Earlier today, London police shot and killed a man in the northern area of the capital during an operation described by British authorities as “intelligence-led.”
Scotland Yard reported that armed officers carried out an operation on a residential road in Wood Green on Friday morning. During the operation, police fired at and struck a man, who sustained gunshot wounds. The as-of-yet unidentified man died shortly after London’s air ambulance and paramedics arrived at the scene. Scotland Yard further reported that there were no other deaths or injuries.
Despite the very rare police shooting, the Metropolitan Police stated that the intelligence-led operation was not terror-related.
Authorities are investigating the specific circumstances regarding the shooting.
Yet, despite the police shooting that happened in the U.K. this morning, it is an extremely rare occurrence and nothing compared to what happens in the United States every year. The number of fatal shootings by police officers in the U.K. simply pale in comparison to the number of annual fatal shootings by police in the U.S.
To put things in perspective, in 2015 alone, police killed 1,063 people in the United States. In the month of November, United States police officers fatally shot 78 individuals. This might even be a conservative number, as all statistics were self-reported by police districts.
Conversely, in the past 95 years combined, British police officers fatally shot 51 people in single-shooting incidents.
There is a reason for this major discrepancy. Gun ownership (legally and illegally) is much more widespread in the United States. Europe has stricter gun control laws and regulations than the United States. As a result, European police officers do not face shooters very often.
For instance, in 2013 in Finland, only six bullets were fired - in total - by police. Moreover, in Iceland, there has only been one recorded fatal shooting by police in the entire 71 years of the country’s existence.
The United States may have a lot to learn from Europe’s gun control laws.