MDP firearms instructors come together for annual conference

This year the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) held its annual firearms instructors conference at Yarnfield Park, Staffordshire and the theme was ‘Guardians of the standard’.

Ministry of Defence Police
4 min readMar 16, 2023
A laptop screen on top of the lectern at the firearms instructors conference behind which there are the attendees sitting at tables (this part of the picutre is blurred). The laptop is showing a slide of a presentation with the text ‘Firearms Instructors Conference — Guardians of the Standard’, the slide has the picture of a group of firearms instructors in the background, set outside in a teaching setting.

Over 130 firearms instructors from across the Force gathered at the Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre, set in the West Midlands for their annual conference.

The two-day conference was opened by Assistant Chief Constable Jason Gwillim, the portfolio lead for firearms training in the MDP, who addressed the instructors as ‘Guardians of the standard’, this year’s theme for the conference.

ACC Gwillim reminded the instructors of the importance of their role, in delivering firearms training for the Force, which meets the standards set by the College of Policing and National Police Firearms Training Curriculum (NPFTC).

The conference had a full agenda with presentations from the Force Firearms Officer and Chief Firearms Instructor along with other members of the Firearms Branch. It provided an opportunity to update the firearms instructors on key issues, as well as give them a forum to discuss and share experiences.

During the two days there were also sessions aimed at professional support and development, including a presentation from guest speaker, Professor Marc Jones, registered sports and exercise psychologist. He gave a thought-provoking talk around building stress responses and enhancing performance, describing techniques used by utilised by professional athletes, businesses, and military.

Professor Marc Jones presenting at the conference, his presentation is being displayed on a projector screen in front of the firearms instructors sitting in the audience.
Professor Marc Jones, presenting at the conference

Chief Firearms Instructor, Chief Inspector Steve McGlinchey, described the conference as a successful event, providing a platform for important dialogue, learning and action on critical issues.

Chief Inspector McGlinchey said:

“The MDP is a specialist police force with most of its officers carrying out the role of an Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) — this means they are selected, trained, accredited and authorised to carry a firearm when executing their duties.

We deliver unique specialist armed policing to protect Defence and national infrastructure, therefore it is crucial our AFOs are trained to the standards set by the College of Policing so that they are capable of carrying out their duties.

In order to carry arms, the MDP is also required to maintain its firearms license, and is subject to annual auditing, which includes an assessment of all training.

This means our firearms instructors are also trained to national standards and play a vital role in enabling the Force to continue to provide an armed policing capability. They are involved in training new recruits joining the Force as well as carrying out annual training to keep our officers’ qualifications up to date. We also have firearms instructors who teach specialist firearms training to officers in specialist roles and operational units.

Because of their important role, this is why we regard our instructors as ‘Guardians of the standard’, and as a result of the continuing hard work put in by everyone in the Firearms Branch and training teams, the MDP are now recognised by the College of Policing, as one of the leading forces in the delivery and management of firearms training.

Events such as this gives us, as managers, the chance to bring the instructors together, provide a forum for them to connect, learn and share, and to reinforce that they are a valuable part of the MDP, and what we do.”

Nearing the close of the conference, a highly regarded member of the Firearms Branch, Sergeant Russ Simmons was wished well in his forthcoming detachment to the College of Policing.

During his career with the MDP, Russ has taught fellow firearms instructors, and was the Force’s lead on delivering National Firearms Instructors courses. He also previously carried out the role of Assistant Chief Firearms Instructor, and chaired the tactics working group for the Force.

Chief Inspector McGlinchey (left) shaking hands with Sergeant Simmons (right) whilst handing him a present
Chief Inspector McGlinchey (left) shaking hands with Sergeant Simmons (right)

Russ’s move to the College of Policing is a significant achievement for both him and the Force, representing our progress in firearms delivery and training.

More information

The MDP firearms training team currently has vacancies for firearm instructors at various locations around the UK. Applications are invited from qualified Constable National Firearms Instructors, including officers that have retired in the last 36 months and still hold a valid qualification.

You can find out more about the role of a MDP firearms instructor and how to apply on our website: