[Sinn Fein]

27th August 2002

Use of Plastic bullets has trebled in past year

Sinn Fein Assembly member Francie Molloy has said that the report indicating that in the past year the use of plastic bullets has trebled is further evidence that the current policing structures are operating without regard for the most basic human rights. Mr. Molloy said:

``Last year Sinn Fein predicted that the decision to purchase 50,000 new plastic bullets would lead to an increase in their use. At that time parties on the Policing Board insisted that a ban on these killer devices was imminent. These figures show where the truth lies and these parties must now explain their position.

``In the past year the use of plastic bullets by the PSNI has dramatically increased, so too the use of plastic bullets by the British Army. People living in interface areas have reported consistently that the PSNI were encouraging British soldiers on the ground to fire plastic bullets, thereby circumventing the already limited powers of the Ombudsman. Again the figures support these claims.

``Sinn Fein, unlike the SDLP in recent times will not justify or excuse the use of plastic bullets. Plastic bullets kill and must be banned. An acceptable and accountable policing service interested in human rights does not carry or use plastic bullets.''

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