Met Police ‘could have fired rubber bullets in London 22 times in two years’

15:57 18 March 2012

The Met Police could have used rubber bullets to control public disorder incidents in London 22 times in the past two years, it has emerged.

Firearms officers could have opened fire on crowds with the so-called ‘non-lethal’ bullets after police chiefs authorised the deployment of some of the near-3,000 baton rounds in the force’s armoury.

Scotland Yard has refused to say when and where the rubber bullets might have been used, claiming that making such information public could jeopardise future policing operations.

The figures relating to 2010 and 2011 were obtained by London Assembly member and Liberal Democrat peer Dee Doocey in a question to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

In his written answer on behalf of Met commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, Mr Johnson confirmed the force had “authorised the movement” of rubber bullets 22 times in the two years.

Lady Doocey told The Independent national newspaper: “I have long believed rubber bullets have no role in policing demonstrations in London. This secrecy over their potential use merely confirms that view. It is simply wrong for the Met to be silent when on so many occasions the use of rubber bullets was being considered.”

Although they were used in Northern Ireland over many years, the rounds have still never been used on the British mainland.

The figure of how many times the Met Police could have used the bullets – known as attenuating energy projectiles (AEPs) - is higher than previously thought.

Earlier this week Scotland Yard published its final report into last summer’s London riots following a comprehensive review of its actions.

The review said the use of baton rounds had been discussed at length and they were recognised as a “viable tactic, that offers a less lethal option if absolutely necessary to protect life, prevent serious injury or prevent serious damage to property (in circumstances likely to lead to loss of life/serious injury).”

The report went on: “In answer to the review’s findings that a more localised availability of this resource might have enabled commanders to deploy baton rounds as an effective tactic, the MPS is currently considering the establishment of this tactic as a more readily available option across London at short notice.

“In doing so, the MPS recognises the need to consult widely and the importance of public debate in support of the British Policing Model.

“In the interim, the MPS has already responded with an increase in trained officers to work with Kestrel Teams (teams deployed with baton rounds). This increase in capacity has already enabled the MPS to make more agile use of this tactic.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Monday, June 29, 2015
Protesters at an earlier anti-austerity demo in Berlin in March (Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Owen Jones, Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn and Green MP Caroline Lucas are all at a rally in Trafalgar Square to show solidarity with Greece this evening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Police clashed with disabled protesters in the lobby of the House of Commons (Photo: Debbie Jolly/PA Wire)

Police have been accused of “heavy handed tactics” as they blocked disabled protesters, many in wheelchairs, from entering the House of Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
(Hannah McKay/PA Wire)

In his latest YouTube video and in the wake of Saturday’s anti-austerity march, Russell Brand has called on people to ‘love the police’ and protest in the streets for better pay, better overtime and better pensions. This, he claims, is a new form of activism called ‘situationism’ which creates ‘spectacles which are provocative and interesting’. You can watch his Trews video below.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Anti-austerity protesters at the State Opening of Parliament (John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Tens of thousands of people from all over the country are expected to demonstrate in London for the People’s Assembly ‘End Austerity Now’ protest on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
(Zac Goldsmith running for Mayor. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Images)

Expelled Eton boy, environmentalist and Conservative rising star Zac Goldsmith has joined Sol Campbell in announcing he will run for the role of Mayor of London.

Monday, June 8, 2015
(Picture: Martin Rickett / PA Archive)

The star football player has told SunNation he will run for the role of London Mayor in 2016 and is “in it to win it”.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more