Norfolk police chief warns about dangers of carrying replica guns after teenager arrested in Norwich by armed officers
PUBLISHED: 11:29 29 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:35 30 May 2017
People carrying replica guns in public are placing armed officers in the “most unenviable” position, Norfolk’s police chief has today warned.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey made the comments after a teenager was arrested in Norwich city centre at the weekend for allegedly carrying a firearm.
Five armed police units and six officers swooped on Cathedral Street, off Prince of Wales Road, just after 1pm on Saturday, following reports that a man had been seen with a gun.
A 17-year-old man was later questioned by police in connection with the incident.
The arrest took place at a time of heightened security following the Manchester terror attack a week ago.
And as armed police continue high visibility patrols across Norfolk today, Chief Constable Bailey warned about the risks of carrying replica firearms in public.
He said: “With BB guns and replica firearms, you cannot differentiate them from a genuine firearm until such a time you are able to examine them.
“And by carrying one in public, you are placing armed officers in the most unenviable position.
“The simple message is don’t carry guns, BB guns or replica firearms in a public place.”
Chief Constable Bailey said armed officers were highly trained, but added if they felt threatened they had the authority to use lethal force.
On Saturday, police were initially called to Rampant Horse Street following reports that a man had been seen with a gun.
A police spokesman said a BB gun was recovered after the arrest on Cathedral Street, adding that it was not being treated as a terrorism-related incident.
No-one was injured and police are not looking for anyone else.
Chief Constable Bailey praised the response from the public, as well as the two people who called the police.
Armed officers are expected to continue their high visibility patrols across Norfolk today, despite the lowering of the UK threat level over the weekend.
“I would continue to ask the public to remain calm but alert – if you see anything which causes you concern, then call the police immediately,” Chief Constable Bailey said.
Policing levels are expected to return to normal on Monday evening.
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