Police use armed response vehicles on routine patrols

ARMED response vehicles are now being used for standard patrols, Guernsey Police has confirmed, but it is unclear whether the firearms have been removed.

Guernsey Police is using its two armed response BMWs for standard patrols to ‘reduce the fear in the public’ and added that it was better for the vehicles to be driving around rather than sitting idle. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 1302866)
Guernsey Police is using its two armed response BMWs for standard patrols to ‘reduce the fear in the public’ and added that it was better for the vehicles to be driving around rather than sitting idle. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 1302866)

ARMED response vehicles are now being used for standard patrols, Guernsey Police has confirmed, but it is unclear whether the firearms have been removed.

The two BMWs are specially fitted to carry weapons and proved controversial when they were bought in 2011 to help deal with dangerous situations.

Last year, they were used in responses to 26 calls – an average of about two a month. But chief firearms instructor Inspector J-P Le Breton said the public could now be seeing a lot more of them.

‘It was felt if they were used more often in routine patrols, it would reduce the fear for the public,’ he said. ‘By being seen out and about it should ease people’s minds.’

The vehicles are also used in armed-officer training.

Comments for: "Police use armed response vehicles on routine patrols"


........... and who said our new head of law enforcement was intent on building a paramilitary force?

Why on earth is having a load of guns and tasers being permanently driven around the island going to ease our minds about firearms?

It's only a matter of time before a terrible accident.


'....but it is unclear whether the firearms have been removed...'


Mr Rice made it clear before his original appointment what he wanted, which is the power he wields now.

This somewhat meglomaniac stance should have been a red light to those who appointed him, along with his other declared intention that he wanted such things as this- I understand some kind of seaborne version was on his wish list, too (strange, as he was only being appointed Chief of Police at that time...), and right there was another red light.

Despite all this, as always, our establishment decided to import an 'expert' with no knowledge of our island or it's culture whatsoever, as a inner city style crime fighting sledgehammer to crack a tiny local generally petty crime nut, and now we're stuck with him, spending money we haven't got on sh@t we don't need, and now, trying to justify it, by claiming they use this ridiculously over the top vehicle on a regular basis.

What bl@@dy for, exactly, Mr Rice?



‘It was felt if they were used more often in routine patrols, it would reduce the fear for the public,’ he said. ‘By being seen out and about it should ease people’s minds.’

Why would having police with weapons in their cars reduce the fear of the public? One of the greatest fears of most people is of the Police being trigger happy. Keep guns away unless the situation really calls for it.

Sounds like a warped argument to try and justify their existence, like facebook taxi's etc.

Island Wide Voting

I'm not scared of a BMW


What a relief, for years I have been living in fear of being shot at outside my house in the Castel, now I can feel much safer and may go to town rather than use internet shopping.


Its certainly news to me that we are living in fear.

This is the sort of rubbish thats gets spouted more and more as we import more people on licence and give them high level jobs.


Well they have a point, they've already gone and wasted the money on these damn unnecessary vehicles. So the police may as well use them, they need running like any vehicle. Ideally they would never have been bought in the first place.

However, the article says "but it is unclear whether the firearms have been removed." Well if they removed them and were using the vehicle, and were suddenly called out to an armed incident, they would have to drive back and get the weapons which is obviously not particularly useful. So the weapons must surely be in the vehicle.

Also I believe not just any "bobby on the beat" is trained in the use of firearms. So not only do we have these armed vehicles patrolling the streets, we have rambo type henchman doing community policing. How is that easing peoples minds? More like they want the public scared of them. Smells more like a power trip to me.


Not to mention the fact that these firearms trained individuals are probably paid a lot more. So community policing has just got a bit more expensive for the tax payer, at a time when they are supposed to be cutting costs.

Oh Dear

In other words, we've realised they were an absolute waste of money and we want to justify the costs by actually using them.

Sarnia cherie, my heart longs for thee

Jesus H!

"It would reduce fear for the public"

If anything im a law abiding citizen but the thought of a guy pulling along side me in a BMW as im walking home after a party or something at 2 in the morning, Saying "evening sir, where are you off to?" and visably seeing he had arms in his vehicle would put the willies up me. What is the procedure for when he can use them. It will only be a matter of time til one officer arrests you and the others standing their with an assault riffle with a "make my day" kindda look on his face. I'll feel uneasy when I see an armed response vehicle.

