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Police use of firearms in England and Wales 

The UK Government has released the statistics on the police use of firearms in England and Wales, reports Roger Gomm

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The UK saw a total of 14,753 police firearms operations in the year ending March 2016 (Tolga Akmen/Rex)

The statistics on police use of firearms from the 43 Home Office police forces in England and Wales in the year ending 31 March 2016 is quite reassuring. It details the total number of:

  • Police firearms operations including operations involving Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs)
  • Incidents in which police firearms were discharged
  • Authorised firearms officers (AFOs)
  • AFOs compared with the total number of all police officers


In summary, there was a total of 14,753 police firearms operations in the year ending March 2016; this represents a slight increase of 68 (0.5 per cent) police firearms operations when compared with the previous year. Perhaps most importantly there were only seven incidents in which police discharged firearms in the year, up from six incidents in the previous year. What could be seen as slightly troubling when one considers the current terrorist threat is that there were 5,639 authorised firearms officers (AFOs) on March 31, 2016; a decrease of eight AFOs when compared to the previous year

Not surprisingly, London accounted for the largest proportion of all police firearms operations in the year, 28 per cent, or 4,070 firearms operations. The North East accounted for the smallest proportion, two per cent, or 367 firearms operations. London also experienced the largest change in the number of police firearms operations, a decrease of 643 (-14 per cent) firearms operations.

The figures in this release can be found here 

Roger Gomm QPM, is CRJs Security and Terrorism Correspondent and a Member of our Editorial Advisory Panel. Read his latest article on CONTEST in CRJ 12:4  

Roger Gomm, 01/09/2016
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