§ Mrs. Humble
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the phase II report by the steering group appointed to lead the research programme aimed at finding an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative to the plastic baton round. 
§ Jane Kennedy
After consultation with ministerial colleagues in the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence, I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of the second report compiled by the steering group. The group was set up to take forward two recommendations in the Patten report.
This report concludes the second phase of a four-phase research programme. It is the most comprehensive analysis of the issues yet published. It reflects both the commitment and the urgency with which Government are progressing the programme aimed both at finding an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative to the plastic baton round and a broader range of public order equipment.
The report clearly sets out the priorities in this wide-ranging programme and the timetable for the next phase. It includes work seeking less lethal options as an alternative to the police use of firearms, and the Government are grateful to the Association of Chief Police Officers for its leading role in this area.
In publishing the report, I am inviting comments on it from interested parties. We shall work closely with the Northern Ireland Policing Board in taking the programme forward.