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  1. Officers accused of acting like 'Keystone cops' as report blasts armed response tactics. Critical report: Nine firearms officers being deployed on seven separate occasions Date - 9th August 2018 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 2 Comments Policing in the aftermath of terror attacks across the UK saw armed officers engage in “completely unwarranted” actions as they pointed guns at innocent bystanders in a fast-moving response that bordered on farce. A highly-critical report has called on Police Scotland to apologise to eight individuals for 90 minutes of mayhem where highly-trained authorised firearms’ officers raced around the streets of Edinburgh acting like “Keystone cops on a wild goose chase”. Last summer, the Scottish capital witnessed one man forced out of his home in pyjamas under arrest, two women strip-searched and detained for 24 hours without legal basis – and claims of weapons aimed at eleven people on four occasions which the force denies. The force, despite facing a barrage of criticism from report authors the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner – praised its officers’ professionalism while accepting not everything was “handled well”. The operations in the early hours of July 22 saw four armed response vehicles and nine firearms officers being deployed on seven separate occasions on the basis of “uncorroborated” and most likely “bogus” information made by an unidentified man, alleges human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar. He told Police Oracle: “The PIRC investigation exposes a catalogue of failures and a horrifying disregard for the use of firearms, which could easily have resulted in the death of an innocent member of public. “What is truly shocking is that nine officers deployed their weapons despite not being authorised to do so. “There is no point in robust regulations or demands for more armed officers, if the ones we have fail to obey the rules.” PIRC’s formal report adds: “A number of these people were detained and searched on the strength principally of allegations made by an unidentifiable male and this action in a number of instances appears to have been entirely unwarranted.” Events, which began just after midnight, last under an hour-and-a-half. Armed officers police detained a man in a building before searching his flat and his car. The independent watchdog said the “balance of probabilities” indicated AFOs pointed their weapons at him and other residents in the stairwell of the building. It added there appeared to be “no legitimate basis for Police Scotland to suspect that the man had any involvement” and that officers who searched his home and car appeared to lack the lawful authority to do so. ARVs later blocked two cars – an Audi and Peugeot – with five occupants who were all deemed suspects. Three men claimed officers pointed assault weapons at them in a retail park at Seafield Road and ordered them to get out of their vehicles with their hands up. The officers later denied pointing their firearms at the men. One of the two women in the Peugeot describes how she “saw the gun's red dot on her chest". The group were all taken from the cars at gunpoint and detained. The PIRC report said: "Despite there being no evidence to connect the two women to any offence, they were kept in police custody for almost 24 hours, during which time they were strip-searched.” They were later released without charge. The PIRC report found that the only evidence at that time to connect any of the five people detained, to any of the previous incidents, was that of the unidentified man. The three men were charged with threatening and abusive behaviour but the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ordered their release from custody, and subsequently no criminal proceedings have been brought against them.” The report recommends the force apologises for the actions of its officers and provides “a clear rationale” for the apologies, examines and investigates the individual actions of the officers named in the full PIRC report, ensures that all officers in charge of or who form part of any firearms operations apply the National Decision Model’s principles, ensures that all ‘firearms incidents’ are identified and declared, to allow the Chief Constable to comply with his duties in terms of the Police Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006, and finally it reports back to Commissioner Kate Frame within three months on actions taken. Chief Superintendent Matt Richards, the force’s head of specialist services, said the incident had precipitated “time-critical decision-making”, adding that the officers were all “acting in good faith in what was a difficult and fast-moving situation”. But he admitted: "It is clear that on this occasion it was not handled well." The force has implemented a “thorough” review following the incident and a number of measures have been put in place to address the issues that have now been identified by the PIRC. He added: "We are also writing to the individuals involved to apologise and I want to do that again publicly now." View On Police Oracle
  2. The question of routine arming is a 'hearts and minds things', says firearms instructor. Black Rock shooting range The heightened terror threat across the country is reshaping the nature of armed policing amid a firearms recruitment crisis, a leading instructor has warned. Firearms training manager at Black Rock training centre in Portishead, Bristol Sergeant Tony Henley, has called for a review into how firearms roles can be made an “attractive option” and raised concerns officers no longer see the specialism as a career path. “What’s going to make the job attractive, because actually on the face of it it’s not the most attractive job unless your ego based," he said. “We are going into situations other people are running away from. "That has always been the case but we’ve always dominated in firearms. We teach officers to be dominant so we don’t have to shoot people and we overwhelm them with our tactics and our numbers. “What we’re seeing are various situations where that isn’t the case - we’re actually going [in] and could be overwhelmed. The odds are different especially if you go in with IDs [improvised destructive devices]. “It’s that uncertainty that is changing the way people are thinking about the role now because actually, I’m not saying we’re outgunned