Armed police in call-out increase

FIREARMS police in Suffolk are being called to around five incidents every week, The Evening Star can reveal today.New figures show that firearms were authorised for a total of 258 operations in the county in 2007/8, which works out at an average of 4.

FIREARMS police in Suffolk are being called to around five incidents every week, The Evening Star can reveal today.

New figures show that firearms were authorised for a total of 258 operations in the county in 2007/8, which works out at an average of 4.96 times a week.

The statistics show that year to be the second busiest in recent times for firearms officers - in 2002/3 firearms officers attended 270 operations.

Police say the figures do not necessarily show that serious crime is on the rise as the majority of incidents dealt with turn out to be relatively minor offences.

However, figures for crimes involving firearms are on the rise although not every incident leads to an armed response as criminals have often left the scene by the time police are informed.

In 1997 there were five crimes recorded by Suffolk police in which firearms were reported to have been used.

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In 2005/06, the latest year for which figures are available, this figure stood at 58.

The most recent figures showing how often firearms officers are called upon include occasions when officers trained to use tasers have been called out.

Inspector Alex Morrison, head of firearms at Suffolk police, said: “What we are finding is we are being called to a lot more incidents that do not involve a firearm.

“The majority of times are for spontaneous incidents, someone phoning in with information and we have to deploy firearms

“A lot of the incidents we respond to relate to someone with a blade, threatening to harm themselves or others.

“Sometimes it is to a report of someone with a gun and it transpires to be a BB gun or a replica.”

n. Are you concerned about crime levels in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08

Suffolk 180 193 174 165 176 163 270 251 153 202 258

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