According to the definition of a policeman (also known as police officer or policewoman), they are the authorized members of a police force or body and are typically tasked with the prevention, the unearthing and the recording of a crime, the safeguarding of citizens and ensuring public order.
Most people wonder about what weapons do police carry. When on call, police officers, regardless of whether they are in their uniforms or not, carry numerous different items with them. However, those in uniform carry a lot more than those who are not. Moreover members of special operations teams like SWAT and crowd-control units, have an even larger number of equipment on them, including a full body armour with a helmet, leg pads, and shield.
The amount of weapons or other equipment carried by police officers in uniforms has increased significantly since the 1950s. Back then, policemen only carried a handgun in a holster, where the holster was fixed to a Sam Browne belt (wide leather belt, supported by a diagonal strap over the shoulder), handcuffs, and a nightstick. Continue to read this article to find out more about the weapons that a police officer carries.
Table of Contents
- 1 Police Weapons And Equipment
- 2 Are There Any Weapons That Police Officers Are Prohibited To Carry?
- 3 5 Countries Where Majority Of The Policemen Do Not Keep Guns
- 4 5 Duties Of A Police Officer
- 5 Key Skills For Police Officers
- 6 Conclusion
Police Weapons And Equipment
Unlike the Sam Browne belt, the ones used nowadays by North American uniformed police officers, usually have multiple holsters that are used for carrying:
- an automatic pistol,
- plastic and metal handcuffs,
- pepper spray,
- spare clips of ammunition,
- a portable radio,
- a collapsible baton,
- a clipboard with spare report forms, and
- a video microphone transmitter in case the officer’s car has been fixed with a camera
Moreover, there are also other items such as medical equipment, that most police officers also keep in their patrol cars. These include items like:
- first-aid kits,
- defibrillator, and
- portable breath analyzers for testing drivers who may be intoxicated.
Apart from these fundamental tools, many policemen also keep:
- cell phones or pagers,
- tape recorders,
- portable scanners,
- plastic gloves, and
- extra weapons (like a spare gun, a confiscated knife, a blackjack, or brass knuckles).
Since the act of carrying extra weapons is quite questionable, especially when it comes to its legitimacy, it is usually done covertly, which makes it hard to determine how large-scale it is. However, most policemen and researchers have agreed that such a practice does take place. Lastly, another highly important piece of equipment is the bulletproof vest. It protects the officer’s torso and is worn either over or under the uniform shirt. Usually, the fibre Kevlar is used in the manufacture of these bulletproof vests. Kevlar has the ability to block most handgun projectiles as well as many types of knives. More sturdy vests are made of a mixture of ceramic and fibre that can tolerate rifle fire. Such jackets are typically made for bomb-disposal operations.
The amount and variety of weapons that cops can carry with themselves, normally relies upon the monetary assets apportioned to the police department. North American police departments are usually well equipped as compared to police forces in different regions of the world. In fact, the kind of equipment that the North American police department has, is in general treated as the benchmark that different policies departments attempt to meet. However, with the significant exception of guns, police weapons all through the world are getting progressively basic.
Are There Any Weapons That Police Officers Are Prohibited To Carry?
President Barack Obama announced an Executive Order 13688 in January of 2015. (now revoked),This act recognizes actions that can enhance Federal support for the suitable use, gain, and transfer of controlled equipment by federal, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies (LEAs). The Executive Order organized a federal interagency Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group, which came up with the following lists:
- Prohibited Equipment List – this list highlights the various categories of equipment that LEAs cannot acquire either through a transfer from the military or federal institutions or bought using federally provided finances.
- Controlled Equipment List – this list pinpoints the kind of equipment that LEAs do have the authority to get from either military or federal agencies provided that they give additional information, verifications, and guarantees. While incorporation in these lists would not block an LEA from utilizing different assets for such acquisitions, the Working Group’s report urges LEAs to give cautious thought to the propriety of securing such gear for their networks.
Prohibited Equipment List
- Firearms of .50 caliber or more
- Ammunition of .50 caliber or more
- Any kind of weaponized aircrafts, ships or vehicles
- Grenade launchers
- Camouflage uniforms
- Tracked armoured vehicles
Controlled Equipment List
- Wheeled armoured vehicles
- Wheeled tactical vehicles
- Command and control vehicles
- Manned aircraft with fixed wing
- Manned aircraft with rotary wing
- Unmanned aerial vehicles
- Explosives and pyrotechnics
- Infringing tools such as a battering ram or any similar item
- Specialized firearms and ammunition under .50‐caliber, except for those used for service‐issued weapons
- Riot helmets
- Riot shields
- Riot batons, except for service‐issued telescopic or fixed‐length straight batons
5 Countries Where Majority Of The Policemen Do Not Keep Guns
These five countries can teach the United States a lot of important lessons regarding gun laws and better policing.
- Iceland – Almost one-third of the country’s population carries firearms, but their police officers do not.
- Britain – 82% of the total police force does not desire to carry firearms.
- New Zealand – A critic has argued that it is more dangerous to be a farmer than an unarmed police officer. It is safer for policemen to not keep weapons.
- Norway – Despite a gunman killing 77 people at a summer camp in 2011, the tradition of police officers not being armed has proved to be stronger
- Ireland- Only 20-25% of the total police force is trained and qualified to use a gun. The rest are not.
5 Duties Of A Police Officer
A police officer has many different responsibilities. The main ones are listed below.
The 5 duties of a police officer are:
Interrogating Criminals And Possible Suspects
- interviewing suspected criminals
- taking statements
- searching suspects
Managing Criminal Records
- writing crime reports
- dealing with paperwork
- collecting evidence for court
- providing evidence in court
Ensuring Public Safety
- ensuring good relationships with the public
- patrolling areas by foot and car
- offering advice and reassurance to the public
- maintaining and controlling traffic/crowds
- keeping the peace in tense situations
Dealing With Emergency Situation and Arrests
- making and processing arrests
- quick response to emergencies
Key Skills For Police Officers
- Ability to remain calm in challenging or dangerous situations
- Good interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Team Working skills
- Problem solving skills
- Negotiating skills
There are various concerns surrounding the police force, police weapons and police reforms. Moreover, in most of the countries we have talked about, police weapons have been the major cause of debates. These concerns and controversies vary from disputes over the use of drones by law enforcement in the Netherlands, to the subject of whether or not New Zealand police officers should regularly carry pistols. Moreover, many countries, especially the United States, have witnessed incidents where police officers have participated in controversial shootings of unarmed and harmless individuals. Therefore, as citizens, it is important for us to know what weapons a police officer can carry and what weapons they cannot.