§ Mr. Tony Banks
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to his answer of 11 February, Official Report, column 218, he will (a) name the police forces operating a system of armed response cars and (b) give the number of officers deployed in each scheme of armed response; when the patrols were authorised by the relevant police authority; what equipment the response units use; on how many occasions they have been used; what has been the outcome of their involvement; and if any deaths or injuries have occurred associated with their actions.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The police forces operating a system of armed response cars are Nottinghamshire constabulary, West Yorkshire police and Hampshire constabulary. The vehicles concerned are patrol cars each manned by two qualified firearms officers. The number of vehicles deployed at any one time is normally three in Nottinghamshire and two in West Yorkshire and Hampshire. The Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire vehicles carry two Smith and Wesson model 10 revolvers and one Remington shotgun. The Hampshire vehicles carry two Smith and Wesson revolvers. All weapons are secured in locked boxes which may only be opened on the specific authority of a senior officer. A decision by a chief officer of police to deploy his resources in this way is not one which requires prior authorisation by his police authority but I understand that the police authorities470W concerned have been informed that the system is in operation. In West Yorkshire the number of operations in which the firearms in these vehicles have been drawn from the box is not recorded separately from other armed operations; in 1986 there were two such occasions in Nottinghamshire and twelve in Hampshire. Shots were fired by police officers in one of these instances in Nottinghamshire and none in Hampshire. There were no deaths or injuries incurred in the course of these operations.
My earlier reply omitted to mention that the Metropolitan police maintain an armed mobile patrol in connection with their responsibilities for protecting the diplomatic community.