At 1050 hours this morning, a 38 year old male was arrested by RGP Firearms Officers after being seen by members of the public riding a motorcycle, whilst carrying what was suspected to be a firearm at Waterport Road.
The suspected firearm was found to be a replica sub machine gun and he was subsequently arrested for conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.
Any incident whether of a criminal or security related nature, in which a firearm is suspected to be involved is extremely serious, with the deployment of firearms officers authorised in those circumstances. In addition to the possible danger posed to the public, firearms officers deployed to counter a threat from a firearm, employ measures that may include the use of lethal force.
This is not the first instance of firearms officers having to respond and despite previous requests by the RGP for persons to refrain from carrying, toy guns or replica firearms in public, this type of incident continues to occur, with potentially lethal consequences for the individual.
There have been numerous terrorist attacks throughout Europe and elsewhere, that have led to increased levels of security. Whilst there is no specific threat to Gibraltar, the alert state is currently ‘Substantial’ – an attack is a strong possibility - with heightened response levels in place as a result.
The RGP appeals to the public to refrain from the brandishing or carrying of toy/replica firearms in a manner that may cause public concern and forces our highly trained firearms officers, to make split second decisions as to whether a firearm is a replica or real. There are regular reports globally, of firearms officers using lethal force on individuals carrying replica firearms, we do not want these tragic circumstances to occur in Gibraltar.