Arming police would be knee-jerk reaction
Last updated at 12:12, Monday, 24 September 2012
“GOOD Evening” – the newsreader greets us, then lists stories that will show us that this evening is as far removed from “good” as we dare imagine.
Unemployment, the economy, brave lads in Afghanistan… As an avid news watcher, it all makes gloomy viewing. Then this week something took it to a whole new level. Two policewomen gunned down in broad daylight.
I followed the story throughout the day in increasing shock, from the early reports of an officer having being injured by gunfire, to the horrific truth that the two officers, servants of the public, had been killed.
This absolutely horrific crime has shocked both the nation and the watching world, with such events thankfully being so rare here in the United Kingdom.
I won’t go into any more detail here – it’s adequately and extensively covered elsewhere. Although I have to say that through this coverage, some of the press conferences, live TV interviews and subsequent reporting may well be a test of contempt laws.
The raw emotion of the reactions from Greater Manchester Police, whilst understandable, highlights an issue with satisfying a news hungry society “as it happens” and keeping on the right side of laws to safeguard any fair trial of suspects.
A bigger debate has once more been ignited – the routine arming of all police officers.
We need to take a moment or two before making knee-jerk calls for our officers to be equipped with firearms. Comparisons with other countries are often made; we are now one of the few remaining countries that do not routinely arm frontline officers, but we also have some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the world. A look at the statistics also forces us to question whether arming is the correct course of action. In the past ten years, six police officers have lost their lives through being shot with a firearm.
Compare this to thirty-three in ONE YEAR (2011) in the USA, where police are all equipped with handguns.
So does the arming of police officers simply lead to an increase in gun usage within the criminal fraternity? I would suggest strongly that it does.
We live in a society where an officer with a gun stands out, people look, feel uncomfortable, wonder what event demands such measures.
That is how it should be – the exception, not the norm.
Remember the Peelian principles on which the force was built – “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police.”
Arming police breaks down this key principle – it takes them to another level, the impression of a police detached from us all.
Whilst all our thoughts are with the families and colleagues of the fallen officers, let us not make a legacy that would break down the principles they committed to uphold.
First published at 12:11, Monday, 24 September 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
I understand we need deterents ray BUT arming all police officers is NOT the answer . And would hopefully not get the backing of big politicians or chief police . Tazers are bad enough and we already have some trigger happy tazzer users in the uk police. Can u imagine trigger happy police with guns ;-(
It scares me that some people want to arm the police.Just look at the amount of deaths caused by tazers.Probably more per year than by firearms.
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