Number of firearms officers (FOI)
Number of firearms officers (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 07 March 2016.
- How many Firearms Officers do you currently employ (By rank)
- What vehicles are currently ARV's (Armed Response vehicles) By make, model and number plate.
The information requested above is exempt under Article 42 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011, as its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention, detection or investigation of crime in Jersey. This is a qualified exemption.
To publish the exact numbers of firearms officers and specific details of ARV’s, would give criminals advance information as to the operational capability of the States of Jersey Police in any future tactical firearms situation. This would give an advantage to any criminals who could either try to outnumber the Police available on any given day or they could make calculated diversionary calls to occupy resources during the commission of crimes involving firearms or other potentially lethal weapons.
Police forces in the UK have different policies on the disclosure of numbers of authorised firearms officers (AFO’s). In England, forces publish the figures for all to see. Part of the rational for this is that if required, mutual aid can quickly be provided from a neighbouring force to support resources elsewhere.
Scotland and Northern Ireland take a different view and do not publish AFO numbers as mutual aid is not so readily available.
Jersey is a small jurisdiction with limited resources. Mutual aid from other forces is not readily available, hence we align our position with that of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Public interest test
Factors favouring disclosure: It is in the public interest to know how public funds are spent and whether value for that money is being obtained. The public need to be reassured that their local police service has the capability to react sufficiently to any incidents involving firearms or other potentially lethal weapons. Providing specific numbers may provide sufficient deterrent to those wishing to commit crimes with firearms.
Factors against disclosure: If actual numbers are disclosed, the operational capability of the States of Jersey Police could be compromised. As a result, the safety of the public could be jeopardised by allowing criminals to outnumber police resources or use diversionary tactics to commit crimes using firearms or other potentially lethal weapons. The continued terrorist threat, although not specific to Jersey, must also be considered and disclosure may increase that threat.
On balance, it is believed those factors against disclosure outweigh those for.