Police shootings are fast becoming a nightmare for countries where police can carry guns. In the U.S. alone, over 1,000 fatal police shootings occur annually. Some countries choose a different route and prefer their police to use other effective means to subdue suspected criminals. Therefore, the police in these countries do not carry guns.
Countries where police don’t carry guns:
- Cook Islands
- Marshall Islands
- Solomon Islands
- United Kingdom
All the police officers in most African countries carry guns regularly and are licensed and issued a gun upon joining the force. Botswana is the only African country where police do not carry guns. In Botswana, strict laws exist that limit and monitor the use of firearms by its police.
In place of guns, police in Botswana carry pepper spray and adjustable batons while on duty.
New Zealand has strict gun control rules in place. A new entrant in the list of countries where police do not carry guns.
In this country, the only police allowed to carry guns are those working for diplomatic protection, dog squads, and airports. Patrol police in New Zealand have AR-15 rifles stored in a compartment in their car. They are, however, legally required to undertake vehicle and foot patrols without a gun on hand.
Norway has managed to keep the number of fatal police shootings to a minimum because the majority of their police do not carry firearms. In addition, Norway employs significant efforts towards vigorous training of their law enforcement.
Out of all the applicants looking to enter the Norwegian police force annually, only 15 percent qualify. After that, the eligible candidates have to take a three-year bachelor’s degree course of their choice. They must also study ethics and society for another year, shadow other police officers in the field for one year, and finally spend one year working on a thesis on investigative research.
Ireland is one of the European Union countries with the lowest crime rates. Only about 25% of the police here can use firearms. Detectives and police in several special units can use guns in isolated situations. Generally, police often patrol the streets and make arrests without guns.
Police in Iceland carry pepper spray and adjustable batons while on duty. The irony is that Iceland is the 15th most armored country globally. In fact, about one in three people in this country own or can operate a firearm.
Most people in Iceland use their guns only for hunting. The crime rate here is super low, and police have few problems containing situations that need their attention.
The United Kingdom
The UK has a population of over 67 million people. It’s hard to imagine how the police force maintains law and order without guns. The UK has continuously worked to present its police force as approachable and where civilians can get help.
Compared to other G7 countries, the UK has the lowest number of reported fatal incidences between suspected criminals and the police. Most police here prefer to be seen as guardians of the people and not criminal hunters.