It has emerged that the UK’s Ministry of Defence Police have failed to meet firearms training standards. The specialist non-military police force is tasked with protecting sites of national importance such as the Royal Navy’s base at Faslane, Scotland – the home of Britain’s Trident nuclear arsenal.
The College of Policing has temporarily suspended its endorsement of the MoD Police’s firearms training of officers due to a perceived fall in training standard. The College conducts inspections of police force firearms training every four years and issues endorsement licenses to certify a force is training personnel properly.
The MoD Police are one of Britain’s most heavily armed police forces with approximately 90% of officers issued weapons. Officers are predominantly armed with the semi-automatic only HK MP7-SF, but MP5s, Diemaco C8s and L85A1 rifles and pistols are also issued.
The College of Policing announced that they have suspended their endorsement of the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) firearms training arrangements “until MDP is in a position to demonstrate that it is again delivering training to the very high standards set by the College.”
One of the issues identified was one of the MDP’s training ranges built on an old Army base in Staffordshire not meeting currenty regulations. £140,000 worth of improvements to the range have now been approved.
Richard Bennett, the Head of the Uniformed Policing Faculty at the College of Policing told the Herald of Scotland that the College was “working hard with the MDP to support them so that we can endorse their training arrangements again as soon as possible.” He explained that “the suspension does not mean that the MDP must stop training its staff or that its staff cannot carry and use firearms to protect important sites and the public.”
The Ministry of Defence confirmed that they are working with the College to improve their training regime and meet the standards needed for endorsement. The MDP says it has completed the necessary steps to address the issues identified and the temporary suspension of the training endorsement does not impact on the security of the establishments it is assigned to protect.