UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


What do people think about armed police?

04 June 2019, 6:15 pm–8:00 pm

Armed police officers

Police in England, Scotland and Wales operate largely unarmed, and have done since the formation of the London Metropolitan Police in 1829. However, recent terror attacks and concern over serious violent crime have prompted increased funding for armed officers and even calls for routine arming of police, something that would mark a break with the traditional model of British policing.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Ben Bradford


Nunn Hall
UCL Institute of Education
Bedford Way
United Kingdom

In this seminar we present results from the first in-depth UK-based study of public attitudes toward armed police.  We show that trust, and particularly people's affective responses to armed officers, are central in shaping support for the routine arming of more officers. Trust and affect are shaped in turn by a range of socio-demographic characteristics, experiences, and psychological and ideological orientations. And while public support for arming more police tends to be relatively high, for some people armed officers evoke feelings of uncertainty and a sense of distance. 

This research has implications for policy concerning armed police, and also for wider consideration of public reactions to change in police practice and technology, and in terms of exploring the ideological underpinnings of people's relationships with police.

Speakers and presentations

Ben Bradford - Affect and Trust as Predictors of Public Support for Armed Police: Evidence From London

Julia Yesberg - Public Reactions to Armed Police in the UK: Reassurance, Fear or Indifference?

Ben Bradford is Professor of Global City Policing at UCL and Director of the JDI Institute for Global City Policing.

Julia Yesberg is a Reseacher at the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime. Julia holds a PhD in Forensic Psychology from Victori University Wellington.