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Hampshire and IOW police officers respond to survey on routine arming

Following the terrorist attacks across Europe many officers raised concerns about their vulnerability as we are an unarmed force. The Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation has called for a National debate on this contentious issue but also wanted to know what officers felt about routine arming.

As a result in April 2016 a survey was sent to all 2830 police officers across Hampshire Constabulary asking them a variety of questions on routine arming within policing. 1032 responses were received from officers of all ranks working across all areas of the Constabulary.

39% of those surveyed supported routine arming of all officers whilst 46% were against it. 51% of officers surveyed said there should be more firearms officers available but not routine arming for all.

When asked if officers would be prepared to carry a firearm if required 73% said they would whilst 19% said they wouldn't with the remainder being unsure.

Reacting to the survey results, John Apter, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation said, "despite the threat they face police officers are not shouting from the rooftops to be routinely armed. Those 39% of officers who do support routine arming is a significant number and demonstrates the views of officers has changed over the past 10 years. It is important their views are not ignored.

"It is clear that officers demand that there are more firearms officers available, this is why the increase in firearm officer numbers is something I fully support.

"Over recent years the overall number of firearms officers has reduced so this latest increase is important and very much needed. The type of threat we face is unprecedented and evolving, this is why it is important that we don't shy away from difficult discussions such as routine arming of police officers. Policing needs to move with the times, our officers and the public deserve nothing less."

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