HC Deb 23 May 2002 vol 386 cc472-3W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research has been undertaken on(a) the energy attenuation features for future kinetic energy projectiles in order to reduce the severity of head injuries, (b) post-ricochet injuries and energy of baton rounds and steps that could be taken to reduce risk to non-targeted personnel from ricochets and (c) the features of a kinetic energy based system that are intrinsic to its use as a deterrent, in order to provide the analysis tools for maintaining the required performance but at a reduced risk of life-threatening injury. [17761]

Mr. Ingram

I have been asked to reply as these issues relate to recommendations following an independent medical assessment of the safety of the L21A1 baton round undertaken by the Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC) to my request.

The assessment was completed prior to work on alternatives to the L21A1 being undertaken under the leadership of the Northern Ireland Office. This work seeks to address recommendations 69 and 70 of the Patten report. Phases 1 and 11 have been completed and publicly reported. This programme is currently assessing systems that offer potentially energy attenuating features and that will have different ricochet characteristics to L21A1. In support of this assessment the Government are undertaking a programme of trials and model development as well as recording information from L21A1 in service. These programmes therefore address energy attenuation features for kinetic energy projectiles and systems that will reduce risk from ricochet.

In addition the Ministry of Defence has conducted a separate research programme into the characteristics of kinetic energy projectiles intrinsic to their use as a deterrent.