Arms Trade: USA

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 22nd June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arms and equipment the UK exports for use by police services in the United States; and what restrictions, if any, are placed on such exports.

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to review the sales of arms to police services in the United States; and, if so, how.

Photo of Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Conservative

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The United Kingdom has issued licences that permit the export of crowd control equipment to the United States. The details are published online on GOV.UK. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK. The most recent publication was in April, covering decisions taken up to the end of December 2019.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also fifteen Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

We are able to review licences and suspend or revoke as necessary when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We have suspended or revoked licences when our assessment changes. This shows how seriously we take the guiding principle of responsible export controls.

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