Orde stops short of ban on use of AEPs

In addition to the statement on the continuing role for MI5 in (Northern) Ireland there have been suggestions of an impending comment of some kind on the use of plastic bullets, or rather their replacement the Attenuated Energy Projectiles, and tonight we may have got it. In a wide-ranging Press Association interview, according to the BBC, the non-political Chief Constable Hugh Orde, as well as commenting on the political situation, said that ‘he does not want his officers to have to use plastic bullets again.’ Of course, being an operational matter, it remains an option he, and his officers, also want to have available.. and it seems they will.From the BBC report

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has said he does not want his officers to have to use plastic bullets again.

Sir Hugh also acknowledged that some of the 14 people killed by plastic bullets during the Troubles were innocent.

Sir Hugh Orde’s remarks come as Sinn Fein considers whether or not to proceed with a special ard fheis which could see it signed up policing.

In a wide-ranging interview, Sir Hugh stopped short of calling for a ban on plastic bullets.

He did not promise never to use the the modern version of the weapon.

He said that as chief constable he retained the right to use them – but stressed the best way of avoiding their use was for politicians to engage in policing.

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  • gerry

    Another of SF’s issues to be sorted, this coupled with the abolotion of the ARA, and Blair commenting on MI5 what ever next? How could the police investigate criminals like Slab when SF join, lets remove the embarrassing ARA. How could SF police men use plastic bullets, lets remove the embarrassing bullets.

    This is all so transparent and predictable.

  • heck

    A proper police oversight board would not have operational control of the psni/UVF but would have control of its budget.

    In a case like this the civilian bosses would just refuse to pay for rubber bullets and the police would’nt have them.

    Of course with the window dressing that is being set up as police oversight…..

  • heck

    heck: A proper police oversight board would not have operational control of the psni/UVF but would have control of its budget.
    What makes you think an oversight board would do what you want? The police need something that outranges a petrol bomb, don’t they?

  • BogExile

    AEP’s will never be discontinued as long as a lethal threat remains to police officers and frankly, as long as crowd control sitautions require some means to effectively keep the spides out of range of injuring police officers which is very expensive and ruinous to the overtime budget. PS, if you actually want water cannon to work, Hugh, turn up the pressure 50%, put a non-sectarian colour dye in it and round up and arrest the cretinous fuckers afterwards.

    They are part of the Armoury (though rarely used) in England/Wales/scotland and this will remain the case here whatever careful phraseology is used. It wouldn’t take very long standing under a hail of petrol/acid/paint bombs before even the most ardent republican peeler was longing for real bullets, let alone plastic ones.

    This is just part of the mood music to help the Shinners face the inevitable> It’s tummy tickling. But the tummy belongs to a dead sheep.

  • Seeing as the Chief Constable has acknowleged – how generous of him! – that some of those killed by RUC/PSNI/whatever officers with plastic bullets were ‘innocent’, he might now take the next step and assure the public that these killings of ‘innocent’ people will be investigated by the HET. There’s a prima facie case in each incident that the people killed were unlawfully slain. That has to be investigated.

    I wonder could he also point out to us who he thought was ‘innocent’ or not? It’s not that there’s a lot of fatalities, less than 20, and he has made some examination of the cases or else he wouldn’t have made the utterance he has.

    So let’s have it Hugh….

    As for Bog Exile’s point, perhaps he could tell us why the ARPs are necessary here in the north but not on the ‘mainland’? Why were they never used for example in football riots etc?

  • middle-class taig

    Simultaneously contemptible and contemptuous towards republicans.

    Plastic bullets remain in operational use as a means of forcing croppies to lie down. If fourteen unionists had been killed with them, they’d have been discontinued a decade ago.

    E-minus in this first test for Orde in his relations with republican communities. The sooner we have a senior Guard running this place the better.

  • what’s new?

    He has said all this before over two years ago

    Orde link

    Earlier, Mr Orde told the Policing Board that he hoped the use of plastic bullets could be phased out in Northern Ireland.

    He said he was waiting for the results of a police review before making a decision.

    He said he hoped the stock of plastic bullets and the number of officers trained in their use could be reduced.

    The chief constable was speaking as it emerged the PSNI was facing a budget cut of up to £35m within the next two years.

    At the meeting, SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood asked about the review of plastic bullets use, saying none had been fired in the province in the last two years.

    Mr Orde said: “For me it is very simple – as long as there is no rioting then the need to use PBR (plastic baton rounds) is zero.

    “What we have seen over the last two years, and a lot longer in parts of Northern Ireland, is that we don’t need to deploy them because we have used other tactics.

    “If you look at the level of violence on the 12 July this year and the restraint shown by my officers, plus the availability of water cannon, it would be highly unlikely that we would have to deploy baton rounds.

    “Our intention is not to use them but we maintain the right to hold them and the right to deploy them if the only alternative would be to use lethal force in the form of live rounds.”

    Mr Orde said he expected to receive the results of the review within the next few days.

    “In broad terms it looks like, in light of the current situation, we would reduce the number we keep, the number of officers we train and the number of guns we need,” he said.

    Sinn Fein’s response then was to call for an immediate ban.

    Kelly link

    Relatives for Justice were unhappy too

    RFJ link

  • BonarLaw

    Oilibhear Chromail

    Use of less lethal options (including plastic batton rounds) are UK wide. Some examples of use on the mainland here

  • BonarLaw



  • Yokel

    There’s a ptter emerging here of warm words but pretty much nothing concrete.

    Along with Tony’s MI5 business this is the second interesting thing to emerge over the last few days. Both statements dont really change anything but they do provide a softer glow for teh SF leadership to work with.

    I’m guessing that the SF leadership asked for more firm things than these statements but got a firm no in return and this is the best on offer, a kind of bone throwing exercise.

    I dont mean that in a derogatory sense, its obvious the SF leadership need everything they can get to help them out and such statements, however weak may help swing things.

    Stating the obvious that some of those hit and killed by plastic bullets happened to be in the wrong place is symbolic I suppose but in practice, worth nothing to the political project.

    Meanwhile the DUP say nothing firm either.

  • BogExile

    ‘…perhaps he could tell us why the ARPs are necessary here in the north but not on the ‘mainland’? Why were they never used for example in football riots etc?’

    The public order policing environment in this part of the UK has and still does operate in a much more lethal context than normally obtains on the mainland. Put simply, rioters here actively want to seriously injure or kill police officers. This outcome is often not a by product of riot but an end in itself. That is why this unique
    level of threat has had a unique level of response e.g. rubber bullet/plastic baton/AEP rounds.

    If your enquiry was serious, AEP are completely unsuitable to a football stadium environment due to the proximity of police to rioters. Dogs, CS spray and other public order tactics are much better (and safer) in this situation to do what all public order tactics aim for primarily – to secure a safe distance between rioters and police prior to dispersal. As BonarLaw says AEPs are sometimes if not routinely used on the mainland often to subdue an armed individual where lethal force would have been entirely appropriate.

    ‘Simultaneously contemptible and contemptuous towards republicans.’

    Yes, I’m completely contemptuous towards any sector of the population who insist on their egos being massaged and their sensibilities protected from doing what the rest of us consider a basic civic duty – supporting the police in the impartial upholding of the law. And here’s another uncomfortable fact for Republicans: This also means a robust police response to totally unacceptable and unjustifiable rioting at interfaces or just for the hell of it because the peelers are in the area. A new policing dispensation must mean that these arseholes aren’t just dispersed using whatever lawful means are necessary but that the criminal justice system actively pursues them and they are, if convicted, given long prison sentences to recognise the seriousness of the crime they have committed against their community and to deter others.