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*New emergency number for police, fire and ambulance is 999*

Firearms Unit

The Firearms Unit has evolved over the years to mitigate the threats and risks involved in today’s firearms incidents and the increasing worldwide threat from terrorism. The unit provides an array of firearms capabilities, ready to respond to any spontaneous firearms incident, or provide support to any pre-planned operation. All of our firearms officers, firearms commanders and advisors are volunteers.

Authorised Firearms Officers

An Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) is a police officer who has been selected, trained, accredited and authorised by their Commissioner of Police to carry a firearm operationally. An AFO will be trained in at least one weapon, predominately handgun. They will have also received tactical training commensurate with the role they perform. AFOs are trained to respond to incidents involving armed or dangerous individuals requiring a firearms response in support of firearms officers of the Armed Response Unit.


Armed Response Unit

The Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) is crewed by specifically trained armed response officers from the Armed Response Unit (ARU) who are routinely armed and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Within this unit are highly trained and motivated officers who respond to incidents involving armed or dangerous individuals requiring a firearms response.

These officers have specialist skills and protective equipment, which facilitate entry to premises, enhanced first aid skills and less lethal options. ARU officers are trained and equipped to be deployed in support of their unarmed colleagues by dealing with both spontaneous incidents and pre-planned operations where people are or suspected to be armed with firearms, knives or other potentially lethal weapons.

Some of these people will be involved in crime; a significant number of others will be suffering from mental illness or at points of crisis within their lives, posing a danger to themselves and others.  Trained to the very highest national standards these armed response officers work and train in a demanding environment in order to fulfil their key role in protecting our community. When not engaged in armed incidents, our armed response officers provide support to;

• Local policing
• Road safety
• Community engagement
• Force Operations
• Firearms & Explosives Licensing

Our Firearms instructors are highly trained individuals and have completed the UK College of Policing national police training course. They have also completed:

  • Other specialised training courses
  • Commanders and advisors courses
  • Training in specialised weapons and less lethal weapons

Our instructors ensure appropriate training is delivered to our AFOs throughout the year which meets the current Strategic Threat & Risk Assessment in order to maintain our AFOs current and competent within their roles.