Statistics released by the Home Office today show that there was a reduction of eight firearms officers between April 2015 and March 2016 but the police are still on track to deliver an extra 1500 firearms officers over the next 18 months.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Firearms, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, said:
“Following the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and escalation of the terror, we assessed our ability to respond to similar attacks in the UK and committed ourselves to recruit and train more armed officers to strengthen our response.
“Our recruitment and training programme is now well underway. This is a rolling programme with the majority of new firearms officers to be trained and deployable by April 2017. We are on schedule to meet our targets. Recruitment to those roles will be a challenge. New authorised firearms officers will be existing police officers who volunteer for a highly responsible and dangerous job to protect the public.
“Armed officers accept the high levels of accountability that come with the job however, they should be recognised as highly trained professionals who were carrying out their duty on behalf of the state, with the intention of protecting the communities they serve.”
The uplift of firearms officers was announced in April 2016 so this increase would not be shown in the period covered by these statistics.