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Police (Firearms)

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 9 June 2011

The latest figures on police use of firearms in England and Wales from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 show that:

The number of police operations in which firearms were authorised was 18,556—a decrease of 1,395 (7%) on the previous year.

The number of authorised firearms officers (AFO’s) was 6,979—an increase of 111 (1.6%) officers overall on the previous year.

The number of operations involving armed response vehicles was 14,089—a decrease of 2,475 (15%) on the previous year.

The police discharged a conventional firearm in six incidents (up from five incidents in 2008-09).

Full details are set out in the tables below:

Table 1- Number of Operations in which Firearms were Authorised

Year

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

AVON & SOMERSET

195

262

311

333

247

285

328

339

267

BEDFORDSHIRE

237

301

442

475

575

663

1,217

1,229

869

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

114

57

104

241

201

207

316

460

490

CHESHIRE

419

451

397

358

367

340

317

269

314

CLEVELAND

37

170

453

530

657

293

577

667

430

CITY OF LONDON

40

131

364

404

323

239

365

63

38

CUMBRIA

71

77

72

152

112

92

92

86

80

DERBYSHIRE

275

401

369

287

305

223

211

310

198

DEVON & CORNWALL

101

96

112

71

84

80

143

170

185

DORSET

184

193

231

223

263

354

258

369

351

DURHAM

89

83

156

144

291

340

206

181

140

ESSEX

323

312

275

296

432

245

529

529

444

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

165

185

127

176

229

280

162

132

175

GTR MANCHESTER

580

518

507

461

478

481

497

524

415

HAMPSHIRE

198

162

208

237

289

352

382

362

292

HERTFORDSHIRE

112

172

195

185

187

280

303

343

205

HUMBERSIDE

297

187

183

206

362

235

209

123

133

KENT

115

137

207

163

219

170

202

280

275

LANCASHIRE

232

238

318

241

240

410

388

281

245

LEICESTERSHIRE

300

268

295

260

363

334

318

347

280

LINCOLNSHIRE

477

392

386

294

220

157

158

133

73

MERSEYSIDE

1,020

628

751

733

669

727

829

556

701

METROPOLITAN

2,447

3,199

3,563

2,964

4,711

3,878

4,948

5,044

5,534

NORFOLK

175

200

178

195

175

153

174

274

192

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

43

138

148

158

137

156

159

120

109

NORTHUMBRIA

1,440

1,275

1,140

977

611

332

229

154

156

NORTH YORKSHIRE

92

100

147

185

183

282

329

289

272

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

384

452

459

408

394

289

270

245

194

SOUTH YORKSHIRE

258

463

484

546

749

737

628

538

533

STAFFORDSHIRE

232

281

255

216

171

250

244

209

183

SUFFOLK

163

270

251

153

202

256

193

237

225

SURREY

245

247

203

151

222

222

375

479

188

SUSSEX

248

204

280

187

190

201

331

331

227

THAMES VALLEY

179

167

195

289

427

264

293

344

319

WARWICKSHIRE

130

149

164

124

180

162

150

145

129

WEST MERCIA

117

91

197

162

122

155

202

171

122

WEST MIDLANDS1

822

902

1,377

1,264

1,044

1,557

1,063

1,109

933

WEST YORKSHIRE

757

604

575

853

1,335

1,272

1,130

1,367

1,512

WILTSHIRE

45

58

63

88

139

226

128

158

152

DYFED POWYS

28

29

28

51

63

72

155

92

71

GWENT

20

37

40

81

94

133

334

152

151

NORTH WALES

302

259

197

223

350

340

259

185

126

SOUTH WALES

283

281

250

236

279

308

293

555

628

TOTAL

13,991

14,827

16,657

15,981

18,891

18,032

19,894

19,951

18,556

Table 2 – Number of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs)

