Skip to main content

Riot Control Weapons: USA

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN 115754, tabled on 16 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made a further assessment of the evidence of whether UK anti-riot equipment was used during the US Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

Answered on

19 November 2020

Officials in the Export Control Joint Unit have carried out two reassessments of whether the events in the United States – since George Floyd was killed on 25th May 2020 – give rise to a clear risk under Criterion 2a of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”) that crowd control equipment exported to the US might be used for internal repression.

The first reassessment was completed in July and it was determined that no clear risk that such equipment might be used for internal repression existed. The second reassessment was completed in September 2020 and this concluded likewise.

Given the broad list of end-users covered by the licences, the reassessments assumed that it was possible that crowd control equipment exported from the United Kingdom was and/or could be sold to and used by police forces involved in these or similar protests, whether or not this was the case; accordingly, this supersedes an assessment on whether such equipment was actually used.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the US remains a beacon for freedom, opportunity and democracy. The US maintains the rule of law and has robust institutions. Further, there is democratic oversight, accountability and extensive public scrutiny, including by an active civil society and free press.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.