The police will be more justified to carry arms and have them on show for petty crimes.

I hear there try to raise funds for an apache helicopter to stop little bugs on herm...

Terry Langlois

If they are leaving the guns back at the station, then this will increase the time taken to respond to any incident, as they'll need to go back and pick them up. Which can only be a good thing as it leaves more time for the situation to resolve itself before the police turn up and start escalating the issue.

But if they are carrying the guns around, then I expect that the sight of these vehicles will INCREASE fear amongst the public. People don't generally like guns and the knowledge that they are permanently out and about will not exactly reassure people.

Their thinking may be that if we get used to seeing these vehicles then we will not worry when they do appear on the odd occasion. That may be true, but it will also mean that we feel nervous around every police vehicle as we won't know whether there are guns there or not.


Im scared, if one of those things crashes into your car, your in big trouble don,t forget they are excessively heavy due to armour.

The trouble is with these armed officers, Is that like army troops who train & train over & over , they are too eager to get into action & thats when thing go wrong.

Also with if you go onto ex army surplus web sites you can by a armoured land rover for about £1,500 quid a lot less than was spent on these over priced squad cars.

Just noticed I,ve got enough cash to by a Tank!! will the police have to get one too in case I go mad!!


Why can`t you people get your facts right, the ARMED RESPONSE VEHICLES ARE NOT ARMOURED CARS. The name merely denotes that it carries weapons and trained officers. The only vehicle that is ARMOURED is the LAND ROVER.

I too cannot see how having armed response teams on regular patrol makes anyone feel safer, isn`t this MR READ a stupid idiot?


Also, by saying "we could be seeing a lot more of them" does INSP. Le BRETON mean the police are buying more or just circulating the existing cars more?

Could this be an opening shot to wasting more of our money?


I know the difference thanks , but I think if you check the BMW M5s have extra armour from normal M5,s at least that's what I've been told , I would ask the police however they would more than likely say that they can not discuss due to security.


To reduce the fear from the public it would make common sense to park one at the airport and one at the harbour.

The police would get more time cleaning and polishing their vehicles instead of the dirty state they are at present.

I fear more if they are used for general duties and they are away from their vehicle visiting someone with a summons and somebody hijacking the vehicle and letting loose with the explosives on board.

Royston Gueno

I dont believe they are a waste,they are also tooled with TV detection units, so they can crack down on TV license evaders..


Just to see a police officers walking in town would to my mind be a better way of reassuring the public.

Years ago Town and the Bridge were covered by beat officers 24 hours a day, plus there were community officers who covered certain areas, of which I was one.

It seems to me that the powers that be just do not understand the needs of the Iocal community, and to think that they are reassured by having an armed response vehicle driving around beggars belief.

I don't think it happens now but I regularly spent some of my time communicating with residents over a cup of tea, and in that way fully discussed their problems or concerns.

Policing has changed and me thinks not for the better.

More Local Than You

Very well said.

I too recall those days and they are long gone.

guern abroad

Policing has changed because I suspect the force can not sustain walking on the beat anymore because to do that you need to be fit, and I don't see much fitness.

States House

If they drive these while not on response, they have to stick to 25mph as they weigh more than 2 ton unladen. Even the standard version does, let alone the armoured. http://www.gov.gg/speedlimits

2Ton hahahaha

Brilliant find, States House.

Let's see our friendly traffic sergeant Mr Tostevin target those other essential BMW X5s on the island.


States House

Here you go, a standard BMW X5 is is well over 2 ton, they are 2 and a quarter ton. The armoured will be loads over that.

Any BWW X5 will be breaking the speed limit doing anything over 25mph. Unless its an emergency services vehicle on response with the blues and twos going.



Nice to know I can always rely on the TIG crowd to supply my daily dose of baseless hyperbole and hysteria.

Don't ever change, TIG, you're so entertaining.



