Third of police say they want to be armed with guns

More than a third of police want to be armed with guns, according to a major staff survey.

The poll shows support among officers for carrying firearms has grown significantly over the last decade.

Just under a quarter had backed the policy in the last Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) survey on the issue 2016.

It comes after the UK faced a growing number of terror attacks in recent years.

However the majority of police - 66% - still believe they should not be routinely armed.

Nearly 9% of police said they should be armed even when off duty. Credit: PA

Most police in the UK do not carry guns, setting the country apart from many other nations around the world.

The PFEW polled its membership to gauge views on a topic which has come under the spotlight again after a wave of terrorist attacks.

Analysis of 32,366 responses showed that 8.9% believe all officers should receive appropriate training and be armed at all times, either on or off duty.

Another 25.2% backed arming for all officers but only when on duty.

These percentages compare to 4.9% and 18.5% respectively in the last survey 11 years ago.

In the latest poll the most common response, at 42.5%, was that firearms should not be issued to all officers but more should receive training and be armed as and when necessary.

Others said all officers should be trained and be given firearms as and when necessary (16.8%) or that the status quo is about right (6.2%).