or outclassed, but the odds have changed. “We need to make it a more attractive option - there’s a shortage in firearms and firearms instructors.” He added he is concerned firearms is “not necessarily a career option anymore”. “We have ended up with people who maybe want to do a few years and then move on to something different and that’s a real concern because you have to know the business. “My fear is we won’t have the experience. It needs to be an attractive option - I don’t want to get too political - but that is not necessarily the case now. Do we feel fully supported by the government? Me personally, probably not.” In May the NPCC lead for firearms, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, admitted many officers are put off because they are worried they will be treated as suspects rather than officers just doing their job during post incident investigations. He also revealed police chiefs in rural forces are considering routine arming to help improve response times in local communities. Sgt Henley was unable to confirm whether routine arming is on the cards for Avon and Somerset officers but said the reluctance of frontline officers to carry arms could present a barrier to the proposals even if rubber-stamped by chief constables. “Do we need more armed officers on the streets? When you look at some of the attacks, in Nice for example, it was their standard police who were routinely armed who could engage with that. “So there is an argument for that. “Whether the police service as a whole would want that, that’s down to the individual officers. If we did a survey and said do you all want to be armed I think we’d get a high proportion who wouldn’t. “It does change the face of policing. “There’s a social challenge for every member of the public around what do they want from their police service and understanding how things have changed. It’s not as it used to be. “It’s a hearts and a minds thing. We have to bring the public along with us because ultimately we police with consent. We don’t run a dictatorship.” But he added the question of routine arming doesn’t have to be a “black and white situation” and suggested officers could be trained to fire a gun but would carry firearms only during critical threat alerts or police could make greater use of military assets. Sgt Henley described himself as a proponent for a national firearms service. “I’m going to make a big assumption here - the public probably does not actually care which force you belong to. "What you are interested in is having an officer that can provide the service they need. They don’t care how we accomplish or do things - what they want is a service that makes them feel safer.” View On Police Oracle
  3. Recruiting to counter-terrorist units is like 'filling a bath with no plug', DCC Chesterman said. DCC Simon Chesterman Talented police officers who show promise during their initial firearms training could be offered a shortcut to counter-terrorism roles as part of plans to address recruitment issues. National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for armed policing Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, announced last week Home Office forces have only managed an increase of 874 firearms officers against a target of 1,000, and he does not expect a separate shortfall of 100 counter terrorism specialist firearms officers to be met for another year. He also revealed the NPCC is considering plans to fast-track firearms officers who demonstrate “exceptional” prowess during training. “The general pathway at the moment would be that an officer would be an experienced firearms officer before they go into the specialist counter terrorism world, which is absolutely the right thing to do because we want the best and most experienced firearms officers,” he said, “However the problem is that by the time you follow that all the way through there could be an issue in relation to age. “You end up with a lack of diversity and you end up with only one recruitment pool. So what we’re toying with at the moment is when you get someone that enters the firearms world and does particularly well on their initial firearms course they could be selected and fast tracked to become a counter terrorist firearms officer. “But there would have to be a blend of experience and inexperience on the teams. We’re just looking at different ways of bringing people through to get more diversity and to enable us to deliver the numbers.” DCC Chesterman admitted officers are reluctant to volunteer for firearms training because they are “worried about their livelihoods and their liberty.” But he said he would not support a change in law on police use of force as current legislation is “very clear.” Instead he is more concerned about the perception among officers about post incident investigations saying: “We will be treated as suspects of wrongdoing rather than doing our job. “If you volunteer to carry firearms on behalf of the state and then you’re sent to deal with terrorists, serious and organised criminals, people who are very violent, seeking to do harm or present immediate threat to life we shouldn’t be surprised when occasionally people get shot. “And on those rare occasions, what officers want is to be treated like professional witnesses. “They absolutely want an open and transparent investigation to show what they’ve done is right. “For example, when you look at body worn [video] they absolutely welcomed the introduction… in forces that are a bit behind the curve their officers are screaming out for it. “They welcome that scrutiny but of course what they’re worried about is if they say the wrong thing or something goes slightly wrong for them they end gripping the rail in the Old Bailey." He added: “When there is a fatal shooting of a terrorist who has carried out an atrocity the officers are heroes. When we shoot someone whose involved in serious and organised crime there is outcry.” His comments came the day before The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced it is directing the Met Police to hold a gross misconduct hearing against a firearms officer who shot and killed Jermaine Baker, despite the fact CPS have declined to press charges twice and the MPS has rejected the IOPC’s findings. View On Police Oracle
  4. Full story Thoughts are with the officer and their family, clearly a situation none of us want to find ourselves in. Hopefully the investigation is concluded swiftly and sensibly.