We're supposed to feel reassured that our peaceful little island now has 2 ton armoured and armed police patrols. Home department and deputies of reign Rice in before his ego kills someone.


-Chief Officer, the armed response vehicles were very expensive. Their use was queried. How often have you needed to use them?

- We have deployed them hundreds of times, they are very useful.

- Forgive me, my question was about the need to use them.

- The statistics don't record that.

-Ah, I see. Thank you.


I don't want to see guns of any kind on the streets. there is no need for them. police carrying guns scares the public "Good" It shows the current feeling. After all it works so well on the mainland doesn't it. Also any tourists we have left will love the whole debate.

Just wait till a drunk tries to grab an armed officers gun. I wonder what will happen?

Yet another area the English police chief doesn't really understand island life. Deputy in charge of the department I don't think so there’s a new sheriff in town.

Honestly we can’t afford these whimsical spends anymore and really they shouldn’t have happened in the first place. what do we have to do without to pay for this?

Island Wide Voting


I can't work out if you're being serious or just trying to wind everybody up

Please point me to the news clip or printed story where it says that Guernsey Police will be patrolling the streets whilst carrying guns for drunks to grab at

It has been explained many times that the BMW's are not armoured but are fitted with security containers to carry firearms and other gear for those very rare occasions when they might be needed.Only trained firearms officers will be permitted to drive these vehicles which suggests to me that they WILL be carrying firearms at all times

If they are not carrying firearms I can imagine the idiotic scenario whereby a BMW driver is checking for speeders or chasing loose cows at Les Paysans St Peters when there is an emergency call requiring an armed response at the airport and he has to drive passed the airport to load up at the Police Station in order to attend at the airport

As others have already said I hope that there is some fail safe system whereby the BMW's cannot be stolen while the officer is dealing with an incident away from his vehicle


They can check for speeders but they won't be able to catch them. As "States House" link above shows, vehicles over 2 tonnes are limited to 25mph.

Island Wide Voting


Level One

Oh dear Concerned not doing too well in this subject are you?

"Also I believe not just any “bobby on the beat” is trained in the use of firearms. So not only do we have these armed vehicles patrolling the streets, we have rambo type henchman doing community policing."

Wrong! Any officer who has passed their two year probationary period can apply to be trained as a Firearms officer. Your current community Policeman may well be a train Firearms Officer - there is no way of knowing.

'Not to mention the fact that these firearms trained individuals are probably paid a lot more.'

Wrong! They are are not paid any more than a non-firearms trained officer. Although they may on occasions be "on call" or work overtime that may result in additional payment.

"They can check for speeders but they won’t be able to catch them. As “States House” link above shows, vehicles over 2 tonnes are limited to 25mph."

Wrong! A Police vehicle involved in the pursuit of an offender can exceed the speed limit with blue lights and sirens in use. (I would have thought that most people would have been aware of this one).

Oh Dear

Imagine if that last sentiment were true.

"Vehicles over 2 tonnes are limited to 25mph."

Half the island would've burnt down and how many people would've died in accidents?

They're emergency vehicles um... for emergencies which... well necessitate speed.

Oh Dear

That law should probably be updated though. Most cars these days probably exceed two tonnes.

guern abroad

As exactly how does that make them suitable for Guernsey.

Keep the speed limit keep the inconvenience and just maybe people will buy cars suitable for the Island.

States House

So those BMW X5's only leave the garage on emergencies then? I have seen them driving a few times in front of me and they were doing over 30mph and had neither the siren or lights going. A vehicle that weighs over 2 ton unlaiden isnt suitable to be used as an emercency response just to carry personnel in Guernsey. Maybe an ambulance that needs to be big but a ridiculously heavy BMW X5 that has no more people carrying space than the normal cars they drive is pointless.


Hey I have a brilliant idea, how about we go back to the old days and get local officers to actually meet the public, and have a chat over a cup of tea, about their problems.

That would lend itself to a new TV Police series called " Cups".

Sorry that was a little silly of me as they would have to get out of their vehicles eh !


If they have got them they can use them. who knows and how fast this will lead to the obvious next step.

Only trained fire arms officers will be permitted to drive these cars. so were the cars worth it or will all the officers become trained.

