Police Federation

Time limits on firearms officer shifts under review

Federation working alongside chiefs following Anthony Grainger public inquiry

20 May 2020



The Federation is continuing to work closely with chiefs to ensure any changes to firearms policies and procedures are in the best interests of officers as the Government publishes its findings on the Anthony Grainger inquiry. 

Nine recommendations have been made by the Home Office on how forces can improve their firearms practices and continue to learn eight years on from the incident.

Shift lengths of authorised firearms officers are currently being explored by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing alongside the Federation. 

Expert advice is being sought to conduct a review of the necessity and practicality of introducing a time limit on how long they are permitted to remain on continuous duty. 

The NPCC is aiming to roll-out new guidance by the end of July. 

Body-worn video options for officers in covert roles which includes consideration of how to resolve some logistical and legal complexities are also under review alongside a project to identify a vehicle-based option. 

The public inquiry into the death of the 36-year-old who was fatally shot by an armed officer of Greater Manchester Police in March 2012 was launched by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in 2016. 

However, an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in 2013 found that the officer’s reason for using lethal force was honestly held, so no further action was taken. 

New evidence has come to light since and there are currently three new investigations which are ongoing – including a gross misconduct hearing for former assistant chief constable Steven Heywood which is due to take place in June. 

Police Federation of England and Wales’ Firearms Lead Steve Hartshorn said: “We are working closely with the NPCC, IOPC and College of Policing to ensure any policy or procedures based on the nine recommendations are appropriate to armed policing and the wider policing family. 

“Safety and accountability of all involved in armed policing is paramount to us and at the centre of what we do, but opportunities should be taken to learn and develop on a regular basis - not just after an inquiry.  

“The Federation will continue to support the officers involved in this case.” 


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