The Norwegian Police Directorate has issued a recommendation to replace the existing metal jacket ammunition due to the risk of the bullet passing through the target and harming innocent bystanders, according to a report by the broadcaster NRK.
"Experience shows that more and more assignments are conducted in areas of high population density, and we want to reduce the risk that third parties will be hit by a projectile," said Jørn Olav Schjelderup at the police directorate.
The directorate has twice before – in 2003 and 2005 – recommended switching ammunition but the government has declined to approve the change citing the extensive damage inflicted on the principal target.
The directorate, which has been unable to produce actual examples of collateral damage using existing ammunition, claimed however that new tests indicated that the damage inflicted by the two types of bullets is broadly similar.
"The new expanding ammunition is not the same as the ammunition made 10 years ago. Then the injuries would have been far greater," said Rune Andersen at the directorate.
The Hague Convention of 1899 prohibits the use of expanding ammunition in international warfare. Police in eleven European countries, including Sweden, Denmark and the UK, however use expanding ammunition.