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Armed Forces Police Support

Volume 453: debated on Monday 20 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal powers the armed forces have (a) to carry firearms and (b) to arrest individuals when operating in support of the police and security services on the UK mainland. (100828)

Members of the armed forces derive their power to carry firearms on the UK mainland, solely for the purpose of their duties, from the royal prerogative. When engaged in the performance of their duties they are not bound by the restrictions in the Firearms Act 1968, on the possession of firearms, but are otherwise subject to the criminal law. Such duties could include specific operations conducted in support of police forces or other civilian authorities in accordance with Military Aid to the Civil Authority procedures.

Armed forces personnel operating on the UK mainland do not have specific powers of arrest conferred on them, beyond a citizen's power of arrest, which is provided for in section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.