Is it true that most police officers in the UK don't have guns?

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  1. colorfulone profile image81
    colorfuloneposted 5 years ago

    It seems apparent from reading reports after the terrorist attack in the UK that most of their officers don't have guns.

  2. Nathanville profile image94
    Nathanvilleposted 5 years ago

    Yes it’s true.  As of March 2016 there were 126,766 Police Officers in the UK of which only 5,639 carry guns; just 4.9%.

    The background to this is that guns are illegal in the UK and we have relatively few crimes or murders where a gun is involved e.g. in 2012 there were just 44 murders involving a gun; compared to America where 33,636 deaths in the USA was related to gun violence.

    Even the 151 fatalities in 2015 due to terrorism across the whole of Europe (which has a similar size population to the USA) pales into insignificance compared to the gun violence in America.

    1. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      One thing many , many people love to do is compare statistics from region to region , nation to nation , and culture to culture .     One person  states an obvious  point to  them  and then compares their culture to entirely different ,other world culture . Public records  acquisition ,  accumulation , dispersing and comparing is a dangerous path to walk down given the differences in  record keeping from especially , nation to nation , government source to government source     .    For instance , the terror attack in London MAY very well have been  stopped and even prevented  if there had been a gun in the midst .    One cop probably wouldn't have died - for one thing - . Statistic ?    That means that 25 % of the deaths yesterday could have been prevented .   

      SKY News Headline ---   - 25 % of the terror attack in London could have been prevented by an armed cop !  .............see what I mean ?

      1. Nathanville profile image94
        Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        You mean only one person would still be alive if he had a gun e.g. there were only 4 deaths. 

        1,092 USA citizens were shot dead by American police in 2016 alone.  Whereas in the UK only 41 civilians have been shot dead by the police in the last 17 years between 2000 and 2017; again it pales into insignificance.

      2. Live to Learn profile image60
        Live to Learnposted 5 years agoin reply to this


        It is probably important to point out that each nation chooses what is important to them, as a people, and are willing to accept some sacrifice in order to maintain it. I doubt the average Brit would be inclined to want their police to carry guns simply by the headline you are referencing.

        Europeans make comments about gun violence in America. They probably perceive us as a nation where everyone is packing with a trigger finger itching to use the weapon. We, as Americans, know how peaceful our society really is and how violence is only prevalent in the same seedy sections of town all nations have pockets of.

        We also have a history (brought about by European actions) of being very protective of our rights as gun owners.  Europeans have a history of war and atrocities against humanity which would tend to lead one to be against the ownership of guns.

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I also take heed to the lessons England has displayed  to the world , you will notice that England DOES  have  the strengths of deeply committed and very effective intelligence  agencies and   a perhaps more excepted form of law enforcement , prosecution and incarceration system .

          Their approach to the war on terrorism is less politically controlled , manipulated and seemingly  more effective .

  3. Nathanville profile image94
    Nathanvilleposted 5 years ago

    In relation to attitudes towards gun violence, this video clip from an American visiting England for three months is rather humorous: -

    1. colorfulone profile image81
      colorfuloneposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for your comments Nathan, and information.  That video is cute. 

      It must be so ingrained in me that a police officer has a gun to serve and protect.  I knew that the UK banned guns from citizens. But, guns banned from most of your police officers is hard for me to comprehend. 

      I don't pay much attention to statistics in the forums without a link to the source.  Here's a short video that explains why well, especially when comparing countries' stats.

      1. GA Anderson profile image91
        GA Andersonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the link Colorfulone,

        Its point is one that at least a couple of us here on this forum have talked about - over and over. Only to be rebutted by the very things your link points out.


      2. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Just a couple of comments about the link.  I liked it, but...

        Not sure how fair it is to compare "violent crimes".  I found that a big problem was that the definitions are far, far from universal and it makes the figures almost useless for comparison as a result.  Even "murder" has various meanings in these stats.

        Secondly, saying the US has lots more metropolitan areas is a no-brainer; we also have 5 times the population.  It's not the same thing by any means, but might want to consider that the population density is higher in Engand than the US.

        1. colorfulone profile image81
          colorfuloneposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Thank you!  I actually thought of you this morning when I posted that link to the video that I had just listened to then.  I thought you might lend some of you expertise.  I wasn't feeling too wordy this a.m. Mainly I just wanted to know if most UK police offices didn't carry fire arms.  I thought the video made a good point about comparing different countries' statistics, and I really do like to know the source of statistics.  I was not looking to debate statistics.  I'll leave that for you to do since you have a genuine passion for stats. 

          I'm about as low energy this evening as I was this morning, so I hope that came across ok.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Most UK police do not carry firearms, although the percentage is rising with the rising violence there.

            And you came across just fine.  I did not intend to debate this, just throw a couple of thoughts into the mix.

            1. Nathanville profile image94
              Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Thanks wilderness.

      3. Nathanville profile image94
        Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks colorfulone (and everyone for their views so far); it’s all been a fascinating read; and I found your video interesting too.

