A 69 year old locally resident British male national and a 22 year old British male national were arrested for Offensive Conduct conducive to Breaches of the Peace on the evening of Saturday 12th May 2018 following an incident in the area of the London Bar involving a toy gun. One of the individuals was observed by an off duty police officer to have a suspected handgun tucked into the back of his trousers waist band.
Due to the prevailing circumstances the individual was tackled and disarmed by the off duty police officer as the armed response officers arrived on scene. The firearms officers were deployed to the area immediately upon receipt of the initial report with the RGP’s firearms response procedures being implemented.
This is not the first instance of this nature that firearms officers have had to respond to, although in all cases the firearms have thankfully been found to be either replicas or a toy gun.
Any incident whether of a criminal or security related nature, in which a firearm is suspected to be involved is viewed as extremely serious by the RGP. In addition to the possible danger posed to the public, countering a firearms threat imposes a need to employ control measures that include the potential for officers having to exercise lethal force.
Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, there have been numerous terrorist attacks throughout Europe and elsewhere, that have led to increased levels of security. The alert state in Gibraltar currently stands at ‘Substantial’ – an attack is a strong possibility – with heightened response levels in place.
It is in this light that the RGP wishes to raise awareness and appeals to the public to refrain from the brandishing or carrying of toy/replica firearms in a manner that causes public concern and requires our officers, highly trained professionals as they are, to make split second decisions as to whether the firearm is real or not.