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Lockdown reduced firearms incidents

Lockdown contributed to a drop in firearms deployments which have fallen for the second year, Home Office data has revealed.

For the second year running there has been a drop in firearms operations and one less incident where a weapon was discharged.

Home Office figures revealed there were 18,262 police firearms operations in the year ending March 2021, a 6% decrease (-1,131) compared with the previous year and the second consecutive year-on-year decrease.

Of those, 92% (16,713) involved an Armed Response Vehicle (ARV), a similar proportion compared with the previous year (91%). There has been a gradual increase in the proportion of operations involving ARV’s since records began in the year ending March 2009 (81%).

There were four incidents in which police firearms were discharged, one down on the previous year.

The two largest police forces, Metropolitan Police Service and West Midlands Police accounted for 34% of these operations. These two regions also accounted for the highest number of operations in the year ending March 2020.

The London region had the largest proportion of all police firearms operations, accounting for 21% (3,866) of the total operations.

The West Midlands region had the second highest number of police firearms operations, accounting for 18% (3,225) of total operations.

The London region’s total operations fell 10% (-414), making this a three-year downward trend. The West Midlands region also showed a decrease in total operations, falling 4% in the year ending March 2021.

Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) lead for armed policing, said: "The discharging of weapons is always a last resort and I’m proud to see that despite more than 18,000 firearms operations, there were only four occasions when our officers were required to do this."

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