This phenomenological research grew following media debate over the pressures that UK police firearms officers come under – political, social, cultural and organisational. As Senior Welfare Officer for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the author’s aim was to consider the most appropriate support for these officers. Questionnaires were issued to 115 GMP firearms officers to explore experiences of traumatic events and their use of support services. Six officers participated in semi-structured interviews and results were analysed using grounded theory. The study took place between November 2001 and April 2002. European Community police services were asked about their trauma support systems. The research found a discrepancy between the support favoured by police services and those used by the individual. Although officers preferred support to be informal, close at hand and accessible, peer support was an under-used resource. Professional counselling was felt to need a better consideration of the context and cultural processes.