HC Deb 02 February 1999 vol 324 cc580-1W
Ann Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if companies granted export licences for the export of electro-shock batons between 1989 and 1994 had been granted the relevant licence under firearms legislation to(a) handle, (b) store, (c) distribute and (d) manufacture such weapons. [68192]

Mr. Boateng

I have been asked to reply.

Two of the four companies in question had authority to deal in weapons prohibited by section 5(1)(b) of the Firemans Act 1968, which would include electro-shock weapons as well as other types of weapons capable of discharging a noxious liquid, gas or other thing. The other two companies, one of which was the company granted the trans-shipment licence, did not have such authority.

The investigation of possible offences under the Firemans Acts is a matter for the police, who will consider whether there are grounds to bring criminal charges. The decision as to whether or not to prosecute in an individual case rests with the Crown Prosecution Service. The Home Office has no powers to intervene. However, information about the two companies that did not have authority to deal in prohibited weapons was forwarded by the Home Office to the relevant police forces for their consideration. I understand that, in both cases, the police have decided to take no further action.