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2,500 police firearm operations carried out in West Midlands

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published:

More than 2,500 police firearms operations were carried out in the West Midlands in the space of a year, new figures have shown.

Armed police operations fell in 2019/20

The total for West Midlands Police in 2019/20 was down on the previous year.

As the two biggest forces, West Midlands Police and the Metropolitan Police accounted for 35 per cent of all police firearm operations during the period. In almost all cases, weapons were not fired.

Nationally, operations fell by four per cent between April 2019 and March this year to 19,372. This was 820 fewer than the previous period and sees the first drop in usage since the year to March 2016, a Home Office report said.

Officers' guns were discharged at people in five incidents, down from 13 in the previous period. This is the lowest number of incidents since 2013/14 when there were four.

West Midlands Police carried out 2,562 operations - seven a day on average - only behind the Met on 4,195.

Chief Inspector Jason Nunn, from WMP's firearms unit, said: "Dangerous weapons in the wrong hands can put lives at risk.

"The safety of the public is paramount and we'll continue to act on information and intelligence we receive.”

In the North East there was a 119 per rise in the number of operations (387), driven by a "large increase" in usage by Cleveland and Northumbria forces.

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But despite having the largest percentage increase, the region still saw the lowest number of operations taking place, the report said.

Some 91 per cent (17,687) of the operations involved an armed response vehicle - the highest proportion since 2009/10 (80 per cent).

The statistics also show the number of armed officers has fallen two per cent to 6,518. This drop of 103 officers in the 12-month period brings to an end a three-year rise in numbers which has continued from 2017.

The previous annual rises are likely to have been linked to a recruitment drive, the Home Office said.

The report added: "The proportion of armed officers to unarmed officer has remained stable over the last four years at around five per cent."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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