Thousands of armed police dispatched to routine incidents

Freedom of Information requests reveled that thousands of highly trained armed officers attending incidences such as car crashes

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The Independent Online

Thousands of armed British police officers are being dispatched to routine incidents.

An investigation by The Times appears to show that armed police officers were dispatched to over 20,000 routine incidents, such as car crashes, burglaries and minor incidents.

According to information obtained by Freedom of Information, armed Thames Valley Police officers were dispatch to 8,709 routine call-outs in 2014.

Chairwomen of the Gun Control Network Gill Marshall-Andrews said she did not want armed police arriving on everyday incidents.

“You do not make police safe by carrying weapons, you up the ante,” she told The Times.

These routine calls seemingly make up the bulk of the UK’s 6,000 armed officers’ workload.

But Simon Chesterman, the national spokesman for armed policing defended the use of armed officers on routine deployments.

“If we restrict them to firearms deployments only, it is an appalling use of public money,” he told The Times.

Armed police are registered and authorised to carry a holstered handguns on routine jobs, but heavy-duty weaponry – machineguns and the like – must be locked in their vehicles.

43 police constabularies were included in the FOI, but less than half responded with many responding with partial information or rejected the request.