  5. 'Arm British police' says US intelligence chairman Mike Rogers, Republican congressman who heads committee which oversees 16 US intelligence agencies, expresses concern over unarmed British police in face of a growing terror threat Republican congressman Mike Rogers  Photo: AP By David Barrett], Home Affairs Correspondent 9:00PM BST 22 Oct 2014 British police should be routinely armed after concerns officers will be targeted by a terror plot, one of the United States' most senior intelligence figures has said. Mike Rogers, who was visiting London in his role as chairman of a US committee overseeing intelligence issues, said it was “concerning” that officers in this country would be unable to defend themselves from armed attackers. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, the Republican expressed respect for “cultural differences” between Britain and the US on gun control, but said it should be possible to reach a compromise where trained police officers are routinely armed. Mr Rogers, a former FBI agent who carried a gun "24 hours a day", also expressed frustration at the British Parliament’s refusal to back military action in Syria, after a Commons vote last month which limited military action to Iraqi territory. In a wide-ranging interview the congressman, who chairs the House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also said privacy campaigners in the UK who opposed Government plans to extend surveillance capabilities would “cost British lives”. Mr Rogers, who travels with a US Secret Service detail due to the sensitivity of his role scrutinising 16 US intelligence agencies, said: “I am of the opinion that if police officers are under a terrorist threat I would like to see them armed. Obviously, it’s concerning to me. “I am an American politician who was in law enforcement so perhaps it’s not a fair conclusion for me to come to." Mr Rogers, who is seen as a contender for the US presidential race in 2016, added: "This is such a cultural difference when it comes to our two countries. “But if you get to the place where you don’t want your citizens armed here, clearly you can get to the place where your train police officers to be armed to protect themselves when they are the target of a threat.” Police across the UK have been put on an unprecedented alert amid fears Islamist terrorists may be planning to kill an officer on the street, with officers and civilian staff told to remain extra vigilant. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11180092/Arm-British-police-says-US-intelligence-chairman.html
  6. Ex-Met marksman Tony Long talks exclusively to PoliceOracle.com about life as one of Britain's most high profile armed officers. Mr Long believes more officers will be required to carry firearms in the future For the majority of officers trained to use firearms, pulling the trigger in a live scenario is a remote prospect they hope never to face. But for one now retired officer in particular, not only did this situation occur more than once, it came to define his career and shape his life. Tony Long, 60, was involved in three fatal shootings and received seven commendations during his 33 year career as a specialist firearms officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, a record which carries with it both respect and notoriety. The shooting of Azelle Rodney is undoubtedly the incident most associated with Mr Long and the one which has had the most impact on his life and career, as well as the lives of others. Rodney, Frank Graham and Wesley Lovell were in a hired silver Volkswagen Golf driving across north London to carry out an armed robbery on rival drug dealers on April 30, 2005. Being trailed by several units they were seen collecting three weapons which intelligence suggested were MAC-10 sub-machine guns. As the car passed the Railway Tavern on Hale Lane, Barnet, it was subject to a hard stop by armed officers including Mr Long. At the moment the cars came to a stop, the former marksman has always maintained he saw Rodney duck down and re-emerge with his shoulders hunched as if preparing to open fire on his fellow officers. It was this action which prompted him to shoot the 24 year-old dead and which sparked ten years of investigations, a public inquiry, a murder trial, and the end of Mr Long’s career with the Met. As we sit down for a pint in a grand Victorian pub in east London, a short walk from his old unit HQ at 337 Old Street, Tony tells me Azelle Rodney would still be alive today if he had just put his hands up. He said: “If I could have seen his hands and I could have seen they were empty, I would not have shot him. “If he had ducked down and stayed down without springing back up, I would not have shot him. “If he had behaved in the same way as the other two men in the vehicle and just put his hands up he would have survived.” When asked if, in the moments, months and years since the shooting, he has ever doubted his decision that day he responded: “No. Never.” Previous to the Azelle Rodney incident Tony Long was involved in two other fatal shootings. He shot Errol Walker in 1986 after the 30-year-old had stabbed his sister in law to death, threw her out of a third floor window and stabbed her four-year-old daughter through the neck, as well shooting dead two armed robbers at an abattoir a year later. Walker was later convicted of the murder of Jackie Charles, 