If you are seen pointing a gun at someone, the only response for the police is to send a team of highly trained armed police officers with a range of very real firearms. These officers will be supported by police dogs and unarmed officers.
What else would you expect us to do?
When we receive information that a person may be in possession of a firearm we have to take that information seriously. Our top priority is keeping members of the public safe. Very quickly a risk assessment is carried out to assess potential risk to members of the public, police officers and the individuals concerned. We have to treat the threat as real so we respond with real firearms.
Information from members of the public is taken into account along with any intelligence we may have. Our colleagues in CCTV control units around the county can also assist by monitoring the incident location and provide live pictures of what is happening to our control room.
Firearms officers, trained to a national standard, will always be deployed to a suspected firearms incident. They will be supported by a highly trained and accredited firearms commander.
Additional resources, including the dog support unit and the force helicopter, may also be deployed. Unarmed officers will also be on hand to provide support and reassurance in the affected community.
If an individual is believed to be in possession of a firearm we have to take the appropriate action. We cannot take the risk of not sending firearms officers.
We appreciate that members of the public will be concerned when they see firearms officers responding to an incident, but our response is always carefully considered.
Anyone who chooses to carry BB guns, or imitation firearms, needs to understand they could be challenged by firearms officers at any time. They could be faced with a real firearm pointed at them and an officer shouting instructions. The officers have to make a split second decision about if a threat is real or not from a distance.
The actions of those carrying such weapons for fun causes fear amongst other people. It is not a game.
During yesterday’s firearms deployment in Hanley officers recovered what was believed to be two firearms. Following examination these items have been confirmed as BB guns. A quantity of ammunition was also recovered.
Three teenagers arrested in connection with this incident have been bailed, pending further inquiries.
We want to reassure members of the public what happened in Hanley yesterday was an isolated incident and no threats were made to passers-by.
There is no cause for undue concern and gun crime in the county remains low.
Watch the video from the man who leads the Firearms teams in Staffordshire explaining how we respond.