More police willing to be armed, survey finds

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation
John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation
Haslemere Road. Picture: Google Maps

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MORE than three-quarters of police said they would be willing to carry firearms – but do not want to be routinely armed, a survey found.

Hampshire Police Federation got responses from 1,032 officers about firearms officers in the wake of terror attacks in Europe.

Federation chairman John Apter said he hopes the results will fuel a wider public discussion.

The survey found:

n 39 per cent supported routine arming of all officers while 46 per cent were against it.

n 51 per cent of officers surveyed said there should be more firearms officers available but not routine arming.

n 73 per cent said they would be prepared to carry a firearm while 29 per cent said they would not.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation said: ‘Despite the threat they face police officers are not shouting from the rooftops to be routinely armed.

‘Those 39 per cent of officers who do support routine arming is a significant number and demonstrates the views of officers has changed over the past 10 years. It is important their views are not ignored.

‘It is clear that officers demand that there are more firearms officers available, this is why the increase in firearm officer numbers is something I fully support.

‘Over recent years the overall number of firearms officers has reduced so this latest increase is important and very much needed.

‘The type of threat we face is unprecedented and evolving, this is why it is important that we don’t shy away from difficult discussions such as routine arming of police officers.

‘Policing needs to move with the times.’

Assistant chief constable Dave Hardcastle said: ‘We welcome this conversation with the federation and our front-line officers.

‘We take their safety extremely seriously and will continue to work with them to get the right balance.’

He added: ‘We are currently in the process of recruiting more firearms officers and our first new recruits have started their training. We are constantly reviewing our capability in this area.’