§ Mr. Maginnis
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what have been the results of recent studies into the feasibility of providing an effective alternative to plastic baton rounds for use in crowd control situations in Northern Ireland; and what have been the costs of these studies in the last 10 years. 
§ Mr. Ingram
The Independent Commission on Policing, recognising the need for an alternative to the baton round, recommended a research programme to find an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative. The research programme was launched in July 2000, phase I of which, a literature review, is almost complete. This stage of the project has incurred only limited costs, beyond those of the staff involved. Phase II of the project, which will commence later this month, will involve a more detailed cost analysis.