List of police firearms in the United Kingdom

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Law enforcement
in the United Kingdom
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British police officers are not routinely armed.[1] Instead, they rely on specially trained Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO) to attend incidents where firearms might be needed. Specialist Firearms Officers are usually trained to a higher standard than an AFO, because they are likely to be the officers required to enter besieged premises. The vast majority of firearms used by the British Police are semi-automatic. Police use of force regarding firearms is governed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Weapons used by Home Office police forces[edit]

An officer of Metropolitan Police Service guarding Downing Street with a MP5SFA3 semi-automatic carbine. It has an EOTech 512 holographic sight attached.

Firearms used by police officers vary between police forces in the UK. The Chief Constable and Police authority of each force decides the number of firearms officers and type of police firearms available.

Firearms issued to Authorised Firearms Officers include:


Carbines, Shotguns, and Rifles[edit]

Northern Ireland[edit]

Unlike territorial police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, the Police Service of Northern Ireland routinely arms all of its officers.[11] Officers are issued the Glock 17 pistol, phasing out the now obsolete Ruger Speed Six revolvers previously issued. Historically, long arms were routinely issued: either the Sterling submachine gun and later Heckler & Koch MP5, or rifles such as Heckler & Koch G3s, G36 K and C variants, or HK33s. The latter replaced Ruger AC-556 select fire rifles. Long arms are still routinely carried in areas of higher threat such as North and West Belfast or various border areas.

Weapons used by non-Home Office police forces[edit]

A Ministry of Defence Police Officer on duty with an SA80 L85A2

Ministry of Defence[edit]

Ministry of Defence Police[edit]

Ministry of Defence Police officers are routinely armed when carrying out their duties. Officers carry:

Northern Ireland Security Guard Service[edit]

Civilian Security Officers belonging to the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service who are attested as Special Constables[12] carry the 9mm Browning pistol.[13]

British Transport Police[edit]

Most British Transport Police officers are unarmed. British Transport police AFOs carry:

Belfast Harbour Police[edit]

Belfast Harbour Police officers carry Ruger 9mm revolvers identical to those carried by the Royal Ulster Constabulary prior to 2001, when on duty.

Belfast International Airport Constabulary[edit]

Officers of the Belfast International Airport Constabulary carry Ruger 9mm revolvers whilst on duty. Officers are also authorised to carry Heckler & Koch MP5 support weapons, similar to those used by the Police Service of Northern Ireland prior to the adoption of the Heckler & Koch G36.

Civil Nuclear Constabulary[edit]

Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) officers are routinely armed while carrying out their duties. CNC officers carry:

CNC officers also operate the armament on board the ships of the company Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited,[15] which specialise in transporting spent nuclear fuel and reprocessed uranium on behalf of the British Nuclear Fuels organisation.[16] Such ships have an on-board escort of armed police.[17][18] The Civil Nuclear Constabulary use a range of heavier weapons up to automatic cannon of 30mm calibre deployed on the ships.

Historic firearms[edit]

In the past, police have been issued:


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  3. ^ Guardian newspaper: "The Met points out that the weapon in question is the single-shot variation of the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun (the MP5SF)", 28 October 2009
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  6. ^ Wrenn, Eddie; Blake, Matt (27 April 2012). "Topless Tottenham Court Road siege suspect 'demanded a refund from the licence office after he FAILED his HGV driving test'". Daily Mail (London). 
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  11. ^ "Northern Ireland". Encarta. msn. Retrieved 5 June 2007. "Unlike police forces in the rest of the United Kingdom, the PSNI is an armed force." 
  12. ^ "Northern Ireland Security Guard Service - Forum". Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "The state of the Union - Brendan O’Neill". Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Statewatch News Online: UK: Armed officers from the British Transport Police to be deployed in early 2012". Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "PNTL Fleet". Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Nuclear fuel ship docks in Japan". BBC News. 27 September 1999. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
  17. ^ Brown, Paul (20 January 1999). "Nuclear fuel ships to be armed with heavy guns". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
  18. ^ "UK British nuclear fuel ships armed". BBC News. 8 July 1999. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
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