Fatal shootings of unarmed black men by American police officers has made regular lead international news headlines recently but so far 613 people had been killed to date by US police in 2016.
While American police are armed, the UK police are not but there are over 5,000 specially trained firearm units who show up brandishing weapons and Home Office statistics show that in England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2016, British police discharged seven bullets.
The Home Office notes that the statistics do not include animal destruction, accidental discharge of guns or the shooting out of car tyres in police chases.
Apart from the difference with US police being not routinely armed, the decision on whether to shoot is mostly made through the chain of command, meaning even when police with guns arrive, they have to receive clearance before they shoot in most circumstances.
The United States of course has a bigger population than the UK but on a per-capita basis, Britain’s rate of police gun use would translate into US police shooting 35 bullets in an entire year and as we hear far to often, that is generally a day's toll for American police.
Does make you wonder if either America is just more violent, the police are far too trigger happy or because of the madcap gun laws, the Police there are more likely to come up against an armed target and are therefore more likely to shoot first in fear of being shot themselves.