§ Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what special training police officers publicly wearing sidearms at Heathrow and Gatwick have received in the use of firearms; what instructions they have for the use of such firearms in terminal buildings; and how many times such firearms have been fired in the past 12 months.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
All police officers who are authorised to carry firearms must undergo initially the basic 10-day firearms training course, and then attend two-day refresher courses four times a year. An officer must qualify on each occasion in order to retain his authorisation certificate. All authorised firearms officers are made fully aware that under section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967'a person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in the effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large',and that responsibility for the use of the firearm is an individual decision which may have to be justified in legal proceedings. I understand that during the last 12 months firearms have been fired by officers stationed at Heathrow and Gatwick only for training purposes.