The myth of 'routinely unarmed' policing

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Many extol the virtue of 'routinely unarmed' policing. Indeed, the ability to practise without reliance on a demonstrable police power epitomises the romance of the 'policing by consent' model - where police officers are effective operators who can convince the hardiest person to acquiesce without recourse to the explicit threat of firearms. Yet New Zealand and Norway are two jurisdictions that while appearing to be 'routinely unarmed', are, in fact, more armed than officers in other routinely armed jurisdictions. This chapter sets out how the response model for these jurisdictions does indeed rely on armed officers on continuous patrol. It looks at recent comparative research of routinely armed and unarmed officer practice. And, in doing so the chapter sets out to challenge the logic and rhetoric of 'routinely unarmed' policing in modern democratic states. This myth sits in stark contrast to the practical realities of frontline policing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicing & Firearms: New Perspectives and Insights
EditorsClare Farmer, Richard Evans
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783031130137
ISBN (Print)9783031130120
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • England and Wales Police
  • Firearms
  • New Zealand Police
  • Norwegian Police
  • Police

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