I don't say there never will be a need to carry them in there day to day buissiness (in the car, In there belt or under their hat) but we are not ther yet.

And of course St. Peters is so far away. perhaps the public should get guns in case of invasion by the British.

Before you say another idiotic scenario i wouldn't, after all there are a lot of Americans who exercise just such a right.

Not needed! not needed! not needed!


I for one applaud this, up here in St Peters its so dangerous we are constantly subjected to " drive by shootings" , mugged just going to the shop , well done Rambo Rice i feel so much safer now . Just one thing to remember now is when you are buttering your bread for your lunch the next day please draw your curtains because you are using an offensive weapon and this could be construed as terrorist threat.

Just a thought i believe the new Die Hard film is out on Feb 14th i do hope these officers don't watch it.


Fear is a human emotion and a very important one at that so who do they think they are in trying to eradicate this necessary emotion from us all?.


You may laugh but the day we have a serious incident (tm) such as a nuclear accident, gas explosion or other event where they actually need armoured vehicles the public will be complaining that not enough was done.

Also I have heard rumours that they do in fact have radiation test equipment consisting of:- One canary in a cage. If the canary drops dead then they put on their Hazmat suits.

Worked back in the 1800's during coal mining...


Also, its possible that at least one "armed response" in the UK was due to some eejit using a wifi "cantenna" and that got mistaken for a rocket launcher.

So watch out freetards, next time you leech wifi you could get 50 heavily armed SWATs armed to the teeth bashing your door down.

I call that "Epic Ownage"...


Re. Fear, yes this is indeed the case.

Although I would rather the Police have an armed response vehicle in case of some armed nutter taking hostages than them not having one.

The best defence is to be prepared methinks.

That said, the intimidation factor on speeders along the front on say Saturday night is hilarious to watch :-)

Dan Smith

Moan, whinge, whine, speculate. My word how happy you armchair experts must have been when this news report was released.

States House

The people of Guernsey are annoyed that they have spent our money on something that will never realistically need to be used. Maybe if we all get the balls to revolt and riot about it and thats it.

Why not spend that same money on a helicopter for the hospital as an air ambulance. In an island so small with our traffic how long should it take to get the couple of miles in to town? At least an air ambulance would get used every week. Rather than a slow vehicle that by law should only be doing 25mph when not on response. The reason for that is, at that weight its dangerous to drive over 25mph on our roads. Its an off road vehicle, that will have to deal with the ridiculous amount of congested traffic on our roads and all the closures.

Imagine right now an ambulance needing to get to the police station or the armed response unit needing to get to the hospital, in rush hour. Your looking at half an hour for that very short trip. We arent the uk with masses of back roads. All our roads are stupidly busy and worse still with any closures.


States House,

These posts are about the Police vehicle not an ambulance!

Any way, do you have any idea how much a helicopter costs ? You must be delusional to think it is a) cheaper to buy, b) cheaper to operate or c) can access everywhere in the island (quicker than an ambulance or paramedic first line response vehicle) as it has to have somewhere to land!

For instance, where would one land to pick up a patient taken ill in the High Street? Also, compare the wages of a heli pilot to an ambulance driver.. who do you think commands a higher wage?

You really haven't thought this though have you?

Oh Dear

When that law was written the brakes on vehicles were probably not as good.

If you have a serious accident you'd hope the ambulance gets there quickly they weigh over two tonnes. If your house caught fire you'd want a quick response. Fire engines must be well in excess of two tonnes, just with the water alone.

If someone genuinely attacked you, you'd want a quick response. If they drove at 25mph you'd be dead before they got there. Surely that would be pointless. It's an emergency response vehicle.

There are loads of vehicles on our roads that weigh about the same. They're involved in no more crashes than your average car. I'm not sure why you think they're so dangerous.


Oh Dear

Re your argument re Fire tenders , yes they are more than two tonnes more like 14 tonnes but they have air brakes which are designed to stop such weight within the stopping distance law , as an normal x5 i can not comment on the police ones as they will be much heavier but i am sure when the redesigned them this was thought of. The thing i am more worried about is the fact these guns and gun men will be on the roads a lot more frequently and all the training in the world can not stop errors but these errors could be fatal.

