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Police Use of Firearms

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

The latest figures from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 show that the number of police operations in which firearms were authorised was 21,181—an increase of 17.5 per cent. on the previous year.

The number of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO’s) was 6,780—an increase of 52 (1 per cent.) officers overall on the previous year. The number of operations involving armed response vehicles was 16,712—an increase of 2,197 (15 per cent.) on the previous year.

The police discharged a conventional firearm in seven incidents (up from 3 incidents in the previous year).

Full details are set out in the tables below:

Number of Operations in whichFirearms were Authorised

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total

13991

14827

16657

15981

18891

18032

21181

Avon & Somerset

195

262

311

333

247

285

328

Bedfordshire

237

301

442

475

575

663*

1217

Cambridgeshire

114

57

104

241

201

207

316

Cheshire

419

451

397

358

367

340

317

Cleveland

37

170

453

530

657

293

577

City of London

40

131

364

404

323

239

365

Cumbria

71

77

72

152

112

92

92

Derbyshire

275

401

369

287

305

223

211

Devon & Cornwall

101

96

112

71

84

80

143

Dorset

184

193

231

223

263

354

258

Durham

89

83

156

144

291

340

206

Essex

323

312

275

296

432

245

529

Gloucestershire

165

185

127

176

229

280

162

Gtr Manchester

580

518

507

461

478

481

497

Hampshire

198

162

208

237

289

352

382

Hertfordshire

112

172

195

185

187

280

303

Humberside

297

187

183

206

362

235

209

Kent

115

137

207

163

219

170

202

Lancashire

232

238

318

241

240

410

388

Leicestershire

300

268

295

260

363

334

318

Lincolnshire

477

392

386

294

220

157

158

Merseyside

1020

628

751

733

669

727

829

Metropolitan

2447

3199

3563

2964

4711

3878

4948

Norfolk

175

200

178

195

175

153

174

Northamptonshire

43

138

148

158

137

156

159

Northumbria

1440

1275

1140

977

611

332

229

North Yorkshire

92

100

147

185

183

282

329

Nottinghamshire

384

452

459

408

394

289

270

South Yorkshire

258

463

484

546

749

737

628

Staffordshire

232

281

255

216

171

250

244

Suffolk

163

270

251

153

202

256

193

Surrey

245

247

203

151

222

222

375

Sussex

248

204

280

187

190

201

331

Thames Valley

179

167

195

289

427

264

293

Warwickshire

130

149

164

124

180

162

150

West Mercia

117

91

197

162

122

155

202

West Midlands

822

902

1377

1264

1044

1557

2350

West Yorkshire

757

604

575

853

1335

1272

1130

Wiltshire

45

58

63

88

139

226

128

Dyfed Powys

28

29

28

51

63

72

155

Gwent

20

37

40

81

94

133

334

North Wales

302

259

197

223

350

340

259

South Wales

283

281

250

236

279

308

293

Number of Authorised Ffirearms Officers (AFOs)

