Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Dec 2002 : Column 42W—continued


Airport/Port Security

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on changes

9 Dec 2002 : Column 43W

in security at Northern Ireland's airports and ports following the Prime Minister's recent warning of terrorist attacks. [82102]

Jane Kennedy: Security at airports and ports in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the UK, is kept under continuous review. There have been changes since September 11 to take account of the threat from international terrorism, but it would not be appropriate to comment on the detail.

Baton Guns

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many hours of additional training are required to enable PSNI personnel to discharge a Baton Gun to be fired in situations other than public disorder; what the minimum distance is at which a baton round may be discharged at a human target; what level of authorisation is required for this use of the baton gun; and what the reporting requirements are. [80634]

Jane Kennedy: The Chief Constable has advised me that in situations where it may be necessary to deploy personnel with baton guns other than public disorder, the preferred option of the PSNI is to deploy Tactical Firearms Teams. Officers within such teams who are trained in the use of the baton gun will, in addition to the initial three-day classification course in respect of the weapon, receive an additional 16 hours of training in the tactical use of the baton gun.

With regard to the minimum distance in relation to baton round discharge I would refer my hon. Friend to the written reply of the Minister for Policing, Crime Reduction and Community Safety on 6 November 2002, Official Report, column 312W.

In situations other than public order situations authorisation to deploy Tactical Firearms Teams to carry baton guns lies with an officer of the rank of Assistant Chief Constable. Authority to deploy the baton gun lies with the senior officer in charge of the non-public order incident. The actual firing of the weapon (if such is felt justified) is self-authorised by the individual officer provided that the officer is satisfied that to do so is both lawful and proportionate in the circumstances.

The firing of a baton gun whether in non-public order or in public order circumstances is classified as the discharge of a firearm. All discharges of firearms by the PSNI are subject to immediate report to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland for investigation. In addition, when a baton round is discharged a report is sent to the Policing Board for information.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to collect information from hospitals and general practitioners that have treated injuries as a result of impact damage of the L21A1 plastic baton round; and what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative information has he received. [80633]

Jane Kennedy: The Government have at present no plans to collect such information from hospitals or general practitioners.

9 Dec 2002 : Column 44W

I understand that the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland does make inquiries of local hospitals after the discharge of rounds by the PSNI. The purpose of such inquiries is to establish whether anyone has suffered injury which may be attributable to a baton round and also to facilitate any necessary evidence gathering. The research report that the ombudsman published in May 2002 summarised the findings of seven reports : 86 per cent. of the 28 rounds that struck persons were observed to have struck the person's legs. While patient confidentiality is an important factor, the ombudsman is looking at ways that might facilitate inquiries.

Belfast Agreement

David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether paramilitary groups received public funding for the resettlement of prisoners following their release under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. [82839]

Jane Kennedy: No public funding has been paid to Paramilitary organisations for the resettlement of prisoners following their release under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

Civil Disturbance

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what rules govern the relationship between the police and the Army in situations of civil disturbance. [80632]

Jane Kennedy: The military support to the Police Service in Northern Ireland is in accordance with Military Task 2—Military Aid to the Civil Power in Northern Ireland.

The military provide support to the police. The maintenance of order and response to public disorder will, wherever possible, be undertaken by the police. When necessary, the military can be deployed:

The level and type of military deployment will vary depending on the circumstances of the incident and the wider security environment, but the relationship remains one of provision of support to the police.

Cod Fishing

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the response of Her Majesty's Government to the report by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea recommending a total ban on cod fishing in the Irish Sea. [85693]

Mr. Pearson: Ministers and senior officials from all the regions are working closely to ensure a viable and sustainable fishing industry is maintained. I have given a commitment to work energetically in the interests of the Northern Ireland fishing industry, particularly between now and the vital Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels just before Christmas, to ensure that the Northern

9 Dec 2002 : Column 45W

Ireland dimension to this complex and difficult problem is not overlooked in developing the United Kingdom position.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent representations he has received on progress with decommissioning; and if he will make a statement. [82218]

Jane Kennedy: The Secretary of State met the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning on 5 November 2002 and was briefed on progress on decommissioning to date. The Prime Minister categorically stated, on 17 October, that republicans had to make the commitment to exclusively peaceful means, real, total and permanent as should all paramilitary organisations. The IICD will continue to play their part in that process.

Rev. Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many weapons the IRA have reported as destroyed to General de Chastelain's International Independent Commission on Decommissioning. [82819]

Jane Kennedy: On 23 October 2001 the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning reported that they had witnessed an event which they regarded as significant in which the IRA had put a quantity of arms completely beyond use. The material included arms, ammunition and explosives.

On 8 April 2002 the IICD reported the IRA had put a varied and substantial quantity of ammunition, arms and explosive material beyond use. An inventory

9 Dec 2002 : Column 46W

of the arms will be provided to the British and Irish Governments when the Commission's task is completed.

The arms and material in question have been dealt with in accordance with the decommissioning scheme and regulations.

Draft Harbours (Northern Ireland) Order

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons his Department seeks the powers (a) to issue directive, (b) to obtain information and (c) to issue a code of practice detailed in the draft Harbours (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; and if he will make a statement. [86175]

Angela Smith: The main reasons for providing this legislation are to further improve the public accountability of Northern Ireland trust ports and to enable the Department for Regional Development to better safeguard the public interest in relation to their commercial activities.

The proposals were advocated by the Regional Development Committee of the former Northern Ireland Assembly following the completion of an inquiry into a development proposal in Belfast Harbour.

European Funding

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money Northern Ireland has received from (a) Special European Programmes and Initiatives, (b) the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, (c) the European Regional Development Fund, (d) the European Social Fund and (e) all European Union sources, in each financial year since 1997. [84388]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is in the following table.

European money—1997 to 2002(5)


(5) To date.

Next Section Index Home Page