More armed police deployed

More operations involving armed officers were undertaken in the Cleveland Police area last year, new figures show

By Will Grimond
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 1:00 pm
More armed police operations.
More armed police operations.

Home Office figures show armed police officers were deployed 445 times by Cleveland Police in the year to March – an increase of 21% from the year before, when there were 369 firearms operations.

In England and Wales, the number of police firearms operations stayed largely the same – at 18,259, compared to 18,245 the year before.

The Government has encouraged police forces to deploy 'less lethal' weapons – which aim to incapacitate suspects, rather than cause long-term harm – as a means of reducing the number of firearms being used.

Separate figures show there were over 34,000 incidents involving ‘conducted energy devices’ such as TASERs, in the year to March 2021 – including 405 in the Cleveland force area.

This was an increase of seven per cent from the year before, and more than double the 17,000 in 2017-18.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We’re committed to giving the police the resources they need to fight crime.

"That’s why we’ve given policing an additional £1.1bn this year and are recruiting 20,000 additional officers across England and Wales.

Human rights charity Liberty says it agrees with the use of firearms being reduced.

But Emmanuelle Andrews, policy and campaigns manager at the charity, said: "We agree that use of firearms should be rolled back, but it’s important to remember that they are not the only dangerous weapons in the police’s toolkit.

"Supposedly ‘less lethal’ weapons like TASERs can and do kill .”