(Britain) Police 'opposed to carrying guns'


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Drizzt
May 12, 2003, 07:00 PM
Police 'opposed to carrying guns'


There are 800 fewer armed police now than five years ago
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.

The survey also revealed that 47% of frontline officers in England and Wales backed mandatory wearing of body armour and eight out of 10 said more officers should be trained to use firearms.

Federation chairman Jan Berry said: "Once again this result proves that, in spite of huge risks and dangers police officers face, they acknowledge the vital importance of policing by consent, in partnership with the communities they serve.

Gun crime

"They recognise that openly carrying guns would fundamentally change their relationship with the public."

The news comes after a police union raised concerns over a drop in the number of officers trained to use firearms.

The Police Federation said there were currently only 5,700 officers trained to use guns, compared with 6,500 five years ago.

This has led to fears that officers face an increased risk from armed criminals.

"When gun crime and violence are going up alarmingly, to see that huge reduction is extremely worrying," said the federation chairman.

"We need to try to establish why there has been this reduction and ensure that officers on the street have the right levels of safety and security."

Some believed the survey would show a large rise in the number of officers wanting to carry guns as a matter of routine following a dramatic increase in gun crime.

In 2002 there were nearly 10,000 gun offences - an increase of a third on the previous year.

But the results, announced at the Police Federation conference in Blackpool on Monday, showed the vast majority of 13,000 officers who responded to the survey opposed routinely carrying guns.

'Less back-up'

The Police Superintendents' Association, which represents senior policing staff, has said it does not want to see all officers armed.

Spokesman Kevin Morris said: "We have a pretty firm position that we don't feel that we should be armed on a routine basis.

"It is disturbing that the number of officers trained to carry weapons has fallen, which of course means our officers on the beat have got less back-up, and that really needs to be addressed.

"We train to a very high standard in the UK but we don't routinely arm.

"That would mean something like 125,000 more officers would need to be trained, and some would fail."

Tony Banks, Labour MP in Newham, east London, said arming all police officers could deter criminals.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Guns are almost a fashion accessory among certain sections of the community.

"You wouldn't have an open gunfight in the street or wander around letting people see you had a gun, if you thought you might find yourself confronting an armed police officer."

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes said: "Unless we reduce the numbers of guns and knives on the streets it will be increasingly difficult to resist calls for more and more armed police.

"[But] armed police on our streets must remain the exception and not the rule."

Police Federation survey
22% in favour of being routinely armed
80% want more officers trained and issued with firearms
47% favour the mandatory wearing of body armour
40% injured at least once in two years after an assault by a member of the public

Gun crime facts
Gun crime up 35% in 2002
Firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes
Gun crime up 600% since 1978
Handgun crimes have doubled since Dunblane

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3019133.stm

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Hkmp5sd
May 12, 2003, 07:42 PM
"You wouldn't have an open gunfight in the street or wander around letting people see you had a gun, if you thought you might find yourself confronting an armed police officer."

Wow. This guy just provided the justification for allowing all citizens to legally carry a concealed weapon. Just replace armed police officer with armed citizen and you have a very true observation.

P95Carry
May 12, 2003, 07:45 PM
Police Federation figures show 78% of police officers do not want to carry guns INCREDIBLE!! They must want to be shot!

If they still have this nieve idea that it's ''bad for image'' then why the hell don't they work out a system for concealed carry.?

Something is wrong in their heads ..... up and up go gun crime figures and the idiots still want to be unarmed ........ must be something I'm missing here. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

hammer4nc
May 12, 2003, 08:37 PM
Gun crime facts
Gun crime up 35% in 2002
Firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes
Gun crime up 600% since 1978
Handgun crimes have doubled since Dunblane

Copywright MI6 document fabrication branch? Rupert Murdoch controlling BBC? Or...?

< unpublished portion of the police federation survey>
44% backed mandatory painting of a bullseye on issued body armor...Chairman Berry provided this analysis: "They recognise that openly carrying guns would fundamentally change their relationship with the criminals, who are still members of the public after all...":what:

Pilgrim
May 12, 2003, 09:31 PM
Police Federation figures show 78% of police officers do not want to carry guns, compared to 79% in 1995. The survey also revealed that 47% of frontline officers in England and Wales backed mandatory wearing of body armour...

How many wanted to carry a bag of sand about in their kit so they can bury their heads?

Chris Rhines
May 12, 2003, 09:41 PM
I applaud this trend.

