The Bermuda Police have an arsenal of weapons ready to use. They range from the almost traditional police truncheons in the form of ‘ASP’ expanding batons up to weapons capable of firing up to 700 full metal jacketed bullets in a minute.
Published in the Official Gazette on 4th June 2010, Government Notice 498 was an Order by His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda. It authorized every regular Bermuda policeperson and every Reserve policeperson to carry and use a range of weapons. So that you know, here’s what each of those weapons is and what it can do – possibly to you.
‘ASP’ expanding baton
- A form of the traditional ‘beat you over the head’ police truncheon.
‘Arnold’ 26” public order batons
- A longer ‘beat you over the head’ truncheon that allows a policeperson to strike while standing further away from a person. Most useful in crowd control work.
‘Quickcuffs’ rigid bar handcuffs
- Not really a weapon. It is, as implied, just a means of cuffing people who have been arrested.
‘Captor’ incapacitor sprays
- Small handheld chemical weapons designed and intended to temporarily distract a person by making him (or her) so uncomfortable that they will concentrate on dealing with their personal discomfort rather than offering resistance to the law officer.
‘Tazer’ electro-muscular disruption devices
- A new concept in weaponry. The Tazer is a less-lethal weapon. Years ago Tazers were described as non-lethal weapons, but experience has shown that less lethal is the better description. Tazers are designed and intended not to kill, but when unfortunate circumstances combine, Tazers have killed. It is a case of potential Tazer targets – BEWARE! Things could go wrong for you, because you might have a ‘combination of unfortunate circumstances’, such as a weak heart that you are not aware of etc… So beware.
‘Glock’ self-loading pistols
- A modern 9mm handgun. Magazine fed and magazine holding up to 17 rounds. In the hands of a good shot, accurate out to 25 metres. Chancy after that. Glocks are lethal weapons. That means that the intention of a Glock user will be to kill or seriously wound. Uses a short snubnose 9mm cartridge.
‘Heckler & Koch’ MP5 carbines – [H&KMP5]
- A 9mm modern German designed and manufactured assault weapon that can be used in semi-automatic, limited burst, or full automatic mode. Capable of 700 rounds per minute in full automatic. In Police service it usually has single-shot semi-automatic and limited burst capability. Single shot means one bullet fired for every one trigger-pull. Limited burst means three bullets fired for every one trigger pull. Full automatic could mean up to 30 bullets coming in under three seconds with the trigger kept pressed. Can hit beyond 100 metres (on a football field, from the goalpost at one end to the goalpost at the other end), but usually considered accurate up to 100m. Uses a regular 9mm cartridge. Generally intended for use in close quarter ops where shooter and target are five to twenty-five metres apart and could be inside buildings or vehicles etc.. A weapon designed and intended to kill.
‘Colt’ M4 carbines and ‘Colt’ M16 assault rifles
- American designed and manufactured 5.56mm assault weapons using long rifle cartridges. General characteristics are the same as the H&KMP5. However, the M16 has a longer rifle barrel and is deadly accurate out to 300 metres (the length of three football fields). The M4’s shorter barrel drops the accuracy range to the 100m of the H&KMP5. The M4, like the H&KMP5, is meant for close quarter ops. Designed and intended to kill.
- Single barrel semi-automatic shotguns that fire standard shotgun ammunitions. In Police service there are special ammunitions available, one of which is a solid shot that is useful for busting open locked doors. Can also fire very fine ‘birdshot’. Useful as a weapon in unusual situations where lethality is not a high consideration.
‘ARWN’ 37mm baton guns
- A rather odd looking weapon designed and intended for crowd control work. The 37mm cartridge (about 1.5 inches diameter) comes in a variety of loads. It can be filled with small blocks of wood, or tear gas (CS gas), or pepper spray, or coloured smoke. In crowd control work, its main use is to fire the ‘rubber bullet’. This is a bullet that is 37mm diameter and about 100m (4 inches) length. Intended only to hurt, but in use and over the years, rubber bullets have killed. The ARWN is semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and can project a round up to 100m. 37mm ammunitions generally, are not designed to be lethal..[
- CS (Tear gas) and Smoke (white or coloured). Hand thrown mostly. They can only be effective if the Policeperson is within throwing range OR the wind is in the right direction. Smoke is non-lethal. CS is painful and very discomfiting but is also non-lethal. The grenade will emit far more smoke/CS than a 37mm round.
The Tazer and the lethal weapons (Glock, H&KMP5, M4, M16) are all equipped with ‘red dot’ laser aiming devices. These devices project a laser beam that will land where the bullet will hit. The ‘red dot’ also makes it far easier to guarantee a kill at night or in bad light. The ‘red dot’ is usually activated by a mechanism connected to the safety catch or trigger. Generally, if a Policeman ‘red dots’ you; you should be aware that you are probably a finger squeeze away from the undertaker and an obituary. If it’s a Tazer, you’re a finger squeeze away from severe pain – but you should survive.
The limited burst capability of the H&KMP5, M4, and M16 means that if you’re running or moving fast, the Policeperson need only shift to three-round burst mode and instead of a single bullet coming; there’ll be a close spread of three bullets coming and the hit probability odds zoom heavily against you. Multiple three-bound bursts can follow in rapid succession.
Now you know what’s behind that rather boring looking notice in what’s called the Official Gazette.