The Avon and Somerset Constabulary currently has 127 Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO's) who are all based within the Operations Department, with the majority working within the Operations Response Teams alongside Dog Handlers and Roads Policing officers.
Firearms Officers are based at Almondsbury near Bristol, Taunton and Weston-Super-Mare. The core function of the teams is to provide 24-hour Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) cover to the force area in sufficient numbers to be able to deal with both spontaneous and pre-planned firearms operations, including routine patrols of Bristol International Airport.
ARV's are always crewed by two officers who are permanently armed in order to be able to respond as quickly as possible to a firearms incident. As well as this, many AFOs have additional qualifications in order to be able to carry out the below roles:
- Close Protection. Providing armed protection to visiting members of the Royal family or other VIPs's
- Dynamic Entry. Officers trained to make fast entries into buildings
- Rifle Officers. Trained to shoot at greater distances and act as spotters for large-scale events
- Maritime Intervention. Responding to incidents in the Severn Estuary
- Provide a specialist firearms response to counter- terrorist operations, including Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) incidents.