London

Nearly half of Met PCs want increase in firearm officers

  • 13 February 2017
  • From the section London
Armed police officers Image copyright PA
Image caption About 11,000 officers took part in the staff survey

Nearly half of Met Police officers believe the force should have its firearms capability increased, a staff survey has found.

The poll, carried out by the Met Police Federation, was launched to gauge attitudes towards firearms amid the enduring threat of terrorism.

Of the 11,000 officers who responded, only 6% believed there was "adequate" quantity of gun-carrying officers.

The Met has said it would increase firearm officer numbers by 600.

The threat level for international terrorism in the UK has been severe - meaning an attack is highly likely - since August 2014.

The poll found 43% said there should be more specialist firearm officers, while 26% said they believed all should be routinely armed. Some 12% said they would not carry a firearm under any circumstances.

Metropolitan Police and firearms

Figures as at March 2016

2,139

authorised firearms officers

6.7%

of the total police ranks

  • 3,974 police firearms operations between March 2015 and March 2016

  • 7 incidents where police firearms were discharged in 2015-16

Getty Images

There was also strong support for Tasers, with 75% indicating that all officers should have one.

Does the presence of armed police reassure people?

Ken Marsh, chairman of the federation, said: "London is a major world capital and our members are tasked with keeping the millions who live here and tourists who flock to visit the city safe and secure.

"It is more important than ever that Metropolitan Police officers have the right equipment to keep themselves, their colleagues and the public safe."

He added: "We often hear people talk about what police officers want and we can now say with some certainty that our members feel that more Met Police officers should be carrying a Taser on London streets."

Scotland Yard has said it did not support the routine arming of officers.

Nationally, the number of armed police is being increased by 1,500.

Unlike most other countries, most officers in the UK are unarmed.

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