View Full Version : Armed Police?

tony draper
12th May 2003, 17:53
Item on the news this morning, for the first time the majority serving Police officers in a poll have agreed that all front line police officers should carry firearms.
Not sure what they mean by front line police officers, I would have though all police officers were front line, anyway as someone with a serving police officer in the family I agree 100%.
Not sure how you call up one of those polls in here but what do you peeps think.?
For or agin?

12th May 2003, 19:09
Certainly I would be worried about a fully armed police force in the UK, this is a reaction to a problem that the government and the judiciary are not willing to deal with head on.

In my humble opinion this will only increase the occurrence of weapons amongst criminal elements when what is required is a zero tolerance policy towards the carriage of offensive weapons.

Youth today often carry knives because other youths carry knives, this lead to a "my dad is bigger than your dad" type of escalation until someone starts carrying a firearm.

The problem needs dealing with at a street level with harsh penalties for youths caught in possession of knives or using glasses or bottles coupled with a four week poster campaign and media blitz to explain that from a certain date you will get a severe judicial stuffing.

Forget all this social worker, leather elbow pad crap about them having an underprivileged upbringing. My family crawled out of the slums of Manchester and none of us walk round with a knife. It takes some serious bravery and cooperation between those we elect and those who are appointed to serve as judges.

12th May 2003, 20:19
I'm completely against the idea of arming our police. More and more decisions made seem to be based upon which toys the police want to play with than any idea about reducing the levels of, and effects of crime. I don't personally have a problem with firearms, but I don't see any need for the police to carry them. Give them a grape instead. :)

I'm not convinced there is even a need for the number of police dedicated to armed response units and the like. I understand the counterterrorist angle but the expenditure and waste of resources seems rediculous.

tony draper
12th May 2003, 20:32
I think a good old fashioned 12 gauge pump with reduced velocity ammo and plastic shot kept close at hand would be better than a handgun, and move away from the military type training,why they think that anybody wearing a sidearm should be dressed up like a SAS man beats me.
We had a crazy situation here, a Canadian warship was visiting the Tyne, they had a armed honour guard at the bottom of the gangplank, the police had to be sent to protect the armed guards from the young rabble,who were throwing rocks and generaly taking the piss, same with armed police on duty, they often have to have unarmed officers to protect them, they can hardly shoot the young feckers, and the little bastards know this.

12th May 2003, 21:03
I imagine that the little bastards have hit on a perfect way to protest such a move were it to happen. Can't think why the idea of coppers being taunted to breaking point everywhere they go amuses me. :)

I read the autobiography of one of the ART dudes, he was a complete muppet who moaned about not getting the same money as the SAS!! Would be a lot cheaper to give them an action-man and a sandpit to play in.

13th May 2003, 04:19
Sorry draper, you must have been cleaning your tooth at the time.

There has been a one per cent shift in Police Officers' opinions towards firearms which still leaves the overwhelming majority opposed to the idea.

tony draper
13th May 2003, 04:36
Strange UR, the item on the news this morning specificley mentioned a poll of serving police officers and I think it was 68% were in favour,hense this post, I may have picked it up wrong of course.

13th May 2003, 05:34
BBC News website, today:

"Despite rocketing gun crime, the number of police officers wanting to be routinely armed has risen just 1% in eight years, a survey has suggested.

Police Federation figures show 78% of police officers do not want to carry guns, compared to 79% in 1995."

tony draper
13th May 2003, 05:56
Sorry UR , I stand corrected, I must have picked it up back to front, not unusual for me these days. :(

13th May 2003, 18:53
The comment in the book by the "Plod with a gun" from the armed response team about not getting the same pay as UK special forces does make me laugh.

Firstly, in order to get into special forces you need to complete military basic training, special forces selection and then continuation training. This is all stuff in the public domain. Many take more complex routes via airbourne or commando units. After that there is specific training for your allotted task or role. Depending on whether you join through the infantry or a corps this will be between 1 year and 1.5 years of just pure physical and mental punishment/training not including the actual time spent learning the reality of the job as a soldier in a unit outside of training. When I was a regular soldier we had a 50% dropout rate in basic training, then around 50% on courses such as P Company. Of these a few chose to go on to other courses usch as selection. Something like 100 would start and I beleive about five would make it through to continuation training. etc etc etc.

I think there is a fundamental difference between this and the armed response training of the police which is more akin to basic army FIBUA training that most soldiers do.

