The Independent Police Complaints Commission has made a bold move to reassure police officers who want to be firearms officers within the UK.
They made the statement following a fear in the shortage of trained armed officers within the UK who won’t become fire armes officers over fear of investigation for doing the job they are trained todo.
They highlighted that they were aware of officers not wanting to take up the role due to fear of suspension and arrest after firing a single bullet during a live spilt second armed policing incident.
The IPCC have made it very clear that they are aware when conducting fire arms investigations that they fire arms officers face challenging and dangerous circumstances.
However highlighted that armed officers have impunity hence the need for an independent investigation where a fatality occurs.
The IPCC further confirms that within 12 years of investigating 29 fatal police shootings the IPCC has only used its power of arrest once.
Within most of these 29 cases they have treat all officers as witnesses and found no basis for disciplinary or criminal proceedings.
Dame Anne Owers said “In the Woolwich terrorist-related shooting, we found that officers acted reasonably in the circumstances.
“It is therefore very disappointing that some in the police service, without benefit of our evidence, are using a single case to cast doubt on our potential actions in a major terrorist incident.
” The test in all such situations is what officers genuinely believed, given the circumstances. We are well aware that, in the event of a marauding terrorist attack, firearms officers will be on the front line, making split-second decisions to protect the public, and our approach to investigation will clearly have to take account of the realities on the ground.
“Our independent scrutiny should not cause any officer to be concerned about taking on a firearms role. Those within the police service should be careful about stoking such fears, and of appearing to be resistant to robust investigation when it actually happens.
“It is in all our interests, and those of the public, that we are able to obtain best evidence as quickly as possible, and the cooperation of officers and the service is crucial in this.”