Routine Arming of Police.(21 Posts)
Following on from yesterdays horrific double murder of PC's Bone and Hughes in Greater Manchester and since the slaying of PC Beshenivsky and manyother Police Officers, there has inevitably been calls for the police to be routinely armed. Despite the overwhelming majority of serving police officers being opposed to this move, it seems like the wider public is more receptive to the idea - if not particularly enthusiastic for it.
From a personal perspective, I confess to feeling uneasy at the sight of armed police on British streets - it just seems, somehow, un-British. Also, I cannot see how authority derived from the barrel of a gun is good for the populace or the police and there would be the further issue of criminals responding to armed police by arming themselves.
Finally, and without wishing to tar all police officers, I would worry about putting lethal force into the hands of organisations which, as we have seen from the Hillsborough debacle, cannot be trusted to be open with the truth.
How do you feel about this?
Personally I'm not too bothered either way. I can see the pros & cons of both sides of the argument.
Arming our police gives them real teeth to deal with those dangerous situations but at the risk of innocent people getting shot. But I don't subscribe to the argument that giving our police guns will create an arms race with the criminals.
But I'd also be sad to see it because it makes the police less approachable, something I'd hate to see us lose.
But at the end of the day, the most important opinion on this subject has to be from the officers themselves. They are the ones on the front lines and know better than any of us of if guns are going to help or hinder their job. They are the ones we hold accountable when they pull the trigger. They are the ones possibly facing murder/manslaughter charges if they mistakenly shoot someone, let alone the emotional toll it would take.
And so far from what I've read the overwhelming majority of police are against it so I think we must respect that. The day that changes, I'd support routine arming. But I do think there's a good case for adding tasers to the standard kit our police carry. It wouldn't have helped yesterday of course but then again I doubt guns would have helped either.
I wouldnt support routine arming of Police. I would leave. I wouldn't trust some of my colleagues with a pencil sharpener never mind a gun.
Scurryfunge In your experience, would the arming of police cause a change in the quality and (excuse the pun) calibre of cadets who joined up. In other words, would arming the police cause certain 'types*' of person to join up?
* What I am trying to politely say is would arming the police lead to a bunch of nut-job, redneck, yahoos joining up for the power trip of being armed?
Some may well join up now for those reasons anyway. The vast majority do not.
Absolutely against it for the reason scurry gave.
British police have been armed for over 40 years, ALL PSNI officers male and female are armed 24/7 on and off duty, obviously the selection process for this police force is very strict and the training as to the use of firearms and riot equipment much more intensive than mainland police.
What are PSNI officers?
I agree - don't arm the police. Give the police guns and the crims will get grenades. Those that haven't already got them, that is.
The only effective protection for a police officer who is just doing her job by responding to a call from the public is to make it more difficult for criminals to get armed in the first place and to find the weapons that are already out there.
The PSNI are the police force of Northern Ireland (U.K).
Thanks - I should have been able to guess that. Yes, of course they are armed. I had forgotten that. And so are many (all?) of the other police forces in Europe, as far as I know.
Do you live in Northern Ireland? Does having armed police make you safer, or at least feel safer?
I certainly feel a lot safer with armed police about, I find it really strange when I travel to Britain and not see officers with guns tbh. I see armed police as a deterrent even in common situations like normal road checks, people are more likely to co operate when they are dealing with armed officers imo but then again N.I does operate a slightly different legal system to England/Scotland which gives the police and courts greater powers.
In the UK a cop is more likely to get killed in a car accident than as the result of gun violence.
In the USA a significant proportion of cops get killed with their own gun.
Just a few 'facts' to put things into perspective.
Unlike bureni I feel a lot less safe when there are armed police about. Airports, for example, used to be fairly friendly. Now that they are patrolled by police with very visible guns, they are much more sinister environments. If armed police were patrolling my town I would see that as an indication that I was living in a dangerous, threatening place.
But all European countries have armed police and they don't feel dangerous or threatening.
If police aren't particularly visible then it doesn't matter if they are armed or not. However, I often see officers from the local Police Station strolling down the High Street where I live or getting a sandwich in the local supermarket. They seem friendly and approachable. If they were wielding automatic weapons like the ones in the black bullet-proof vests at Heathrow it would create a completely atmosphere.
The 'it intimidates the public' argument has been used over the years for not allowing cops to have riot gear, for not having American style 'night sticks' and for not wearing bullet proof vests.
The above is today a common sight. Does it make cops less approachable? Not really, at least not to me. But then, I work in the City so I'm use to seeing armed cops.
Brits are quite widely travelled these days. We are use to seeing armed cops in Spain, France and popular US holiday places like Florida and New York.
I am not 'intimidated' by armed police but they are certainly less approachable.. If I saw armed officers patrolling my relatively quiet, well-behaved market town it would change the feel of the town and imply - as in Northern Ireland - that trouble requiring an armed response was more rather than less likely.
Seeing as there have already been 1400 deaths in police custody or following police custody in England and wales since 1990, I don't think routinely arming the police is a good idea, unless you want the police to kill even more people:
Deaths in police custody since 1998: 333; officers convicted: none
IPCC study finds failure in care of vulnerable prisoners and says juries are unwilling to convict police officers
1,433 people in England and Wales have died either in police custody or following other police contact since 1990, according to data compiled by Inquest, a charity specialising in the investigation of contentious deaths.
Those figures are very misleading.
I accept that some people die because of police criminal actions or because of neglect and/or incompetence but come on. Each year lots of people drop down dead while not in police custody.
A lot of the people arrested by the police are off their heads on drugs or booze, or violently deranged.
A police officer tasered a blind man yesterday. If he had had a gun, maybe he would have killed him.
I know that's only a one-off, but accidents do happen.
But the most important reason for not arming the police is that they themselves don't want to carry guns (maybe for the same reasons Scurry gave above).
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