What "Plod with a gun" needs to think about is who gets asked to pick up the pieces when it goes beyond his capability, and who does this on little more than basic army pay?

tony draper
13th May 2003, 20:24
Just about every other police force in the world carry a sidearm, I dont know why it provokes such soul searching and hand wringing in the UK.
Its 2003, the days a policeman could do his job with a whisle and a clip along the ear are long gone,IMHO firearms use among the criminals is a perminent fixture now.
No amount of these silly gun amnesties is going to stop it,they are the equivilent of the poitical soundbite,more for the benifit of the media than any practical use, guns are more available now than they have ever been,and modern weapons, not the war sovenier weaponry that tended to be used in the past.

Tuba Mirum
13th May 2003, 22:15
Dead right about the efficacy (lack of) of amnesties in dealing with the issue of armed criminals. On TV recently, the police proudly showed off a home-made cannon - not sure what sort of ammo it would fire, but distinctly smaller than a 25-pounder, bit of a toy really. It wasn't made clear what the likelihood was of this being used in an armed robbery, if it hadn't been handed in. There were also a number of air rifles visible - again, not wildly relevant to serious crime IMHO.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see people holding unlicensed guns at home (though I have sympathy with their use as souvenirs); but I do object to time and money being spent on an exercise that as far as I can see has no hope whatever of achieving its touted aim of making the streets safer.

14th May 2003, 06:11
Does anyone have any figures for the number of police personnel in UK killed or injured in the line of duty over the past few years?

In Australia, which has had armed police forces for decades, many police lives have been saved due to the capability they have for self-defence.

I doubt that Sydney, for instance, would have as many incidents of a violent, life-threatening nature as cities in UK of much lower population do.

Policemen, who live daily in a nether world few of us would recognise, deserve the right to self-protection to a much greater degree than the average citizen.

How many of us would like to be citizens of Baghdad right now with its law and order problems?

An armed and educated police force is essential these days, in most countries, so that we can all live in some sort of sanity and safety.

Take care of your police or they will not be able to take care of you!

Send Clowns
15th May 2003, 01:26
Actually, Lancia, I think it is remarkably few, considering how much larger the UK population is than the Aussie, and how concentrated it is in large cities. I would tend to believe our police if they say they do not require to be armed in the general course of events. Of course we have well-trained armed response teams if necessary.

How do you know lives have been saved in Australia? Might the armed police have escalated many of hte incidents? You cannot know what would have happened if most police were unarmed.

Of course police have more right of self-protection than citizens. They are allowed to carry offensive weapons (batons) and chemical debilitating agents, and to use them in many circumstances.

It is very noticeable that amongst most of the community in the UK the Police are liked and trusted. A Dutch friend of mine was astonished that I would ask a policeman for directions, an obvious choice to me, a trusted person who knows the area. In the Netherlands everyone is very wary of the police, even this young, middle class girl. Here only crooks and scaremongering radical lefties or the few who have had bad experiences are scared of the police. This fear can sometimes be seen in the US as well, and in France. Perhaps unarmed police are easier to trust, therefore less likely to need protection, and more likely to be helped by the community.

15th May 2003, 21:33
Most police forces are indeed armed Drapes, though often with pipsqueak, rusty 7.65s or similar (as I spotted in Spain a few years ago).
Being armed certainly dosn't make them effective, or even guarantee their safety in the very rare occasions that firearms are required. Infact many cases suggest that poorly trained / equipped police forces are more of a liability when hardened criminals are involved.

You have to take the culture of the place into account I guess, I would hardly advocate the US police forces disarming, however I cannot see any need whatsoever for police carrying firearms in this country.

A book I'm reading mentions that the Ney York Police as so fat that they exude a 'if you run we'll have to shoot' statement of intent. :)

16th May 2003, 08:40
I had a friend who used to run a gun club (pre Dunblane). A lot of the local armed response team were members and shot there privately. We were in the club one Sunday and this bloke came in, said Hi to my friend and went into the range with his pistol.

About 35-40 minutes later he says bye to my mate and says he was just getting some practice in as he was going to have to requalify on Monday and leaves.

The range officer comes out and relates how the bloke who just left had banged 60+ rounds down range and had managed to miss the target almost as often as he hit it and had a best group of 6 inches at 20 meters. The worrying thing was that this muppet had been a firearms officer for nearly 10 years!

I had only just joined and I normally grouped under 3 inches at 25m.

The idea of the average bobby wandering around with a Glock and firing 2-300 rounds a year scares me sick. There have been enough dodgy police shootings in the UK in recent years including -

- a man shot from behind while carrying a chair leg in a plastic bag.

- a man shot to death while asleep in his own bed.

