Armed police operations rise to highest level in seven years

New Home Office statistics reveal that police firearms operations rose 19 per cent in the last year, with police carrying out 18,746 armed operations in the last 12 months.

The figures also show that police officers opened fire on 12 occasions, including the shooting dead of three terrorists to stop the London Bridge terrorist attack in June 2017. The 12 firings mark an increase from 10 in 2016/17. Alongside the terrorism response shootings, it is believed that rising gun crime is also a cause in the increase.

The three regions with the most armed operations were London with 5,142, 27 per cent of the total operations, followed by the West Midlands with 3,312 (18 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber with 2,130 (11 per cent). The biggest increase in firearms operations came in the West Midlands, which saw a 53 per cent rise in armed deployments, to 1,145.

The Home Office reported that the number of authorised firearms officers in England and Wales had increased to 6,459, a rise of three per cent.

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