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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 13:38 GMT
No moves over bullet issue
Plastic bullet use is controversial in Northern Ireland
Plastic bullet use is controversial in Northern Ireland
The team looking for an alternative to plastic bullets is not yet ready to recommend a replacement and will be carrying out more research into the issue.

The Patten Report on a new beginning to policing in Northern Ireland recommended research to find an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative to plastic bullets.

Northern Ireland Security Minister Jane Kennedy published an interim report on Friday marking the end of the second phase of the Patten research programme.

There will be more research into the issue before another report is published in 2002

Baton rounds, or so-called plastic bullets, have been used in Northern Ireland for many years.

Seventeen people have been killed by plastic bullets in the province.

Research

A new plastic bullet round was made available to the RUC on 1 June.

A replacement has not yet been found and there will be more research evaluating other types of equipment before another report is published next autumn.

As the steering group continues its research, the need for the police to have a broader range of public order equipment has been accepted.

And, in the next phase, the Northern Ireland Security Minister wants to have the views of the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the new Policing Board and other interested parties.

Sinn Fein has said it would not recommend young nationalists join a police service still using baton rounds.

The party's president, Gerry Adams, has called for plastic bullets to be put "beyond use".

But the group carrying out the research, is not yet in a position to make that recommendation.

In July, it was revealed new recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland would not be trained in the use of plastic bullets for several years.

See also:

23 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
No new baton round training
18 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Dispute over plastic bullets use
08 Sep 99 | Northern Ireland
Sweeping reforms for RUC
16 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Curbs likely on plastic bullet use
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