A GROUP that campaigns against the use of plastic bullets has hit out after newly uncovered documents have shown that London's Metropolitan Police have authorised the use of plastic bullets – but only against black-led protests.
Liberty Investigates, a group of investigative journalists in the UK, shared the findings with The Guardian newspaper which showed that the Met – a police force which was recently described as institutionally racist – had authorised the use of plastic bullets at events such as Notting Hill Carnival in 2017 and 2020's Black Lives Matter protests which followed the police murder of George Floyd in the United States.
During these events and protests plastic bullets were not used and so far the only time that they have been used in Britain has been against the population here in the North, which led to 17 deaths during the conflict, eight of whom were children.
On Wednesday at 6pm the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets with Relatives for Justice will hold the annual Plastic Bullet vigil to remember all victims of plastic and rubber bullets and to renew the call to have these weapons banned. For more information on the issues at… pic.twitter.com/MyQ2S0KhSL— Relatives 4 Justice #NeverGivingUp (@RelsForJustice) August 7, 2023
Mark Kelly of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets (UCAPB) – whose sister Carole Ann Kelly (12) died after being shot with a plastic bullet fired by a British soldier in Twinbrook in 1981 – condemned the latest revelation and called for the weapon to be banned.
“There needs to be questions answered as to why they are firing these plastic bullets at us and minority communities and not anyone else. The information we have now is that the Met, a police force which has been shown to be institutionally racist, has authorised the use of plastic bullets on black protestors.
“In 2018 the PSNI trained 1,000 police officers in England to use these bullets but until this information came out they have only ever been authorised to be used here and not in Britain. They still have never used them in Britain but it is alarming that the people they would use them on in Britain would be black protestors.
“In the North of Ireland we were used as guinea pigs and they have never cared about firing them over here. They are now saying the new bullets they are using aren’t as dangerous. They call them attenuating energy projectiles but we know all too well over here how they doctored the bullets and removed the caps to add in coins, razor blades and other things to make them more dangerous.
Mark continued: “These bullets are still only being used here in the North of Ireland and the cost alone of storing, maintaining, disposing of and re-stocking them alone is through the roof and we know what would happen if another child, mother or father was to be killed by these – it would lead to even more violence.
“We’ve been away from the conflict for 25 years, they have no need to be using these bullets or training police to use them. They only use these bullets on one group of people, Irish people and now they're authorising them for use on black protestors in Britain. We don’t think these bullets should be used at all, on anyone.”
The United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets will hold their annual plastic bullet vigil at the site of the former Andersonstown barracks today, Wednesday 9 August, at 6pm.