Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO)

Job Family Operational Support
Job Sub Family Firearms
Code OPS-FA-SD-Authorised Firearms Officer v1.1

Role Purpose

An Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) is a police officer who has been selected, trained, accredited and authorised by a Chief Officer to carry a firearm operationally.

Please note that this profile is intended to provide a generic baseline of various AFO roles (e.g. Rifle Officer, Specialist Firearms Officer, Armed Response Vehicle Officer).

Key Accountabilities

  • Respond to conflict situations using a range of tactical options, assessing the threat to determine a proportionate response in line with legislation, policy and guidance.
  • Assess the immediacy and proximity of threat in order to make operational decisions for the protection of life.
  • Apply the National Decision Model to manage their response to a situation in a reasonable and proportionate way.
  • Justify the proportionate and lawful use of force in line with legal accountabilities.
  • Understand their role within the context of the wider police operation to support the achievement of operational strategies and priorities for action.
  • Gather and handle information and intelligence from a variety of sources, to assess threat in line with legislation, policies and guidance to take the appropriate action.
  • Provide public reassurance when deployed within communities.
  • Provide medical aid commensurate with training as required to preserve life.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Prior education and experience:

  • Trained to the national common standard for all specific AFO roles in which they are operationally deployable.
  • Passed relevant medical and fitness tests (annual requirement)


  • Good communication skills with the ability to listen to others.
  • Able to produce concise statements or other documents.
  • Skilled in the use of standard or user specific IT packages, systems and/or databases to fulfil role requirements.
  • Able to use resources efficiently in own role in accordance with procedures, policy and guidance.
  • Able to identify potential opportunities to enhance efficiency and/or effectiveness within own area of work.
  • Able to identify cause and effect and develop a course of action designed to target root causes and mitigate risks.
  • Able to work effectively in a team to achieve shared objectives, demonstrating awareness of individual differences and providing support as required.
  • Able to review own performance objectively and to take steps to maintain and enhance competence and professional standards appropriate to the role.
  • Able to appropriately prioritise and plan own work.
  • Able to proactively develop effective working relationships with colleagues, partners and other stakeholders.
  • Competent with a range of weapons and tactical equipment appropriate to the role.
    Competent in the provision of ballistic first aid.
  • Able to proactively develop effective working relationships with colleagues, partners and other stakeholders.
  • Understanding of post deployment procedures.
  • Able to act with discretion and emotional intelligence to manage conflict and defuse difficult situations.
  • Able to apply procedures and legislation in line with policy and guidance.
  • Able to respond appropriately to vulnerable persons.
  • Understanding of other armed policing roles.
  • Understanding of firearms, ammunition, ballistics, protection characteristics and capabilities.
  • Competent in a range of tactical options commensurate with their AFO role (s).

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

  • Undertake mandatory refresher training in all modules and units of the National Police Firearms Training Curriculum (NPFTC) in accordance with, or relevant to the role.
  • Undertake additional mandatory refresher training as determined by your force or agency.
  • Annually meet health and fitness standards relevant to the role.

Professional Registration/Licenses

  • See CPD Section

Links to other Profiles

  • NPoCC Mercury Profile: Authorised Firearms Officer – 89 – v2
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