22. Candid and full of anecdotes about ‘The Job’ Mr Long held the air of a man weathered by his experiences but not dominated by them. He tells me it was not until years later he realised the impact of his employment on his family. He said: “In truth it’s probably had more of an impact on my family than me. With the first two (shootings) I was a young father with two young kids, I was very ‘job pissed’, I perhaps was not as sensitive as I could have been to the effect it was having on them. “It’s only years later that people admitted they did worry about me. “The trial had a big impact on my wife, we weren't even together at the time of the incident, she is a very strong character and not the type to tell you when something is bothering her. “It was only after the not guilty verdict when she had five minutes of emotion that I realised how much pressure I had put on them.” The 60-year-old maintains the job has not had any real impact on him as he was always “prepared” for what carrying a gun on behalf of the state entails. He said: “In terms of me I would like to think it has not had any real affect as far as I am concerned. “if you take the training seriously you understand what you are being asked to do and when you do have to do it, it shouldn’t be a surprise. “If I wasn’t prepared for that I wouldn’t have taken that career path.” Mr Long, who authored a book about his career Lethal Force following the completion of his trial for murder, believes more officers should be firearms trained and the concept of policing by consent needs to be better understood in terms of firearms. He said: “I think the problem is that we have gone from multi-skilled officers to a situation where all of our authorised shots are now specialists. “In the same way that we have a lot more Taser trained officers now I don’t see why you can’t have officers trained to use a handgun rather than needing to be a specialist trained firearms officer, we have a need for specialists but you also need more general training. “The problem is the whole image of armed police flies in the face of this unarmed image we are obsessed with projecting. “I take exception to ‘policing by consent’ because a lot of people who use that phrase don’t really know what it means. “Saying that you can’t police by consent because you are armed I think is insulting to the Dutch and Swedish police for example, they still go into schools and talk to kids about road safety with a gun in a holster. “There is a perception that we cannot do this job without being unarmed, I think it’s nonsense.” As our pint glasses empty and the conversation winds to a conclusion, Mr Long tells me his future is uncertain following the end of his policing career but that he is not ready for retirement just yet. He is certain of one thing though: “The job will have to give serious consideration to saying to all recruits ‘when you join up it is on the understanding that, if required to do so, you will undergo firearms training and carry a firearm if you are needed to.’ “If the police are here to protect the public, then how can we do that if we cannot protect ourselves?” View on Police Oracle
  7. Obviously be aware of opsec in relation to this question, but do the BTP have any firearms capacity in the north of the country? Manchester for example. Or is all BTP firearms based down in London?
  8. Hi all, I used to be one of those fast paced PCSOs but moved to the USA and am currently working as a nuclear ARV for a nuclear power plant. One of my instructors used to live in the UK and wanted to know about working there as a firearms instructor. He was formerly US Army SF for quite a few years and is now a firearms instructor working at the same nuclear plant. I know he'll need a work permit to start with, but what are the requirements re: training to become an instructor, are there any disqualifiers for the course? I was wondering if there were restrictions re: anti-terrorism etc. but put it this way, military background, vetted for firearms instructor as per state law, and believe me the nuclear checks are thorough. Any tips would be handy, many thanks
  9. Fresh fears have been raised that cutbacks are forcing frontline police officers in Moray to spend much of their days filling-in forms instead of catching criminals. Full Story - Press & Journal
  10. GMP is to get a huge increase in the number of armed officers to deal with twin threats of terrorism and gun-toting crime gangs across Manchester , Salford and Greater Manchester. GMP to boost number of armed officers to tackle gun crime and terrorist threats - Manchester Evening News http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/gmp-boost-number-armed-officers-12164627
  11. AmIObligedtoAnswerThat


    Hello I have been on the forums (t'other place included) for just over a year now. I am 17 and am aiming to become an SC then hopefully a Police Constable. In September this year I was diagnosed with depression and prescribed antidepressants until January/February. I have asked my GP about it stopping me from joining and he said it wouldn't be an issue if I was not on them when I applied. I do have a question though; Would it prevent me from becoming an AFO or SFO (it isn't the only area of policing I would be interested in). I suspect it would be another hurdle to jump over in terms of interviews etc, that is totally justified and I am not moaning about it.