- Chris

Standing Wolf
May 12, 2003, 09:45 PM
Rarely does a day pass when I fail to feel grateful to our forefathers for having rebelled against the English and founded a republic.

England seems a nation intent on suicide, Nazi-style tyranny, or both at once.

WilderBill
May 12, 2003, 10:46 PM
Yes Standing Wolf, I'm afraid that's what they will end up with.
I wonder if they could ever find the balls to do something about it.
I wonder if Scotland, Wales and Ireland are willing to go down the tube with them.

Nightfall
May 12, 2003, 10:56 PM
Gun crime facts
Gun crime up 35% in 2002
Firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes
Gun crime up 600% since 1978
Handgun crimes have doubled since Dunblane

Holy crap... how can anybody still favor disarming the civilian populace with these kind of figures? It amazes me that people can even put on their pants in the morning when they can't grasp this kind of basic, simple logic.

agricola
May 13, 2003, 12:51 AM
nightfall/hammerinc,

Gun crime up 35% in 2002: read the statistics governing the way in which the Home Office counts a firearm offence

Firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes: in a population of about 53-55 million people this is a very very small amount

Gun crime up 600% since 1978: post- Hungerford and post- Dunblane legislation have reduced the number of permitted weapons while increasing the number of offences. No doubt the usual "well Home Office stats count one burglary in a block of flats...." will be trotted out again, but the explanation is clear enough if you actually read the material.

Handgun crimes have doubled since Dunblane: see above. handguns per se werent illegal prior to 1997, now they are.

wilderbill,

yes, yes and the Irish are a separate country so I cant speak for them. That said, the PSNI are routinely armed against the various provo / para groups.

sw,

are you a bot?

pilgrim,

We have a different style of policing here than in the US. Its done at the behest of and with the consent of the community; an all-armed service would destroy that concept and turn us into a purely law enforcement organization, rather than a public service which is what we are at present. thats too much of a sacrifice to make IMHO. In any case, we would be hypocrites if on one hand we demanded the right to be armed for self defence on one hand and yet disarmed the public on the other.

I was one of the few that voted, and I voted no.

CZ-75
May 13, 2003, 01:00 AM
I was one of the few that voted, and I voted no.

I find that admirable. Foolish, but admirable. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and unarmed police don't have it any better than unarmed civilians.

Mk VII
May 13, 2003, 03:05 AM
the American style of law enforcement, based on 'do as I say or I'll kill you' is not something many of us would wish to see here. Those British tourists who have had the misfortune to experience a moving traffic stop in the USA emerge frightened, chastened, and highly critical of such policing methods.
Most police officers here don't like guns, don't like the people who want to own guns, and don't see why anyone should be permitted to possess one.

igor
May 13, 2003, 08:40 AM
Up here you can count on that every single LEO you meet will be armed, openly or concealed, and very well trained in both when and how to use the options of use of force he/she has.

This has always been the case and there is no problem with community policing because of that. I really don't think that inanimate objects present in a communication situation will unavoidably affect interactions between humans. The police are very easily approached, they can both talk and listen, read and write. And de-escalate stand-offs with the typical holed-in desperadoes long enough so that damages are minimal.

Both trains of thought in this thread seem to bet too much on non-existant causalities. My .02€ :p

jsalcedo
May 13, 2003, 09:11 AM
In my experiences with LEO's I get a few different responses. (traffic stops or reporting a situation)

The first and most common is the I look down on you in disgust and I'm going to scream at you because I'm johnny law!
(inner city police)

The second is the relatively new cop who may be fresh and idealistic, is helpful and respectful.(suburbs and county)

The last one is the older professional LEO like DPS or youth/public relations who treat me calmly and fairly.(interstate highway and random)

Being armed had nothing to do with the professionalism or lack thereof by LEOs because I have never had a gun drawn on me.

Pilgrim
May 13, 2003, 11:58 AM
pilgrim,
We have a different style of policing here than in the US. Its done at the behest of and with the consent of the community; an all-armed service would destroy that concept and turn us into a purely law enforcement organization, rather than a public service which is what we are at present. thats too much of a sacrifice to make IMHO. In any case, we would be hypocrites if on one hand we demanded the right to be armed for self defence on one hand and yet disarmed the public on the other.
Agricola,

Last things first. I agree with you that insisting the populace be defenseless while the police go about armed is hypocritical.

The 17+ years I spent as a peace officer were at the behest and with the consent of the community. The community was very vocal when it perceived its officers weren't acting according to their beliefs on how the sheriff's department should provide services.