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total

5776

5763

6096

6243

6584

6728

6780

Avon & Somerset

116

84

122

118

117

103

123

Bedfordshire

48

53

58

56

59

57

53

Cambridgeshire

56

71

60

60

50

46

49

Cheshire

81

89

75

76

73

80

72

Cleveland

85

80

95

100

100

105

97

City of London

73

72

86

89

86

45

49

Cumbria

92

87

89

90

89

90

97

Derbyshire

80

69

70

74

75

69

61

Devon & Cornwall

108

115

132

123

122

132

142

Dorset

57

59

60

64

62

67

71

Durham

86

102

97

103

100

102

89

Essex

180

184

186

202

205

220

225

Gloucestershire

71

80

82

93

92

94

95

Gtr Manchester

219

202

205

187

245

217

250

Hampshire

87

94

94

92

97

83

85

Hertfordshire

46

47

50

53

52

49

53

Humberside

96

96

96

101

92

83

87

Kent

113

93

90

94

94

98

87

Lancashire

138

129

122

115

123

103

143

Leicestershire

69

68

51

53

59

67

64

Lincolnshire

91

87

78

86

87

75

77

Merseyside

78

84

94

93

129

139

153

Metropolitan

1805

1823

2060

2134

2331

2584

2530

Norfolk

104

109

114

125

119

127

114

Northamptonshire

51

56

52

50

56

59

53

Northumbria

125

99

90

93

98

92

96

North Yorkshire

66

64

60

56

78

67

67

Nottinghamshire

136

131

138

138

149

146

137

South Yorkshire

92

100

98

122

116

118

106

Staffordshire

71

63

67

76

70

82

82

Suffolk

90

80

96

88

84

78

74

Surrey

62

48

53

49

51

45

54

Sussex

120

141

134

130

129

129

123

Thames Valley

156

180

172

176

180

186

180

Warwickshire

50

51

46

53

55

59

63

West Mercia

125

131

139

141

152

133

163

West Midlands

111

110

124

134

145

175

177

West Yorkshire

116

132

140

130

150

148

147

Wiltshire

71

78

80

74

72

69

67

Dyfed Powys

77

62

58

79

68

72

67

Gwent

57

60

71

74

86

64

63

North Wales

83

75

73

65

57

56

57

South Wales

138

125

139

134

130

115

138

Number of Operations InvolvingArmed ResponseVehicles (ARVs)

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total

11574

11848

13218

13137

14355

14515

16712

Avon & Somerset

173

215

249

312

167

192

292

Bedfordshire

172

269

414

419

534

639*

1171

Cambridgeshire

43

45

155

172

160

172

221

Cheshire

523

337

356

773

807

793

642

Cleveland

13

63

86

154

285

290

554

City of London

39

131

364

275

234

183

200

Cumbria

53

45

65

134

90

72

74

Derbyshire

253

363

312

254

257

183

187

Devon & Cornwall

76

32

94

54

54

76

120

Dorset

182

180

215

195

246

322

238

Durham

57

66

96

91

256

204

192

Essex

165

176

138

138

155

224

226

Gloucestershire

140

166

109

121

145

213

147

Gtr Manchester

528

406

440

364

306

214

196

Hampshire

116

108

128

167

178

270

271

Hertfordshire

81

129

157

155

160

226

262

Humberside

273

170

158

184

335

232

183

Kent

89

132

193

124

183

373

364

Lancashire

192

185

273

228

232

383

313

Leicestershire

292

232

269

232

328

313

268

Lincolnshire

470

367

355

276

210

147

153

Merseyside

974

547

687

677

611

644

734

Metropolitan

1667

2447

2423

2322

2572

2770

2303

Norfolk

157

186

169

163

149

133

165

Northamptonshire

25

90

99

89

101

119

127

Northumbria

1349

1204

1063

893

585

299

199

North Yorkshire

60

67

110

144

208

268

318

Nottinghamshire

333

397

404

336

342

256

246

South Yorkshire

221

280

322

438

632

522

493

Staffordshire

208

241

212

183

154

222

231

Suffolk

116

160

194

119

149

204

148

Surrey

225

240

190

140

204

209

380

Sussex

189

171

250

163

162

165

311

Thames Valley

174

167

179

265

355

227

254

Warwickshire

104

31

138

102

144

121

113

West Mercia

100

111

241

152

94

120

121

West Midlands

563

592

975

952

745

518

2003

West Yorkshire

609

565

543

656

1040

1048

1098

Wiltshire

43

39

28

54

124

190

359

Dyfed Powys

28

29

28

48

55

72

135

Gwent

16

16

23

74

85

109

257

North Wales

265

198

153

180

299

295

221

South Wales

218

253

161

165

223

283

222

Notes:

i) Source: Home Office Public Order Unit, based on information aggregated from figures provided by individual police forces as part of the Home Office Annual Data Requirement. This was followed by a further quality assurance process involving the Home Office asking individual forces to verify and sign off their figures.

ii) * indicates revised figures for 2006-07 from Bedfordshire Police

iii) The information provided is a regular annual update of figures previously published 31 Jan 2008, Official Report, column WS49 and on the Home Office website.

iv) Home Office guidance to forces for providing these figures is contained within the booklet: “Annual Data Requirement, Police Personnel and Performance Data, Notes for Guidance”. For the purpose of this statistical return AFOs are deemed to be deployed when “they are required to conduct a specific task during which their possession of a firearm (with appropriate authorisation) is a required element”—Chapter 3, paragraph 3.1 ACPO Manual of Guidance.

v) In addition to the total number of operations, a further sub-category is required regarding those operations where the initial or sole response is by Armed Response Vehicle (ARV).

vi) Each incident will be classed as only one operation regardless of the number of personnel/deployments or tactics employed to deal with the incident.

vii) Deployments also include those incidents where AFOs “self-authorise”.

viii) The number of officers authorised to use firearms as at 31 March 2008.

Number of Incidents where Conventional Firearms were Used

Year

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Incidents

11

10

4

5

9

3

7

% of Incidents Compared with Number of Authorised Operations

0.079

0.067

0.024

0.031

0.048

0.017

0.033

Notes:

i) Information on number of incidents provided by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)