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Police: Firearms

Volume 604: debated on Thursday 14 January 2016

13. What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the law on the discharge of firearms by police officers. (903037)

For the purposes of clarity, Mr Speaker, I am not a member of the Welsh legal fraternity either.

In the aftermath of the tragic events in Paris last month, the Prime Minister asked for a review into the legal framework and investigatory processes relating to incidents involving police use of firearms. I will play my part in that review, which will conclude later this year.

My name may suggest otherwise, but Wales is not my home.

Last week I met the chief constable of Sussex police. We agreed that our firearms officers do a job that is difficult and often dangerous, and that they are more likely than ever to be called on to protect the public. They fully understand, quite rightly, that they will need to account for their actions if they use lethal force. Is the Attorney General comfortable that our investigating authorities support this difficult balance?

I agree with my hon. Friend. As he says, it is important that incidents are properly investigated, but it is also important we recognise the need to treat police officers fairly. If, as we do, we need to recruit more police officers to do the difficult work of using firearms, and we need to retain experienced officers who already do that work, then they need to feel as though the system will treat them fairly. That is, I hope, what the review will do.