December 20, 2011
The use of firearms could be justified given the ”immediacy of the risk and the gravity of the consequences”, legal advice published in the review said.
Plastic bullets and water cannon could also be used by officers facing riots similar to those seen this summer, the review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) added.
Police need to be better prepared, trained and ready to protect the public if they are to improve their response to similar scenes of violence and looting in the future, the review found.
It called for clear rules of engagement to establish ”an agreed envelope of available tactics and associated use of force, that are likely to maintain public support”. These rules could include making clear that armed police could use firearms with live ammunition during ”arson attacks on commercial buildings with linkage to residential dwellings”.