§ Mr. Mather
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list the statutory provisions which place an obligation upon those who hold an appropriate licence to keep accounts of the use or disposal of the detonators in their possession;
(2) what statutory arrangements are in force for the regular inspection by the police of magazines at quarries where detonators are held in store;
(3) what statutory arrangements are in force for the regular inspection by the police of detonators held by construction companies employed on civil engineering works;
(4) what statutory system of accounting for the use of detonators by shotfirers at the quarry face, is in force;
(5) if he will list the statutory provisions which place an obligation upon those who hold an appropriate licence or a police certificate to report losses of detonators to the police;
(6) what statutory system is in force for accounting for detonators by licence holders; and if such accounts are open to inspection by statutory authority.
§ Mr. Dunn
The acquisition, use and disposal of detonators are controlled under the Explosives Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 and regulations made thereunder, in particular the Explosives Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1970, 1971 and 1976.
No person may acquire or use a detonator unless the prior consent of the police is obtained. This consent specifies in detail the number to be acquired, the purpose of acquisition and use, and the method of transportation. Comprehensive records of transactions must be maintained in prescribed form by seller and user, and these are subject to strict police scrutiny. Since the movement and use of detonators are directly supervised by the police, any discrepancy would be immediately apparent. Shotfirers must be licensed, and their licences are renewable annually. Any detonators unused after a blasting operation are destroyed, also under police supervision.
No person in Northern Ireland is permitted to keep detonators for private use, which includes use in quarries or by con- 136W struction companies. Storage in licensed stores is also prohibited save under special exemption, which is granted only in very exceptional circumstances.
§ Mr. Mather
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many detonators recovered intact from unexploded bombs have been traced to source; and in how many cases the illegal theft of a detonator has been detected.