile' was subject to conditions which include consultations with the Children's Commissioner for Northern Ireland and other bodies.

Board Chairman Professor Sir Desmond Rea said the use of plastic baton rounds was of real importance to many people across Northern Ireland, “not least those who have in the past suffered loss or harm to their family members and friends, and the board acknowledges this.” The new plastic baton round presented "less risk of causing serious or fatal harm," he added.

SDLP board member Alex Attwood said that his party had opposed the decision saying there had been "inadequate medical assessments on the impact of this weapon on children".

However, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly accused the SDLP “of once again acquiescing to the continuing use of plastic bullets by the PSNI”.

“The SDLP in public have consistently claimed to be opposed to the use of plastic bullets,” Mr Kelly said. “They told us that through membership of the Policing Board they would ensure the removal of plastic bullets.

“Yet on the Policing Board they have previously rubber stamped the purchase of thousands of these devices. Yesterday the Policing Board voted to introduce a new plastic bullet, the SDLP made noise but were ultimately powerless to prevent this and will without doubt go along with the decision of the Board.”


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