Citation(s) from the literature library

UK. 2003 ‘Armed Support of Police Operations.’ Code of Practice on Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons; Section 1.4, pp. 2-3. London: UK Home Office. 1 November

Relevant contents

1.4: Armed Support of Police Operations

1.4.1 The police service in England and Wales remains a predominantly unarmed service. Police officers may however have to deal with persons who may be in possession of a firearm; persons who have immediate access to a firearm; or other situations representing a threat to which an armed response is appropriate. In such cases it may be necessary for officers to be armed, for their own safety or for the protection of members of the public. To meet all those needs, police forces maintain an armed capability, and certain officers or groups of officers may need to be granted a standing authority for the carriage of weapons requiring special authorisation.

1.4.2 Both the general public and members of the police service therefore expect

a) that police use of weapons requiring special authorisation will be kept to the necessary minimum consistent with public safety;
b) that in order to reduce the risk of death or serious injury, the equipment available to police forces should include less lethal weapons and munitions; and
c) that when police operations result in injuries, relatives or close friends of injured and affected persons should be notified as soon as practicable.

1.4.3 Police officers who may be called upon to use weapons requiring special authorisation, those who command such officers, those providing tactical advice in their use, and those who authorise the issue and deployment of such weapons should be selected, trained and have their competence assessed and re-assessed to ensure that they are equipped for those responsibilities.

1.4.4 Whenever the use of force is necessary police officers will:

a) respect human life, and minimise damage and injury;
b) exercise restraint in such use and ensure that their responses are proportionate and appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with the legitimate objective to be achieved; and
c) ensure that assistance and medical aid are reendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest practicable moment

ID: Q6778

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