M62 shooting: Charts show difference between police shootings in the US and the UK

Just four people were shot dead by British police in 2016, compared with 957 in the US

Caroline Mortimer
Tuesday 03 January 2017 18:43
The death rate per one million people is 64 times higher in the US than the UK
The death rate per one million people is 64 times higher in the US than the UK

A man has been shot dead by police on the side of the road on the M62 in West Yorkshire following a “pre-planned operation”.

The fatal incident occurred near Huddersfield at around 6pm on Monday and three people were also arrested at the scene.

A further two people were arrested in a related incident in Bradford on Tuesday morning but police had said the incident is not linked to terrorism and have referred it to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The death marks the first time a police officer has fatally shot a suspect in 2017 but overall deaths caused by firearms officers in the UK remain rare.


According to justice charity Inquest, a total of 23 people have been killed by police in shootings in England and Wales between 2006 and 2016.

But it is a very different story in the US, where far more police officers are armed.

In 2016 alone, the Washington Post reported 957 deaths caused by police shootings and a community project, killedbypolice, claims six people have already been killed in 2017.

The chart below shows the number of deaths per million people in the UK and US between 2015 and 2016.


Even when adjusted for their total population sizes, the UK estimate is 64.1m and the US’ 318.9m, it shows that the fatal police shooting rate in the US is roughly 64 times that of the UK.

Data used in the chart has been collected from a study conducted by the Washington Post because although the FBI does attempt to record the number of shootings it is not compulsory for forces around the country to submit their data.

In contrast, in the UK all fatal shootings are immediately referred to the IPCC for investigation.

The figures are only available from the beginning of 2015 because this is when the first definite data for US shootings is available - Inquest’s records on deaths in England and Wales stretch back to 1999.

The charity, which primarily focuses on deaths in police custody, said it had collected the data from its own monitoring and casework rather than relying on Home Office figures.