UK police given carte blanche on rubber bullets?
London Metropolitan police has authorized using rubber bullets against protesters 22 times over the past two years and is now set to ensure officers use baton rounds when they are authorized to do so.
The Scotland Yard has not made it clear in exactly what situations did it allow the use of life-threatening ammunition aside from the few known cases including the student protests in London in November 2011.
The revelation by The Independent is especially alarming given that the police have issued licenses for using this ammo almost once every month since 2010, while authorities say their usage should be limited to handling insurgency.
“I do not think it would be sensible in any way, shape or form to deploy water cannon or baton rounds in London. Baton rounds are very serious bits of equipment. I would only deploy them in life-threatening situations. What is happening in London is not an insurgency that is going to topple the country,” President of the Association of Chief Police Officers Sir Hugh Orde said at the time of the November student protests.
This comes as the disclosures also show the police were loaded up to target protesters during the August 2011 unrest but they did not make it to the preferred locations in time to hit demonstrators.
The police, however, have vowed to make “more agile use” of the ammunition in the future, The Independent reported based on information obtained by the Liberal Democrat peer Dee Doocey.
The British police used the earlier generation of rubber bullets, namely plastic bullets, extensively in Northern Ireland between 1973 and 1981.
The police plastic bullets killed 14 people, including nine children, during the period.
The revelations suggest the London police get ready for war each time Britons prepare to march for their rights as British citizens.
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