Year

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

AVON & SOMERSET

116

84

122

118

117

103

123

127

124

BEDFORDSHIRE

48

53

58

56

59

57

53

50

54

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

56

71

60

60

50

46

49

51

45

CHESHIRE

81

89

75

76

73

80

72

88

95

CLEVELAND

85

80

95

100

100

105

97

83

72

CITY OF LONDON

73

72

86

89

86

45

49

50

51

CUMBRIA

92

87

89

90

89

90

97

86

91

DERBYSHIRE

80

69

70

74

75

69

61

61

71

DEVON & CORNWALL

108

115

132

123

122

132

142

146

157

DORSET

57

59

60

64

62

67

71

79

65

DURHAM

86

102

97

103

100

102

89

82

81

ESSEX

180

184

186

202

205

220

225

223

223

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

71

80

82

93

92

94

95

97

108

GTR MANCHESTER

219

202

205

187

245

217

250

296

237

HAMPSHIRE

87

94

94

92

97

83

85

93

96

HERTFORDSHIRE

46

47

50

53

52

49

53

50

46

HUMBERSIDE

96

96

96

101

92

83

87

80

77

KENT

113

93

90

94

94

98

87

110

103

LANCASHIRE

138

129

122

115

123

103

143

105

94

LEICESTERSHIRE

69

68

51

53

59

67

64

73

76

LINCOLNSHIRE

91

87

78

86

87

75

77

69

60

MERSEYSIDE

78

84

94

93

129

139

153

154

141

METROPOLITAN

1,805

1,823

2,060

2,134

2,331

2,584

2,530

2,740

2,856

NORFOLK

104

109

114

125

119

127

114

106

111

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

51

56

52

50

56

59

53

50

55

NORTHUMBRIA

125

99

90

93

98

92

96

95

102

NORTH YORKSHIRE

66

64

60

56

78

67

67

63

64

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

136

131

138

138

149

146

137

133

91

SOUTH YORKSHIRE

92

100

98

122

116

118

106

99

102

STAFFORDSHIRE

71

63

67

76

70

82

82

75

85

SUFFOLK

90

80

96

88

84

78

74

67

68

SURREY

62

48

53

49

51

45

54

54

60

SUSSEX

120

141

134

130

129

129

123

123

114

THAMES VALLEY

156

180

172

176

180

186

180

180

193

WARWICKSHIRE

50

51

46

53

55

59

63

66

76

WEST MERCIA2

125

131

139

141

152

133

163

137

115

WEST MIDLANDS

111

110

124

134

145

175

177

165

180

WEST YORKSHIRE

116

132

140

130

150

148

147

135

156

WILTSHIRE

71

78

80

74

72

69

67

74

69

DYFED POWYS

77

62

58

79

68

72

67

63

64

GWENT

57

60

71

74

86

64

63

54

61

NORTH WALES

83

75

73

65

57

56

57

53

76

SOUTH WALES

138

125

139

134

130

115

138

121

114

TOTAL

5,776

5,763

6,096

6,243

6,584

6,728

6,780

6,868

6,979

Table 3 – Number of Operations Involving Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs)

Year

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

AVON & SOMERSET

173

215

249

312

167

192

292

231

137

BEDFORDSHIRE

172

269

414

419

534

639

1,171

1,188

819

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

43

45

155

172

160

172

221

366

393

CHESHIRE3

523

337

356

773

807

793

642

221

CLEVELAND

13

63

86

154

285

290

554

661

426

CITY OF LONDON

39

131

364

275

234

183

200

63

32

CUMBRIA

53

45

65

134

90

72

74

56

51

DERBYSHIRE

253

363

312

254

257

183

187

252

169

DEVON & CORNWALL

76

32

94

54

54

76

120

138

168

DORSET

182

180

215

195

246

322

238

347

349

DURHAM

57

66

96

91

256

204

192

164

140

ESSEX

165

176

138

138

155

224

226

391

273

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

140

166

109

121

145

213

147

120

100

GTR MANCHESTER

528

406

440

364

306

214

196

460

292

HAMPSHIRE

116

108

128

167

178

270

271

247

194

HERTFORDSHIRE

81

129

157

155

160

226

262

311

182

HUMBERSIDE

273

170

158

184

335

232

183

94

111

KENT

89

132

193

124

183

373

364

325

227

LANCASHIRE

192

185

273

228

232

383

313

279

239

LEICESTERSHIRE

292

232

269

232

328

313

268

332

263

LINCOLNSHIRE

470

367

355

276

210

147

153

128

63

MERSEYSIDE

974

547

687

677

611

644

734

445

631

METROPOLITAN

1,667

2,447

2,423

2,322

2,572

2,770

2,303

3,283

3,563

NORFOLK

157

186

169

163

149

133

165

252

176

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

25

90

99

89

101

119

127

117

88

NORTHUMBRIA

1,349

1,204

1,063

893

585

299

199

129

134

NORTH YORKSHIRE

60

67

110

144

208

268

318

287

267

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

333

397

404

336

342

256

246

197

175

SOUTH YORKSHIRE

221

280

322

438

632

522

493

387

325

STAFFORDSHIRE

208

241

212

183

154

222

231

192

155

SUFFOLK

116

160

194

119

149

204

148

206

189

SURREY

225

240

190

140

204

209

380

469

174

SUSSEX

189

171

250

163

162

165

311

248

177

THAMES VALLEY

174

167

179

265

355

227

254

292

272

WARWICKSHIRE

104

31

138

102

144

121

113

100

92

WEST MERCIA

100

111

241

152

94

120

121

128

148

WEST MIDLANDS1

563

592

975

952

745

518

716

739

689

WEST YORKSHIRE

609

565

543

656

1,040

1,048

1,098

1,361

1,203

WILTSHIRE

43

39

28

54

124

190

359

499

120

DYFED POWYS

28

29

28

48

55

72

135

80

59

GWENT

16

16

23

74

85

109

257

138

147

NORTH WALES

265

198

153

180

299

295

221

156

107

SOUTH WALES

218

253

161

165

223

283

222

485

570

TOTAL

11,574

11,848

13,218

13,137

14,355

14,515

15,425

16,564

14,089

Table 4 – Number of Incidents where Conventional Firearms were Discharged

Year

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

INCIDENTS

11

10

4

5

9

3

7

5

6

% of incidents compared with number of authorised operations

0.079

0.067

0.024

0.031

0.048

0.017

0.033

0.025

0.032

Source: Association of Chief Police Officers (Does not include discharges for animal destruction or during police training)

Notes for tables:

1. Revised figure for 2007/08 from West Midlands Police

2. Revised figure for 2008/09 from West Mercia Constabulary

3. Cheshire did not record ARV operations for 2009/10

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.

The information provided is a regular annual update of figures previously published and available on the Home Office website here:

http://tna.europarchive.org/20100419081706/http:/www.police.homeoffice.gov.uk/operational-policing/firearms/index.html.

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 on Police Use of Firearms).

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).

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

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

The number of officers authorised to use firearms as at 31 March 2010.