Police authorised to use firearms in Milton Keynes every eight days

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Police in Milton Keynes were authorised to use firearms at incidents where there was a threat to life – an average of once every eight days last year.

Thames Valley Police officers carried firearms to operations in the city a total of 44 times in 2012, but no shots were fired on any of those occasions.

Figures obtained by the Citizen show police in Milton Keynes were authorised to use firearms an average of 39 times per year between 2002 and 2012. The use of firearms is only authorised when there is a specific threat to life from a report of a person carrying a weapon.

The highest incidence was in 2005 when police carried firearms to 48 incidents in the city, and the lowest number of 29 came in 2008. But at no time in the last 11 years have officers discharged firearms in Milton Keynes.

In the first six months of 2013, police carried firearms to 18 incidents across the city, which according to the Local Police Area Commander for Milton Keynes, represents a fairly low number considering the size and population of the city.

“Firearms are authorised when there is a threat to life from a report of a person with a weapon, be it a firearms or knife or indeed any other incident whereby people are fearful for their lives,” Detective Superintendent Barry Halliday told the Citizen.

“I am pleased that we have a relatively low number of incidents where a firearms authorisation has been given.

“That they have not been discharged in the past 11 years shows that officers have been able to conclude all incidents without resorting to firearms.”