If they want to arm the police then the training needs to be improved, the culture changed and the amount of ammo they shoot in practice increased dramatically.

19th May 2003, 06:12
Why not a compromise solution? Tazer guns?

Forget the Liberal Luvvie Nonsense about the "Long Term Effects" surely they cant be as bad as a 9mm hollow point to the head?


19th May 2003, 07:04
Tazers, bean bags, glue guns, net guns and a few more exotics are presently being worked on. But whichever of these do come into service we will always have the extremist or two that will need to be taken out.
Suicide bombers who are becoming increasingly prevalent these days are unfortunately simply not going to respond to the more 'humane' methods. They are allready prepared to die and shooting them is pretty much the only 'safe' way of defusing them. I also have no doubt that others will disagree, but then I would not want to risk tazing a guy with a bomb. The difficulty of course is recognizing the fact that they are bombers. Very tricky.

20th May 2003, 15:56
I feel obliged to my fellow Aussies to point out that a few years ago the Victoria Police killed more of their own in firearm accidents than others killed in the line of duty.

Protect our police disarm them.

Having many years of firearm experience and knowing many police, there are few I would like to be near with guns drawn.

I like the British system of dedicated Firearms officers but they should be mature officers not testosterone driven morons.

29th May 2003, 09:22
I friend sent me this. Given the number of firearms incidents can the Police really justify this sort of expenditure?


14:00 - 28 May 2003

Police are building an SAS style training block to train cops in
fighting terrorism, riots, and siege busting. More than 1 million has already been spent on a state of the art gunnery range, a bullet proof room for close quarter gun fights, and a complex of rooms, corridors and stairs for exercises in storming buildings.

And today senior officers of South Wales Police will be asked to approve the construction of the so-called Siege Street, complete with shops and a fake pub to aid training in fighting major public disorder in city and town centres.

Planners visited the elite SAS at Hereford to see their training
facilities as well as several other police forces before starting on the new
buildings at Waterton Cross.

Police in South Wales now routinely have armed officers at incidents at least once day, and plan to have 150 of the 3,200 strong force trained in the use of guns by the end of the year.

Sergeant Mark Samuel, head of firearms training, said: "This new
facility helps us to train for multiple scenarios, and for the officers involved is a test of nerve and decision making."

Senior officers have to give permission for firearms to be used, and although nobody has ever been shot at directly in South Wales, Sergeant Samuel doesn't rule it out in the future.

He said: "At the end of the day it is the individual officer who has to decide to shoot."

He said that there are 36 firearms trained officers on duty at Cardiff Wales Airport every day, but others could be deployed to places such as the Swansea-Cork ferry terminal depending on the level of terrorism threat at the time. He forecast that specialist groups such as the armed response units could be expanded in the future if the threat from guns illegally held by criminals increased.

A poll by the Police Federation showed that 70 per cent of officers
nationally were still against everybody being routinely armed on duty.

Sergeant Samuel said: "In South Wales the feeling is generally against such a move."

Only three of the 125 officers who are currently firearms trained are women, and there is one more among the 36 currently being taught to use guns.

There is no limit to the length of time somebody can be a qualified
firearms officer, but a period of seven years is generally recognised for
anti-terrorism duty at the airport and working with the armed response vehicles.

Sergeant Samuel recognised that despite the recent firearms amnesty many were still illegally held.

"There are a lot of weapons out there which have been imported over the years, and sooner or later it is going to have an effect," he said.

Four armed response vehicles are on the roads of South Wales 24 hours a day, and have to be capable of reaching any potential firearms incident with 15 minutes, although the average is around eight minutes.

Two pistols and two rifles for two marksmen are kept in a safe on board the cars, and another safe is being installed to carry guns which can fire non-lethal baton rounds, better known as rubber bullets.

Police are trained to fire at the body rather than arms or legs, and
have to achieve 70 per cent accuracy in training, but the actual percentage is much higher with some of the crack marksman achieving figures of more than 90 per cent.

The training rooms are steel and rubber lined, and air conditioning
units constantly ventilate the ranges to operating theatre standard to minimise the risk of lead poisoning.

The walls absorb the live ammunition fired and are changed annually by a specialist firm."

A number of police forces have also acquired Barrett style .50 cal rifles which are capable of shooting out to 2000 metres + (or alternatively penetrating 14mm of rolled hardened armour at 200 metres), normally the justification for this is that the force concerned has a International airport in its area. However, if a international terrorist hijacks a plane is it really going to be contained by the local plod or by the SAS from Hereford.

Given the sorts of "accidents" which supposedly specially trained firearms officers receive, there are still significant problems in their use -