§ Judy Mallaber
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent research his Department has undertaken on non-lethal weapons for use by the police in incidents involving(a) firearms and (b) other weapons as alternatives to firearms. 
§ Mr. Denham
The Home Office, in conjunction with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Northern Ireland Office, is currently reviewing, as a matter of priority, the range of "less lethal" technologies that might be appropriate for use by the police in situations of public disorder as alternatives to the baton round or, where the police are faced with an armed assailant, as an alternative to the use of firearms. In April we published a full account of the less lethal technologies available setting out the different kinds of equipment under examination. These include certain impact devices, long range chemical delivery devices, water cannon, electrical devices, disorientation devices, malodorants, and tranquillisers. Phase II of this work prioritising these less lethal technologies is nearing completion, and the results will be published shortly. Those alternatives selected for immediate further research will be subject to further testing and independent medical evaluation.
Where, however, the police are faced with a situation where there is an immediate threat to life from a person with a firearm, firearms officers will be deployed to the scene and a firearms response will remain a primary option, in line with existing ACPO guidance.