Armed police in England and Wales only fired their weapons twice during 14,864 operations in 2013-14

Only one person has been killed by armed police in England and Wales in the last four years

Doug Bolton@DougieBolton
Thursday 09 July 2015 17:56
Armed police patrol at the Remembrance Sunday events in London in 2014
Armed police patrol at the Remembrance Sunday events in London in 2014

Armed police in England and Wales only fired their weapons twice over the course of 14,864 operations that took place from 2013-2014.

This means that firearms were only used in 0.013 per cent of armed police operations during this period. In 2014, only one person was killed by police in England and Wales.

The statistics, released today by the Home Office, cover the financial year from April 2013 to March 2014, and show the huge contrast between policing in the UK when compared to America.

503 people in the USA have been killed by police using firearms in the first six months of this year - and in the first 24 days of 2015, American police killed more people than police in England and Wales have killed in 24 years.

The only person to be killed by armed police during the last four years was Dean Joseph, who was shot in the chest and arm in Islington, North London, in the early hours of 5 September 2014.

Armed police and negotiators were called to the incident after there were reports of a woman being threatened with a knife. Mr Joseph was taken to hospital after he was shot, but died on the way.

He was the first person to be shot dead by police since Anthony Grainger was killed in Cheshire on 3 March 2012, by an armed officer from Greater Manchester Police.

The number of police shootings in England and Wales has fallen consistently over the last few years - although the figures have never been high considering the population size.

There are 5,875 specially-trained armed police in England and Wales, but their numbers have fallen in recent years

During the financial year 2007-2008, police fired weapons seven times. That fell to six the next year, and only three the year after that.

Despite the very low use of firearms, there are 5,875 specially-trained firearms officers in England and Wales, although their numbers are falling - there were 1,031 more in 2009.

The vast majority of state and federal police in the USA carry firearms, a stark difference to the arming of police in the UK. However, they face more violence than their British counterparts - in 2013, 30 officers were fatally shot while on duty in America.

Naturally, population differences mean that the raw number of people killed by the police will be higher in the USA, as the population there is almost 5 times the size of the UK's.

However, when population differences are taken into account, people in the USA are around 100 times more likely to be shot by the police than British people are.

To put the figures on how often police in England and Wales actually use their weapons into perspective, you can scroll down the chart below.

They're not used very often.

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