Are UK Close Protection Officers Allowed to Carry Guns?

Are UK Close Protection Officers Allowed to Carry Guns?

November 15, 2021

Close Protection Operatives within the private security industry will be tasked with various tasks and responsibilities, from protecting high profile and high net worth individuals to rudimentary personal protection and security services. Do any of them involve being in constant possession of a firearm? 

It’s a question we get asked as accredited SIA (Security Industry Authority) training providers. This guide should clear up any misconceptions about whether CPOs are permitted to carry weapons.

The Use of Firearms in UK Policing

Most law enforcement officers are unarmed while on duty. That said, every local police service has its own firearms unit, available only to officers of a certain rank and accreditation for using such arms. These units are only really called upon to respond to major incidents involving shootings, explosives or terrorism.

Given the current climate of civil unrest in some hostile environments, people performing close protection services have a crucial role in conducting risk assessments and ensuring collective public safety.

Large-scale incidents like terrorist incidents and mass shootings are few and far between in the UK, but the severity and impact of certain ones have led to growing concern from certain members of the British public. Many are concerned about their safety, which can lead to them casting aspersions on how armed officers are used. 

For example, in the case of the police officer who was shot dead at the Houses of Parliament during the Westminster terrorist attack, many argue he could have lived had he been armed. However, as the debate continues, the rules on UK firearms are unlikely to change anytime soon.

The recourse to the Protection Command of the London Metropolitan Police is always assessed on a case by case basis, with decisions on deployment made by the Home Secretary. To be approved, the need must be deemed a matter of national interest, a terrorist incident or demonstrate a severe risk to public safety based on gathered intelligence.

Importance of Private Security Laws

Inexperienced Close Protection Officers will be dealt a harsh reality check if they believe they can carry unnecessary and illegal weapons while carrying out their duties. Weapons like knuckle dusters, sprays, bats and so on are outlawed. Not just that, but carrying them with an intent to use them as a weapon is also breaking the law. 

If you intend to use any such prohibited weapons while on duty, you will be putting your career and the health and safety of others in jeopardy. Simply put, you have failed in your job if you believe you can carry weapons while working in close protection in the UK.

SIA Close Protection Training Courses

Advanced Tactical Resources provide scenario-based SIA training courses in four key fields, where delegates can achieve the relevant SIA licensing. These include the following courses:

  • SIA Close Protection
  • SIA Door Supervisor
  • SIA Conflict Management
  • SIA Physical Intervention

The SIA, which is responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK, has extended the introduction of updated training course qualifications to April 2022. 

For more information on our close protection training, please contact our office today, and we will be happy to discuss bespoke, scenario-driven courses that meet your needs.

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