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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The capital saw a protest two weeks ago after the Tories were elected (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

As the Queen’s Speech marks the official formation of the Conservative government, anti-austerity protesters are planning to hold a demonstration in Trafalgar Square at 5pm this evening.

Monday, May 25, 2015
As TfL are taking over the London Liverpool Street to Shenfield line, it will now appear on the Tube map.

Train services from Shenfield to London Liverpool Street will be run by TfL from May 31.

Monday, May 18, 2015
Your future Mayor? [Image from YouTube]

Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Ivan Massow, has transformed himself into a cartoon character in order to get the top job.

Sunday, May 10, 2015
Protestors are surrounded by police (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

All but one of 15 people arrested during a spontaneous anti-austerity protest against the new Tory government have been bailed, police said today.

Friday, May 8, 2015
Voters in Hampstead voted for Ronnie Carroll, who is dead (PA)

A total of 113 people voted for a parliamentary candidate who died four weeks before the election.

Friday, May 8, 2015
Ed Balls has lost his seat (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Ed Balls became the highest-profile casualty of a disastrous General Election performance for Labour, losing his seat to the Conservatives in a shock result. Twitter reacted to his demise...

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Time to expand with the LeefiBRIDGE.

More iOS memory in a flash: Introducing Leef iBRIDGE.

Read more
The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Read more
You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more