  12. The hero cop who led armed police during the siege of the Bartons Arms at the height of the Birmingham riots is suing West Midlands Police – after being transferred from the crackshot team to the force’s dog kennels. Full Story - Birmingham Mail
  13. XA84

    Firearms Query

    Hey all, I was recently at a police training site where we were shown around all of the specific training areas including firearms. It's been my life long dream to become a firearms officer (yes I know I'm in for a hard slog) but I'm wondering if there is any pre-requisites to becoming an AFO? I'm aware of all of the usual stuff like having to have a good service record etc but I'm curious to know if you can join if you have a fear of heights, sounds daft I know but I noticed at this training site there was an abseil tower.
  14. Armed police walking around Tesco in broad daylight http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/watch-armed-police-officers-walking-11409085 Oh my god they eat!!! On a more serious note, people should feel protected by seeing the odd cop wearing a sidearm. Especially, at a time where there is an increased level of threat.
  15. Hades

    Airport Policing

    Are there any AFOs on here working at any of the major airports? Would be interested in getting in touch with some as I'm off to a job which will be working closely with them so it'd be good to get any personal perspectives and thoughts from people before I get there
  16. Hi there, As an applicant; anyone have any details on what this is exactly? Thanks.
  17. A man has pulled a gun on five policemen in Ribbleton - but it failed to go off when he pulled the trigger. http://www.lep.co.uk/news/local/man-pulls-gun-on-police-in-preston-1-7638840 from the Lancashire Evening Post. was going to put this in my community area, but felt it was better in UK due to the more severe fact the... Let's be polite and say 'alleged offender' actually aimed and pulled the trigger. Absolutely shocking. mods, obviously please feel free to move as you see appropriate
  18. Dave SYP

    Police shot at.

    From BBC News: Belfast shooting: Heavy calibre gun used in police car attack 1 hour ago From the sectionNorthern Ireland Image captionTwo police officers escaped injury after shots were fired at their car A heavy calibre gun was used in an attack on a police patrol car in west Belfast, police have said. Up to eight shots struck the passenger side of the car parked at Rossnareen Avenue, at about 18:50 GMT on Thursday. Two male officers who were in the car were not injured but were said to have been badly shaken. Police described it as a "mindless, reckless attempt to kill officers". Dissident republicans are being blamed. Ch Supt Nigel Grimshaw said the police car's armour-plating and bullet-proof glass had stopped the officers from being seriously injured or killed. Image copyrightPSNI Image captionUp to eight bullets struck the passenger side of the car Image copyrightPacemaker Image captionA car that police believe was used in the attack was later found burned out Detectives believe the attackers made off in a BMW car that had been waiting nearby at Tullagh Park. The car, which was fitted with a false Republic of Ireland registration plate, was later found abandoned and on fire at Cluain Mor Drive in the Beechmount area. Police described the gun used in the attack as "accurate firing". One of the officers was looking through the passenger window when it was struck by two bullets.
  19. The family of Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police in 2011, have won the right to appeal over a finding that he was lawfully killed. An inquest jury concluded last year that the marksman who killed him in Tottenham, north London, did not behave unlawfully. The family is challenging a High Court ruling that they could not apply for judicial review. Lord Justice Sales allowed their application for permission to appeal. The judge warned the family against thinking his decision meant their appeal must succeed. He said their case was "arguable" and had reached his decision on the basis that "there is a real prospect of success on appeal". He added: "A further compelling reason for the grant of permission is that the shooting dead of a suspect by police is always a matter for careful scrutiny." The Duggan family and their lawyers argued the jury's conclusions were contradictory. 'Deeply distressed' The officer involved said he believed Mark Duggan had a weapon in his hand when he opened fire and thought he was going to shoot at police. The jury found it was more than likely that Mark Duggan had thrown a gun onto some grass outside the car, where a weapon was found. The three High Court judges who previously ruled out a judicial review said none of the grounds of challenge had been established. Mark Duggan's shooting in August 2011 sparked riots in London and across England which lasted for several days. His mother, Pamela, said she remained "deeply distressed" about her son's death and the inquest finding. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34647727 Another waste of money, maybe if he hadn't turned to a life of crime his mother wouldn't be in this distressing situation.
