National pilot of kit in 50 undisclosed, high-footfall national sites would cost less than 1pc of annual anti-terror budget

‘Soft’ terror targets such as hospitals, museums, train stations and shopping malls should be kitted out with gunfire alarms, according to GLA Conservative Roger Evans.

Currently trialled in the US, the smoke alarm sized detectors use heat and sound to detect gunfire, automatically alert police, and enable armed officers to track and follow gunmen within a building.¹

Estimated to cost between £13k and £65k², depending on building size and layout, the kit could cut response times and save lives in a shooting incident.

Currently, the Met police expects armed officers to respond to incidents in about 12 minutes, whilst armed response took 14 minutes to arrive during the 2013 Woolwich terrorist attack.³

GLA Conservative crime spokesman, Roger Evans, said:

Roger-opinion“One of the major issues during a live shooting situation is the time is takes to call the police. People first have to make life or death decisions to protect themselves, before being in a position to use their phone, delaying response times. An alarm system detecting gunfire would automatically alert authorities to a live incident. It would remove the need to make emergency calls in the first place, cutting response times by several minutes and saving lives in the process. Furthermore, the system would be unintrusive – reducing the need for heavy metal detectors, x-ray machines or an on-going armed presence.”

“With the increased concern of Paris and Mumbai style attacks in the UK, the Met should pilot these detectors in 50 undisclosed and high-footfall sites across the UK. An information campaign would reassure the public and provide a further deterrent to those who may be considering such atrocities. The pilot’s estimated one-off cost of £3.3m, would amount to less than 1 per cent of the Home Office’s annual £3.5bn anti-terror budget.”

Roger Evans has formally written to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and Home Secretary Theresa May, urging a UK-wide pilot of gunfire detectors in 50 undisclosed public sites.

¹ Police Oracle, December 2014:
² Costs are one-off. There are no ongoing upkeep or maintenance costs.

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