February 13, 2017 5:57:44 pm
Nearly half of all Scotland Yard officers want more firearms specialists to deal with emerging security threats, a new survey said today. The union for Britain’s largest police force, the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF), found that 75 per cent of their members also believe that they should all be issued Taser guns.
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“We’re in a far more dangerous society than we have ever been and so we have to have the correct equipment to deal with that,” said Ken Marsh, MPF chairman.
He believes the number of specially trained firearms officers should be doubled to 16 per cent after the survey of 11,000 officers was completed.
“We’re not asking for mandatory arming of all officers, but what they are asking for is for more specially-trained officers. We have to stick to the stringent criteria and the criteria for handling a firearm in the UK is still the toughest in the world,” he said.
The questionnaire, circulated over three weeks last month and answered by a third of the 31,000 Metropolitan Police officers, found that 43.6 per cent wanted more firearms personnel.
A total of 26 per cent thought officers should be routinely armed, compared with the 20 per cent who said so in an England and Wales-wide survey last year; 12 per cent said they never want to carry a firearm on duty under any circumstances.
Scotland Yard Commander Matt Twist, in charge of armed policing, said in a statement: “The safety and security of our officers is really important to the Met, and the public of London who they put themselves in harms way to protect.
“Based on the threats officers face the number of who carry Taser in the Met has increased over time. Every single officer who carries Taser is fully and professionally trained to do so. This will be kept under constant review and if the risks our officers face can be mitigated by more officers carrying Taser then of course that will be considered.
“The Met continues to be rightly proud of the tradition of being a predominately unarmed police service.
The decision to carry a gun by any officer to protect the public and their unarmed colleagues brings a huge responsibility and they deserve our full support.
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