§ Miss Devlin
asked the Minister of State for Defence what is the function of plainclothes Army patrols; and how many of these patrols have been involved in shooting incidents.
§ Lord Balniel
The function of these patrols is to undertake essential surveillance tasks in circumstances in which soldiers in uniform and with Army vehicles would be too easily recognised. They have been involved in 20 shooting incidents; in not all of these have the patrols themselves opened fire but, wherever they have done so, it has been146W in accordance with the same instructions as apply to all Army operations in Northern Ireland.