Talk by firearms officer an ‘eye opener’ for students

STUDENTS had an “eye opening” experience when an armed response officer went to their college to talk about his role within the police.

PC Ian Cousins, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, visited East Durham College, in Peterlee, to talk to students studying uniformed public services.

PC Cousins, who works for the Durham Constabulary side of the unit, told the students about his time in the police, some of the scenarios he has been involved with, and how he had handled those situations.

He also taught students about the responsibility that comes with his role as an armed response officer.

He said: “I’d like to think the talk has painted a picture into exactly what we do in terms of how we go about our work.

“I believe it was a bit of an eye opener for some of the students, especially when we talk about firearms, as I don’t think they have awareness that we have a number of police officers out there carrying firearms on a day-to-day basis.

“It was also a case of making them fully aware of our role.

“We are available 24 hours a day to respond to incidents where it is reported that people may be in possession of firearms or lethal weapons unlawfully, or where people have committed crime using firearms or lethal weapons.

“When incidents of this nature are reported, we are deployed with conventional firearms and less than lethal options to bring these incidents to a safe conclusion, at the same time maximising safety to members of the public and our unarmed colleagues.”

Course leader Gill Draper said PC Cousins’ visit was a “real privilege” and added: “We are very fortunate to have such strong links with Durham Constabulary and the students have really enjoyed their day and tell me they feel they have learned a great deal.”