The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Armed Policing in England

Armed Policing in England
Armed Policing in England
This thesis finds that armed police officers do not report experiencing a lack of legitimacy when interacting with members of the public in Great Britain during their routine duties. Instead, firearms officers believe that there are aspects of their role that frustrate their ability to build legitimacy in the same ways as their unarmed colleagues do. However, firearms officers do identify alternate ways of building both self-legitimacy and organisational legitimacy. These alternate ways are most visible in the aftermath of a critical incident. The findings also indicate that there is a distinct firearms officer culture. Aspects of the armed police role mean that firearms officers are in pursuit of challenge and excitement. However, within this culture, there is a noticeable lack of specific enthusiasm for firearms themselves. Further to this, existing hierarchical and cultural conflicts are evident in the discussions between firearms officers and the force control room surrounding the authorising of firearms deployments. Finally, firearms officers oppose the routine arming of the police. Instead, for their sense of safety, firearms officers place an emphasis on other factors such as improved communication skills, carrying TASERs and always patrolling in pairs. Armed policing in Great Britain remains an under-explored and difficult to access area of research. With a history of ‘unarmed exceptionalism’, the position of Authorised Firearms Officers in Great Britain is precarious. It is assumed that armed police are delegitimising and threaten the notions of ‘Policing by Consent’ and ‘Procedural Justice’. With a large increase in the number of firearms officers in 2017 and an ongoing debate about the routine arming of police officers, it is important and instructive to assess existing interactions between the public and armed police.

This research examines the interactions between armed police and the public. It examines the circumstances in which armed officers interact with the public, how the public behave during those encounters and how armed officers construct their sense of legitimacy in relation to these encounters. Using an ethnographic approach, this research accompanied Authorised Firearms Officers as they performed their daily duties in Armed Response Vehicles across two police jurisdictions. Semi-Structured Interviews were also conducted. The fieldwork took place between February and April 2018.
Armed, Police, Firearms, TASER, ARV, Less Lethal Weapons, Use of Force, Legitimacy, Self Legitimacy, Ethnography, Qualitative
University of Southampton
Clark-Darby, Oliver
cdd175a5-cd53-41d9-8dc8-f8cc7efa3ab4
Clark-Darby, Oliver
cdd175a5-cd53-41d9-8dc8-f8cc7efa3ab4
Fleming, Jenny
61449384-ccab-40b3-b494-0852c956ca19

Clark-Darby, Oliver (2020) Armed Policing in England. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 311pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis finds that armed police officers do not report experiencing a lack of legitimacy when interacting with members of the public in Great Britain during their routine duties. Instead, firearms officers believe that there are aspects of their role that frustrate their ability to build legitimacy in the same ways as their unarmed colleagues do. However, firearms officers do identify alternate ways of building both self-legitimacy and organisational legitimacy. These alternate ways are most visible in the aftermath of a critical incident. The findings also indicate that there is a distinct firearms officer culture. Aspects of the armed police role mean that firearms officers are in pursuit of challenge and excitement. However, within this culture, there is a noticeable lack of specific enthusiasm for firearms themselves. Further to this, existing hierarchical and cultural conflicts are evident in the discussions between firearms officers and the force control room surrounding the authorising of firearms deployments. Finally, firearms officers oppose the routine arming of the police. Instead, for their sense of safety, firearms officers place an emphasis on other factors such as improved communication skills, carrying TASERs and always patrolling in pairs. Armed policing in Great Britain remains an under-explored and difficult to access area of research. With a history of ‘unarmed exceptionalism’, the position of Authorised Firearms Officers in Great Britain is precarious. It is assumed that armed police are delegitimising and threaten the notions of ‘Policing by Consent’ and ‘Procedural Justice’. With a large increase in the number of firearms officers in 2017 and an ongoing debate about the routine arming of police officers, it is important and instructive to assess existing interactions between the public and armed police.

This research examines the interactions between armed police and the public. It examines the circumstances in which armed officers interact with the public, how the public behave during those encounters and how armed officers construct their sense of legitimacy in relation to these encounters. Using an ethnographic approach, this research accompanied Authorised Firearms Officers as they performed their daily duties in Armed Response Vehicles across two police jurisdictions. Semi-Structured Interviews were also conducted. The fieldwork took place between February and April 2018.

Text
Armed Policing in England - Vol 2 Appendices - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (9MB)
Text
Armed Policing in England - Vol 1 Main Thesis - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (2MB)
Text
Oliver Clark-Darby - Permission to deposit thesis - form.JF 14420 docx
Restricted to Repository staff only

More information

Published date: 2020
Keywords: Armed, Police, Firearms, TASER, ARV, Less Lethal Weapons, Use of Force, Legitimacy, Self Legitimacy, Ethnography, Qualitative

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451377
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451377
PURE UUID: 27bcd8e8-3e24-43a3-972f-f518cbfc198d
ORCID for Jenny Fleming: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7913-3345

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Sep 2021 16:33
Last modified: 22 Mar 2022 02:42

Export record

Contributors

Author: Oliver Clark-Darby
Thesis advisor: Jenny Fleming ORCID iD

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×