Oh Dear

I was just referring to the comments made by States House.

Just because the guns are in the vehicle doesn't mean that they will be taken out for routine incidents. They will be deployed the same as before (mundane issues involving a potato peeler and angry wife/husband).

This mass hysteria is ridiculous they're hardly carrying the guns on their person.

States House

Yes id expect a quick response and that is what the police can offer in their normal BMW 3 series. How does them turning up in an X5 help me any more? A fire tender is big to carry water and pumps, an ambulance is big to accomodate patients. There is no way they are any safer or quicker than in the normal saloons.

Oh Dear

They have to be able to carry guns. I would've thought the number of officers they can carry has something to do with it. In a normal saloon there would not be enough space for the officers and the guns.

States House

Are you joking? They both have 3 back seats!

So both can carry 5 people but only one is deemed safe enough to drive over 25mph...

If you want room to carry more personnel and all their firearms, whats wrong with the vans they have?

Like I said, if we are talking about a genuine need for the emergency services then a helicopter air ambulance is far more important.


SH It's not rocket science really... you really wouldn't want a secure gun cabinet rolling about on the back seat of a normal saloon would you?

Plus, the X5's are no less safe than their smaller counterparts, its just that the legislation covering 2tonne+ vehicles was drafted when they were the exception rather than the rule.

The 'vans' are generally used for transporting 'wrongdoers' to the custody suite, so again you wouldn't really want them having access to firearms.

Please see my response to your delusional aspirations for an air ambulance - post 28

States House


How delusional is an air ambulance compared to military spec amoured vehicles for GUERNSEY.....

An air ambulance would get to patients quicker on island and also take emergency cases off island and would get genuinly used every week and not just tken for a run out, unlike the slow, pointless, offroad, tanks.

If ever a theres an armed robbery in a muddy field, or some pirates invade Belle Greve, those toys might come in handy...


SH, you've completely missed the point again.

Air ambulances need somewhere to land once they've reached the area of the patient, so how many open spaces large enough and with no obstructions are there within walking distance of the Church Square? I would suggest none... so how long would it take a paramedic to reach a patient taken seriously ill in the High Street assuming that a heli could land on the North Beach... you do the maths, I would suggest that the patient would be past caring!

If an air evac is required to the UK, then there is an existing arrangement with Aurigny for that to happen. I also think that the heli operated by the Barclay brothers is also available if it was felt necessary to airlift from another island in the Bailiwick to Gy where the patient could be transferred to a more conventional ambulance.

You have a bee in your bonnet about the Police vehicles, fair enough, but please stick to that and don't bring in irrelevant matters to try and justify your fragile argument.

Oh Dear

CSR, precisely.

An air ambulance would be ridiculous for our island. SH, CSR answered the points you raised about my post perfectly.

John T, would a helicopter still be able to fly in terrible conditions? It would be worth considering IF we weren't in the middle of a recession.

Oh Dear

Oh and also, the X5's are not armoured.

They have one armoured vehicle, which I agree is pointless and a waste of money.

States House

Ok rewind a few years.

Ill suggest that Guernsey needs a military spec armoured vehicle... I bet the response would be "ridiculous for our island"

So how is an air ambulance any more so? As for landing, this is just for arguing but how do they pick up patients from the sea? Now you will say "oh so we should use a helicopter for every minor incident" you mean like they use the tank for every minor incident?

As for the X5 not being armoured, my point is the standard X5 weighs 2.25 ton. Any vehicle over 2 ton is supposed to keep to 25mph. Why buy such a heavy motor just to cart personel around in? It has no more seats than the 3 searies saloons, so whats the benefit?

Oh Dear

The reason it's ridiculous is because it wouldn't speed up response times. As CSR has already explained to you. It would have to land in a clear opening. The island does not have enough fields for this to be even remotely viable.

John T's idea was a little bit better but we're in the middle of a recession.

I've already said that I think an armoured vehicle is over the top. In fact I said that in the post just before your last one.



Hang on folks, a helicopter is not a bad idea, as when the island is fogged in it could earn its keep transferring passengers to the UK.