Two thirds of officers reject routine arming in new survey
Two thirds of officers don’t want to be routinely armed, according to the results of the latest Police Federation of England and Wales survey on the issue.
Just over a third (34 per cent) personally supported the idea of routine arming, compared to 23 per cent in 2006, the last time a similar survey was conducted by the national Federation.
And 55.2 per cent (44.6 per cent in 2006) said they would be prepared to carry a firearm if it was decided all officers should be armed on or off duty.
However, the greatest support (42.5 per cent) was for firearms to not be issued routinely to all officers, but for more to receive training and be issued with firearms as and when needed.
Steve White, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Considering the threats we now face, the resources we don’t have and the demand we can’t meet, we expected to see an increase in support for routine arming.
“Despite the atrocities seen this year, a terror threat that only goes up, never down, and prolonged pressure heaped on officers, they still hold on to the principle of policing by consent, with two thirds of officers not wishing to be routinely armed if given the choice.”
Similar to the 2006 results, male officers (41 per cent compared to 16 per cent of female officers), those in urban locations (40 per cent) and officers in front-line roles e.g. roads policing officers (48 per cent) and response officers (42 per cent) are more supportive of routine arming.
Figures also highlighted officers were concerned that armed support would not be readily available should they require it, with more than half (56 per cent) raising this, up 13 percentage points since 2006.
The survey showed a significant proportion of officers wanting improved access to protective measures and equipment at all times on duty. This included double crewing (68.4 per cent), body worn video (78.1 per cent) and Taser (74.6 per cent).
The Police Federation of England and Wales is continuing to call for improved access to equipment for officers through its Protect The Protectors campaign.