HL Deb 27 July 1999 vol 604 cc183-4WA
Baroness Mallalieu

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What changes are to be made to the guidelines on the police use of baton rounds. [HL3972]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has approved new operational guidelines on the use of baton rounds which will be issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers, replacing current Home Office guidance. These will come into force on 1 August 1999. With the agreement of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the guidance will apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new guidelines will clarify that baton rounds may be used where other methods of policing to restore order have been tried and failed or are likely to fail; and there is a risk of loss of life or serious injury arising from serious public disorder; or a risk of serious and substantial damage to property which gives rise to a risk of loss of life or serious injury. The new guidelines clarify that in assessing the risk of loss of life or serious injury occurring, account should be taken of the risk to police officers and members of the emergency services as well as to members of the public and others. The revised guidelines place the use of baton rounds within the current command and control structure for dealing with serious public disorder and other critical incidents.

A copy has been placed in the Library.