There were more police operations involving firearms in North Wales last year, new figures show.

Figures from the Home Office show armed police officers were deployed 95 times by North Wales Police in the year to March.

This was an increase from the year before, when there were 62 firearms operations.

Across England and Wales, the number of police firearms operations stayed largely the same, with 18,259 in the year to March, and 18,245 the year before.

However, it represented a drop compared to the year leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, when there were 19,393 operations.

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A North Wales Police spokesperson said: “The periods covered in the latest set of Home Office figures reflect a time when we were policing during lockdown, compared to society subsequently ‘returning to normal’, hence the change in the number of incidents.

“It is worth noting that armed incidents are still extremely rare in north Wales, indeed according to these latest figures, our force area has the lowest number of incidents per head of population in Wales, and one of the lowest in the UK nationally.

"We remain committed to making north Wales the safest place to live in the UK.”

Dr Liam O'Shea, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, said that officers remain unlikely to actually fire their weapons.

“The rate of police officers discharging a firearm remains low, particularly when compared to countries such as the United States.”

Armed officers intentionally fired a weapon just four times nationally last year – and there has been just one year in the last decade where this number reached double figures.

Most police operations do not involve the use of firearms, though armed officers are deployed in certain cases such as for incidents involving violent crime or to patrol high-risk areas.

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