When our current sheriff took office in 1993, he instituted a "new" program called Community Oriented Policing. When we deputies were introduced to how it worked, we mostly looked at each other and asked, "How is it different from what we are already doing?"

I managed to get through a 17+ year career without shooting anyone, - though I came close a couple of times - without once hitting anyone with my baton, and without violating anyone's civil rights. I was sprayed more times with pepper spray in training than I ever sprayed anyone while affecting an arrest. Now, how is that much different from your concept of operating at the behest of and with the consent of the community?

I wish you well if your officers think they can keep the garbage can lid on without resorting to the use of deadly weapons. In my experience, crooks do not limit their choice of weapons to what they think the officers will use against them. They will use whatever means are necessary to keep from going to jail. Merely beating a copper to escape is a lot of work and not a very efficient use of one's time.

agricola
May 13, 2003, 01:22 PM
pilgrim,

the point was that the community doesnt support all Police being armed, therefore we wont have an all-armed Police service. thats no different from the US example you cite.

in my experience over here one has to divide the oppurtunist criminal (which are in the overwhelming majority) with the hardcore element (dealers, armed robbers etc). most oppurtunists here dont habitually carry anything illegal because they know that we know who they are and the powers of stop-and-search are much stronger in the UK than the US, which means they can get arrested for possession of items as well as actual commission of the crime.

the "professional" criminal on the other hand is a different matter and is more likely to be armed, but again only when he is going to do whatever he is planning to do. even then, its not that likely that he is going to be tooled up - armed crime comprises 0.1 - 0.2% of the total figures.

you have to remember that a) firearms, despite the fervent wish of the media, are not easily available over here; and b) they are overwhelmingly located in the big cities, especially London.

M1911
May 13, 2003, 02:49 PM
Those British tourists who have had the misfortune to experience a moving traffic stop in the USA emerge frightened, chastened, and highly critical of such policing methods. I've been stopped for traffic violations on about 7 occasions since I started driving in 1976. With the exception of the first incident, on all occasions the police officer was polite, professional, and non-threatening. On those occasions, I was polite and respectful. On the one occasion when the officer wasn't polite, frankly I deserved the verbal spanking he gave me -- I was 16 and driving very irresponsibly.

The lesson is really pretty simple. If you don't want to be stopped, obey the traffic rules. If you are stopped, be polite, keep your hands on the wheel, stay in the car, and do what you are told. It's not hard to treat the officer with a little respect and deference.

Pilgrim
May 13, 2003, 03:19 PM
the point was that the community doesnt support all Police being armed, therefore we wont have an all-armed Police service. thats no different from the US example you cite.

In the context of above you are quite correct. The same would be true here if the public didn't want their police to be armed. If the police didn't like it, then they would have to take up another career. This is one of the reasons I encourage all young police officers and cadets to develop their other skills, so they can continue to support their families if it becomes too difficult or unbearable to continue in law enforcement.

Your situation may change if the casualties the police and the public take at the hands of criminals become too painful to bear or rationalize away. The question will be... who takes the lead to arm your police? The officers themselves who refuse to go in harm's way in what are essentially suicide missions? Or the public who is tired of being increasingly victimized to support your growing criminal element?

I would hesitate to classify any criminal as merely opportunistic or professional. Both can have the motivation to be deadly if the conditions are right. Most of my experience was with opportunistic criminals, but there were a few I knew never to turn my back on. They were brothers and eventually they graduated into serious crimes, one was arrested and charged with stabbing a man to death in a neighboring town.

If you are able to work effectively in the U.K. under the condtions the public places on you, then my hat is off to you.

R127
May 13, 2003, 03:44 PM
I doubt there is anyone on this board that takes as harsh a view of law enforcement agencies and officers as I do. I am tempted to say that armed LEOs are a particular threat to liberty and peace, but England proves me wrong on that count. It stands to reason if you're going to have cops, you may as well wrap them in kevlar and arm them. Now to my way of thinking that arming process probably doesn't require APCs, machineguns and a "us Vs them" attitude. A pistol on the belt and a shotgun or rifle in the patrol car sounds just about right to me. If you want to talk about not driving a wedge between law enforcement and the common citizen, how about doing away with this wrongheaded idea that cops are super-citizens that are worthy of more rights and special legal protections. If the guys who enforced the laws had to obey the exact same laws they enforce, well you can bet there'd be a lot of changes for the better around here.

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