Police chief content with Northumbria's armed officer policy

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, has no immediate concerns for the future recruitment of armed officers in Northumbria and has no plans to call on the military to support officers on the streets unless presented with a major terror threat.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 10:53
Vera Baird.

Commissioner Baird’s response comes following comments made by the Police Federation’s chairman, Steve White and the national lead for firearms, Deputy Chief Constable, Simon Chesterman.

Both have expressed fears that police chiefs might struggle to recruit enough officers willing to carry guns to tackle a Paris-style terror attack – in case they are treated as criminal suspects should they use their weapon in the line of duty.

Ms Baird, who was re-elected as Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner earlier this month, said: “As crime changes and the potential threat of terrorism evolves it’s essential that we have the right people, with the right skills for the job, to ensure we keep the people of Northumbria safe.

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“We’ve had a healthy response when recruiting for such roles previously and there is no evidence to suggest we will encounter difficulties here.

“The reported struggles to recruit are speculation – we’ve had good levels of interest from our officers before and are confident we will in the future.

“Northumbria Police works hard to ensure the successful recruitment of suitable, fully-trained and supported armed officers and wishes to continue doing just that rather than using the army to plug any gaps to do work that can be done by our capable officers.”