Thankfully firearms police officers in South Yorkshire are rarely called into action.
Having not been needed to fire a bullet in the line of duty for 20 years the brave officers still have to be ready at a moment’s notice.
The chances are that at some point in the near future the firearms unit will be needed to do the job they have been trained to do.
It will be a sad moment for the county when it does happen and it could end up with a serious injury or worse as the final outcome of the incident.
But as Inspector Tim Mitchell, of the firearms unit, said: “Every self-respecting drug dealer or gang member feels the need to have a firearm – they are seen as status symbols.”
A police officer’s work is varied but they are also in one of those jobs where they never know if today will be the day that they don’t return home.
Being part of the firearms team emphasises that risk even more.
Living with that knowledge must put huge stresses on families and close friends.
We must be thankful that there are people prepared to put themselves in harm’s way and hope that they don’t have to do it for many more years to come.