Anatomy of an armed cop

Politicians have always been wary of having a visible armed police presence on Britain’s streets. We are, after all, a peoples that pushed against the idea of having a constabulary at all.

In recent days however the sight of gun-totting officers patrolling outside the nation’s stadiums, at our stations and shopping centres, and on our public transport has increased massively.

Sickened by the horror of Manchester Arena and fearful for our own safety even participating in the most mundane and innocent of activities has, perhaps, changed our ideas.

The armed copper, once the symbol of a repressive state has, for many, come to mean reassurance in the face of an unseen and dangerous enemy.

Although terror threat levels have been reduced patrols of officers carrying Heckler and Koch G36C submachine guns look set to remain a feature for some time.

Security was tightened at events across the UK, with officers present at sporting venues such as Twicken, pop concerts including Take That in Liverpool and UB40 at Wrexham Racecourse, and for the first time, even beaches like Scarborough and Blackpool.

Security will be extremely tight in Cardiff this weekend as the Champions League Final arrives in the city.

But what sort of kit are the armed officers using to help them carry out their duties?

Buckingham University’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS) helped us break down the different weaponry and kit.

The uniform and tactical vest


A tactical style uniform with a good range of movement but able to carry a great many personal items including a first aid kit, evidence handling kit and speed cuffs.

Sidearm and torch


The 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, which carries 17 rounds and is effective to a range of 150 feet described as “extremely good in close quarters”. Also a Surefire ultra-bright LED torch.

Radio and Taser


Tuned to secure, encrypted firearms channel…

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