  20. A man has died after being shot when firearms officers were called to a house in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, police have said. Officers were called to a property in Duck Lane after receiving reports of concern for people inside. The man was shot by a firearms officer just after 20:00 BST and died at the scene. No-one else was injured. The Independent Police Complaints Comission (IPCC) has begun an investigation. Cambridgeshire Police said it would "not be appropriate to comment further" at this stage. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-34601154
  21. https://www.westmercia.police.uk/article/13811/Police-appeal-for-witnesses-after-woman-threatened-with-a-firearm-in-Telford
  22. Shots were fired at unarmed police officers as they chased a man in an Essex town. No-one was injured and five men were later arrested after officers were called to the area of Arne Court and Vaughan Williams Road in Laindon. The alarm was raised shortly after 01:00 BST on Sunday when callers reported seeing a number of men with firearms. Three men were later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Two others were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rob. Police have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-34565469 Stumbled across this news story obviously not that noteworthy, but could have so easily been another tragedy.
  23. A police officer is in hospital after being shot in Hackney this lunchtime. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/haggerston-shooting-police-probe-reports-of-shots-fired-in-hackney-a3091531.html Thankfully it sounds like he is going to be alright. I believe the suspect has been arrested.
  24. A police marksman who was removed from his job because he was partially deaf amid concerns he could have confused 'shoot' with 'don't shoot' has won a disability discrimination payout. http://dailym.ai/1GjEBov Firstly I do apologise for the source but couldn't find the story in BBC site. As for the story itself whilst I can see the tabloids having a field day with it, I'm pleased to see he won. No I haven't gone soft and swallowed the political correct pill :-) It's just I too have been subject to this awful hearing test that the Home Office recommend for the last 15 years. I have always hated it and old age isn't helping. But on a serious note I have absolutely no trouble with my hearing day to day or on an operational basis, but I do struggle with this particular hearing test. I am sure there are more suitable tests in this day and age that are more effective at testing the range of hearing needed for the role.
  25. More people are likely to die in shootings unless firearms rules are overhauled, a watchdog has warned. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies said it was easier to own a gun than become a bus driver because of flaws in medical checks. The HMIC said the licensing system for England and Wales has fundamental gaps and previous recommendations for reforms had not been acted on. Only four of 11 forces it inspected were effectively monitoring licences. As of March last year, 734,336 people were entitled to possess and use shotguns or rifles under the legal system for licensing and certificating firearms in England and Wales. In total, these people owned more than 1.8m guns. Gun crime is very low in the UK - and murders and manslaughters involving shootings are relatively rare. There were 29 in the year to March 2014 - and three of those involved a legally held firearm. Stephen Otter, the inspector behind the report, said that while evidence showed that licensed gun holders were very unlikely to be involved in crime, cases where individuals did shoot themselves or others, such as in domestic disputes, often had medical conditions at their root. "It is highly likely that if these processes are not tightened up satisfactorily, there will be another tragedy, particularly if you look at mental health and growing issues around dementia," he said. "Too often, forces are not following the Home Office guidance that is in place, sometimes inexcusably compromising public safety. Lessons from past tragedies have not always been learnt and this fails the victims of those events, including their families, unacceptably." Gun ownership in England and Wales151, 413 firearms certificates on issue as of March 2014 - typically meaning sports rifles582,923 shotgun certificates on issue1,837,243 shotguns and firearms licensed72% increase in licensed firearms between 1998 and 2014260 certificates revoked as a result of a review and 949 applications refused Each police force oversees licensing in its area - but the HMIC said the national guidelines were being inconsistently and inadequately applied and lessons from past tragedies had not always been learnt. Applicants must disclose any relevant medical condition and give the police permission to speak to their GP. However, doctors don't have to respond to the police request - and in practice many licences are issued without policing having completed full medical checks or speaking to referees. The HMIC said that these gaps in the rules meant someone applying to become a bus driver faced more rigorous medical checks than someone who wanted a gun. It called on all applicants to be subjected to a mandatory medical examination as part of their application - and said doctors should be under a duty to record gun ownership and, critically, alert the police to any relevant deterioration in health. Policing minister Mike Penning said: "The Government keeps the firearms licensing system under review to safeguard against abuse by criminals and to preserve public safety. "Discussions are already under way with the police and the medical profession to ensure appropriate arrangements for information sharing between GPs and police." Flaws in medical checks 'could lead to shootings, watchdog warns - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34248179 Sorry folks correct link now added :-)

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