Should the Police Carry Guns?

The tragic murder of two Police Officers this week has re-ignited the debate on whether UK Officers should routinely carry guns.  So where do you stand on the issue?

According to Home Office statistics, provisional figures show that 6,285 firearm offences were recorded by the police in the year to September 2011, accounting for 0.2% of all recorded crime. There was a 19% fall in firearm offences in the year to September 2011, compared to the previous year.  The main stats are as follows:

  • In England and Wales firearms were reportedly used in 11,227 offences, 0.3% of all recorded crimes.
  • There were 7,024 offences in England and Wales in which firearms, excluding air weapons, were reportedly used, a 13% decrease on the previous year, continuing the general decline since 2005/06.
  • There were 4,203 recorded crimes in which air weapons were reportedly used during 2010/11, a fall of 15% compared with the previous year and 70% below the peak recorded in 2002/03.
  • In Scotland the police recorded 643 offences which involved the alleged use of a firearm, a 24% decrease on 2009/10. The number of offences has fallen in each of the last four years.
  • A non-air weapon was alleged to have been used in 410 offences, marginally lower than in 2009/10, while there were 233 alleged air-weapon offences, 45% lower than the previous year.
  • 9.3% of all homicides in England and Wales involved the use of a firearm, the highest proportion since 2001/2002.
  •  In England and Wales handguns were the most commonly used firearm, with the weapon accounting for 44% of non-air weapon firearm offences recorded. Imitation weapons were used in 23%, shotguns in 9% and rifles in 1% of such offences.

The stats show that gun crime has been steadily declining since 2002, and in fact the number of incidents reported which involved firearms last year was well below half the number reported in 2002.  True, the number of homicides involving firearms increased as a proportion from the 2009/2010 statistics but you should bear in mind that the numbers reported (60) were exactly the same as in 1990, and the numbers are so low as to be wildly influenced by single events (the shootings in Cumbria for instance, accounted for 12 of these fatalaties).  60 homicides by firearm in a country with a population of 60 million would seem to be a pretty encouraging statistic.

All Officers now carry CS Spray and every force has Taser and Firearms trained Officers at the ready to deal with these incidents.  If gun crime is declining, would the introduction of firearms not simply amount to an overkill?  Would it actually serve to increase the amount of gun crime as criminals attempt to compete with the Police? Doesn’t the outrage that these murders sparked evidence a culture where such heinous crimes are largely unheard of?

Any thoughts?



David Mayor is a Personal Injury and Actions Against the Police Solicitor, who also has a penchant for blogging.  If you have been involved in any incident with the Police in which you believe that you were treated unfairly or illegally then give David Mayor a call for a free consultation on freephone 0800 975 2463, or contact us by email for free expert legal advice.


David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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One response to Should the Police Carry Guns?

  1. misbah says:

    yes but should police carry guns?

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