        The British people do love the fact that our police don’t carry guns; we wouldn’t want it any other way.  It’s not just guns that are banned in the UK, knifes are illegal too, as you might have surmised from the video I posted.  And it’s not just knifes; any item brandished in public that could cause serious injury can be classified as ‘an offensive weapon’ under British law, which can lead to a prison sentence if found guilty in a court of law e.g. a cricket bat, lump of wood or iron bar etc.

        In the UK the penalty for being in possession of a knife in public (even if it’s not used) is a maximum prison sentence of up to 4 years.

        The penalty for carrying an offensive weapon in the UK is a maximum prison sentence of six months.

        And it’s not just real guns that are illegal in the UK, fake guns, imitation guns, and deactivated guns are all illegal.  If you do want to own an old 16th century musket from the English civil war to use in public displays at ‘civil war’ re-enactments or just as a collector’s item in your home then you can only do so by getting a special licence from the police.  If you manage to get a special licence from the police to collect deactivated guns from the 2nd world war, you’re then prohibited from also collecting the shells.  Even toy guns are illegal in the UK if they look remotely real.

        I’m sure all this looks OTT (Over the Top) to Americans, but it’s the way the British people like it.  I guess it highlights some of the cultural differences and difference in attitudes between our two nations.

        1. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Hi again nathanville, I was somewhat aware of your "offense weapons" legal restrictions, but not to the extent you have described.

          Based on the content of your comment, I would say that particular British perspective is a lot more than "over-the-top," relative to our perspective - it's downright nuts. ;-)

          It sounds like a professional boxer's hands, or an accomplished martial artist's feet could be deemed lethal weapons. Even in an instance of self-defense.

          Geesh, who knew...


        2. colorfulone profile image81
          colorfuloneposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          You are most likely right, it does seem OTT to me. 

          I hope you do not lose the right to own and drive vehicles because mentally ill people use them to run down innocent people in the streets.  Or, have to have special licenses to drive that would cost hefty fees.

        3. Nathanville profile image94
          Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          HI GA and Colorfulone, yes Britain can be and often is heavily regulated in comparison to the USA, and at times it can be irritating.  However, on the whole we are grateful because it does provide protection to the individual and others in society; especially to those who would otherwise be vulnerable or at risk.

          For example (with regard to driving); not only have drink and drive laws become very strict in recent decades but speed limits are also heavily enforced.  So most sensible people don’t drink and drive and people are far more wary of speeding than they used to be.  Consequently, with these and other safety road measures, Britain is listed as the third safest country in the world for driving, with just 2.9 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. 

          In simple terms, the speed limits in the UK are 70mph on a motorway (unless overtaking), 30 mph in urban areas (sometimes just 20mph) unless it’s a dual carriageway which is then 60mph.  All other roads e.g. main roads in the countryside and country roads (sometimes single track for two way traffic) are all 60mph.

          Recently, an American from New York told me by email that elderly people in parts of the USA often lose their driving license.  I don’t know how accurately I understood him, because of cultural differences we often find it difficult to explain things to each other in a way that both can fully understand.  However, my reply to him was to point out that in the UK it’s generally drivers under 25 who are considered most dangerous because they tend to be more reckless and less experienced. 

          Also, in my reply I gave him the full details as they apply to UK drivers over 70, as follows:-

          After 70 you have to renew your driving license once every 3 years, for free; which is automatic unless you have certain medical conditions that could affect your driving.

          The medical conditions that may affect your driving include:-

          •    Dementia
          •    Diabetes – if it’s insulin-treated
          •    Parkinson’s
          •    Epilepsy
          •    Any chronic neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis
          •    Any condition that affects both eyes, or total loss of sight in one eye.

          If over 70 and you do have a medical condition that could affect your driving, before deciding whether to grant you with a driving licence the licensing authority (DVLA) will do one of the following:-

          •    Make a decision based on the information you provide
          •    Contact your GP (with your permission) or arrange for a local doctor or specialist to examine you, or
          •    Ask you to take a driving assessment, eyesight test or driving appraisal.

          I’m not sure how this compares to the USA, as he hasn’t replied yet?

          I also understand from him that Americans prefer Intersections to Roundabouts, whereas in the UK and across Europe, roundabouts are much preferred.

          In this respect, if you're not familiar with roundabouts you might find this video amusing: -

          1. Nathanville profile image94
            Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            I just found this other clip on the Swindon Magic Roundabout, England that might explain it a little better: -

  4. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 5 years ago

    If cops are unarmed, there is far less reason for criminals to be armed. It takes a lot of drama out of situations and a lot fewer people die.

    I doubt if armed cops would have made any difference in the terrorist attack on London Bridge, unless one happened to be in exactly the right spot, at exactly the right moment, by pure chance.

    Anyway, it is depressing to see an attack a couple of miles from where I lived for twenty years. The women who fell from the bridge will stay with me for a while, and those three French school children, too.

    1. colorfulone profile image81
      colorfuloneposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Aw, bless your heart!  Its very sad, the whole world grieves together when these terrorist attacks happen.


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