Police Use of Firearms


Policy Scope:

This policy applies to South Yorkshire Police Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs), those who are responsible for the management, command or deployment of armed officers, or are otherwise involved in incidents requiring the police use of firearms as part of their role. The only exception will be in respect of SYPs deployment of Taser, which is subject to a separate, but linked, policy and procedures (D51281). 

Policy Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this policy is to provide those officers and staff who may be called upon to deal with incidents involving the police use of firearms with the knowledge and information necessary for them to safely and effectively resolve those incidents. It is aimed at providing all police officers and police staff with access to definitive advice about their roles and responsibilities and the procedures concerned with incidents involving the police use of firearms and less lethal weapons.

Legal framework

This Policy is formulated in compliance with the provisions of the Home Office (2003) Code of Practice on Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons. ('the Code of Practice'). In turn, this Code of Practice is put into an operational context by Authorised Professional Practice (APP) in the section entitled Armed Policing  which provides detailed guidelines under which police officers and staff should operate in armed situations. 

This section of APP will be regarded as the overarching authority in relation to this statement of agreed policy, and the definitive source of direction in relation to the management, command and deployment of armed officers within SYP.

South Yorkshire Police will maintain comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) in relation to all management, command and operational aspects of its deployment of armed officers, which will underpin this policy document. The Chief Inspector of the Firearms Support group will ensure that all SOP's are regularly reviewed and re-published annually following ratification by the Firearms Steering Group or Nominated Senior Firearms Officer (ACC SO).  Where permissible, these may be accessed via the Firearms Support Group Intranet site

As in all other situations involving the lawful use of force by a constable, the following provisions govern the police use of firearms:

  • The Human Rights Act 1998 (which gives further effect to the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights) (S304)
  • Section 3 (1) Criminal Law Act 1967 (D386)
  • Section 117 Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 (D21571)
  • Common law provisions in respect of self-defence (D385) and Misconduct in a Public Office (D1216)
  • The Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 (S1129)

South Yorkshire Police must also give due regard to the following legislation:

  • The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (S1028)
  • Health and Safety at Work (Etc) Act 1974 (Health and Safety Intranet site)

For further information, refer to Force policy / PNLD links as above.

This policy should be read in conjunction with:

The Authorised Professional Practice (APP) section entitled Information Management and other relevant SYP policy documents such as D51512 Information Management and Compliance.

Associated Procedural Instructions:

This policy is supported by the following procedural instructions:

Police Use of Firearms (Instructions) D50103

Post Incident Management Procedures for Incidents Involving Death or Serious Injury in Police Contact D51538

See also:

Authorised Professional Practice (APP) - Armed Policing

Equality Act 2010
The Act creates a statutory requirement for all Functions and Policies (including Procedural Instructions) to be analysed for their effect on equality, diversity and human rights, with due regard to the General Duty.
In principle, this document has been assessed for doscrimination, which cannot be justified among other diverse groups.

Human Rights/Discretion:
The purpose of providing policy is to give an indication to staff of the expected course of action.  However it is not possible to cater for every possible combination of factors that would justify a departure from stated policy.  The Human Rights Act 1998 requires the proper use of discretion at all times and nothing within this policy and associated procedural instructions prohibits the proper use of discretion in appropriate circumstances.
Where action is taken that has the potential to interfere with an individual’s Human Rights, the reasons behind the making of the decision to act in that way should be recorded on the appropriate forms, or where this is not practicable, in pocket books or policy logs.

Review Arrangements:
This policy together with its Equality Analysis will be reviewed every 2 years.
Rights of redress for members of the public:
Anyone who feels that a member of staff has behaved incorrectly or unfairly, or who is dissatisfied with organisational matters, service delivery or other operational policing issues, has the right to make a complaint.
Initial action should be taken in one of the following ways:

  • Complain in writing or in person to the Senior Officer at the appropriate police station or to the Chief Constable of the force concerned.
  • Visit a local Citizens' Advice Bureau
  • Contact a Solicitor

Rights of redress for South Yorkshire Police personnel:
South Yorkshire Police personnel who feel they have grounds for concern in relation to the implementation of policies may, as appropriate:

  • Pursue concerns through their line manager.
  • Contact a First Contact Advisor.
  • Pursue a grievance formally through the South Yorkshire Police Fairness at Work Procedure.
  • Seek advice from their staff association or trades union.
  • Use procedural instruction D50241 Management of Complaints, in the section entitled Handling Complaints relating to Direction and Control. 

03 March 2003

Equality Analysis:
D50102 and D50103 - Police Use of Firearms.pdf (Attached below)



Monday, 13 October, 2014 - 00:00