HC Deb 18 December 1979 vol 976 c122W
Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list all the circumstances under which regulations now permit the police to be armed.

Mr. Whitelaw

The issue of firearms to police officers is a matter within the discretion of the chief officer of police concerned, and it is not covered by regulations.

The general policy is that firearms are issued only when there is reason to suppose that a police officer may have to face an armed man or, on a limited scale, for protection purposes.