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Police highlight dangers of replica firearms

The Royal Gibraltar Police has people not to brandish or carry toy and replica firearms following the latest in a string of such incidents that ended in armed officers being deployed.

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 a statement the RGP explained that 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.

This comes as two men, a locally resident 69-year old man and a 22-year old British national, were arrested following an incident in the area of the London Bar involving a toy gun on Saturday May 12.

Both men were subsequently arrested for offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace.

According to an RGP statement, 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,” the statement read.

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’ meaning an attack is a strong possibility and as such heightened response levels are 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 officers, highly trained professionals as they are, to make split second decisions as to whether the firearm is real or not.

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