British police are to be surveyed about whether or not they want to carry guns. The Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) has asked London-based police, about 30,000 officers if they want to carry a gun.
The MPF said the survey was needed as officers faced a greater personal threat due to terrorism. They will also be asked if they feel they should be routinely issued with a taser.
Most police officers in London are unarmed with only a few specially trained officers and volunteers carrying firearm weapons.
Following the Paris terror attacks by Islamic State, which killed 130 people, the police increased the number of firearm officers in the UK. London, which has been identified as the most likely place an attack will take place, the number of armed police will increase to 600.
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MPF chair, Ken Marsh said, “The terrorism threat in London is constant and our officers must be vigilant and be able to deal swiftly with any scenarios we face. We are moving closer towards that by arming 600 more officers and I think it’s only fair that we ask our colleagues, who go out there on a daily basis, what they want.”
MI5 assessments showed that an attack on police officers was highly likely, and as such, the threat level was raised to severe in January 2015.
A recent national survey of police officers showed that 1 in 5 wanted to carry a gun, and 60% wanted to be routinely issued with a taser.
The MET leadership has said it does not want all officers to be armed and did not support the new survey from the MPF.
In a statement, the MET said, “The position of the Met and the commissioner is clear. We are proud to maintain the tradition that police in this country are not routinely armed. The routine arming of the Metropolitan police is not supported.
“About 92% of the service is unarmed and armed policing is delivered by highly trained specialist units. There is no plan to seek to change this.
“Twice in recent years the Met has increased the number of specially trained officers who carry Taser, and this is kept under constant review.”
The MPF said it will make the results public.