• July 27, 2013


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has responded to a query from the Celtic League about the United Kingdoms involvement in the export of riot equipment such as CS and CR gas.

The League wrote to the FCO last month (see link):


In their letter dated the 27th of June 2013 the FCO say:

“Thank you for letter of 7 June to the Foreign Secretary about the control on exports of riot control equipment. Your letter has been passed to me to reply as Assistant Desk Officer in the Arms Trade Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK maintains a rigorous and transparent arms export control system, whereby applications to all destinations are assessed on a case by case basis, against the Consolidated European Union and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (a copy of which is enclosed for your information), depending on the end use and circumstances prevailing at the time of application. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are mandatory considerations for all export licence applications. We will not issue a licence when there is a clear risk the equipment might be used for internal repression.

The best means of ensuring that goods are not misused is to conduct a rigorous assessment at the licence application stage. This includes careful examination of the information on the proposed end use and the end user of the goods. Our Posts overseas are regularly asked to check the accuracy of the information in the end-user documentation submitted with the application. If this identifies an unacceptable risk, the application will not be approved.

The main purpose of monitoring equipment once it has left the UK is to generate information to assist the risk assessment of other current or future applications. This is done by our Posts overseas. Updated guidance was issued to them in 2012 covering methods of achieving this, including through using contact networks, local media arid NGOs. They have standing instructions to report any misuse of UK-origin defence and security equipment.

Information on the export of incapacitating gasses and sprays are available on the website of the Department for Business Innovations and Skills on the following link:

httrs://www.qov.uk/assessment-of-export-Iicence-applications-criteria-and-policy Details of all export licenses over the last 10 years can be found at:


You can also register your details on the website and this will allow you to create your own bespoke reports from 2008 up to and including the last quarterly period published. I hope that you find the above information of some help.

Yours Sincerely

Arms Export Policy Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office”

A similar response from the Department of Business is the subject of a separate post on CL News.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

General Secretary, Celtic League


The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

Internet site at:




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