skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 119440 Find in a Library
Title: Arming an Unarmed Police: Policy and Practice in the Metropolitan Police
Author(s): P A J Waddington
Editor(s): M Weatheritt
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 128
Sponsoring Agency: Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments
Lombard, IL 60148
Publication Number: ISBN 0-947692-09-6
Sale Source: Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments
641 East Butterfield Road
Suite 401
Lombard, IL 60148
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This report, part of a continuing research project commissioned by England's Police Foundation, explores the use of lethal force by police.
Abstract: Following a discussion on the organization and policies of London's Metropolitan Police, the focus turns to weapons, training, and issues in the use of force by police and whether police should be armed. Clearly, the use of firearms by police is highly controversial. The shooting of anyone, even in apparently justified circumstances, prompts lengthy news reports and criticism by civil liberties groups. It is suggested that more attention be paid to adequate tactical and refresher training for police. An even more critical need is to appropriately train armed police unit commanders so they are fully aware of what various operations armed police officers can and cannot perform safely and what tactical operations are available to them. The demand for the greater firepower of self-loading pistols may be reduced if ammunition issued to police officers has greater stopping power. An alternative to ball ammunition is necessary, since ball ammunition poses a danger to innocent citizens when it is used. The most acute dilemma is not faced by policymakers but rather by police officers who must decide whether to draw their weapon, to take aim, or to open fire. Sometimes, police officers have only a second in which to decide whether to fire their guns; if they make the wrong decision, they may kill someone unnecessarily or be killed. There is a continual need to balance police operational effectiveness against public acceptability and safety. 42 references.
Main Term(s): Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): England; Lawful use of force; Police weapons use
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.