§ Mr. Sims
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many operations firearms were issued to police officers in England and Wales in 1988; in how many of those operations shots were fired by police officers; how many police officers are currently qualified to carry firearms; and what were the equivalent figures for each of the previous five years.
§ Mr. Hurd
Information relating to the police use of firearms in operations against criminals or others known or believed to be armed in the years in question is given in the table.
Year Number of operations Number of times shots fired Number of authorised firearms officers 1983 3,180 3 13,044 1984 2,667 6 11,873 1985 2,488 7 10,244 1986 2,453 1 8,395 1987 2,185 7 7,349 1988 2,227 2 7,194
The figures show that over five years the police have been issuing and using firearms less often. The figures 525W show the continuing determination of the Government and of chief officers of police that the police use of firearms should remain a measure of the last resort, and that traditional methods of policing should continue.