30 August 1984 Fifteen forces had asked for plastic bullets following a government statement after the 1981 riots that they would be available if wanted

At least 15 police forces in England and Wales have stocks of plastic bullets of the kind used for riot control in Northern Ireland, the Home Office confirmed last night. Their stocks total 20,000 rounds.

The bullets are intended for use only after a public warning, when all other methods of controlling disorder have failed, according to a Home Office spokesman. A chief constable or his deputy would have to give permission to use them.

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