A firearms unit is a specialised, armed unit within each territorial police force in the United Kingdom. For the most part, the police forces of the United Kingdom are unarmed; however, all have firearms units to provide the police force with the capability to deal with armed criminals. A police officer cannot apply to join the firearms unit without first finishing their two year probationary period, with a further two years in a core policing role. Firearms unit is the most common name outside of the capital, while that of London's Metropolitan Police Service is called the Specialist Firearms Command, or CO19. Within the media it is sometimes compared to the SWAT units of the United States.
Criminals are less likely to carry firearms due to United Kingdom gun laws, and the presence of an armed officer can often be enough to negotiate their surrender. One particular British police force has only had to use a firearm against a suspect once in its entire history.
Only three forces in the United Kingdom routinely arm officers due to the nature of their work; the Ministry of Defence Police who are responsible law enforcement on MOD property, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary who guard civil nuclear facilities, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Read more about Firearms Unit: Legal Status of The Use of Firearms, Firearms Intelligence Unit, Types of Firearms Officer, Firearms and Equipment, Alternative Names For Firearms Units, Firearms Units Outside The UK
... Specialised armed police units are present in foreign Law enforcement agencies where officers are routinely armed ... Foreign firearms units are not intended to deal with routine firearms incidents, as they are attended to by divisional officers due to them routinely carrying firearms ... Such units are normally only called upon when firearms incidents are of such a nature, that they require specialist intervention ...
... as in the rest of Great Britain, do not routinely carry firearms ... Instead, the GMP maintains a firearms unit to provide them with a capability to deal with armed criminals ... The Greater Manchester Police, Tactical Firearms Unit maintains Armed Response Vehicles, which transport armed officers to the scene ...
... not being routinely armed the force has its own specialised firearms unit based at locations around the county ... Response Officers as well as officers from the Operations Support Unit and appropriately trained local officers ...
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