(Britain) Police 'might shoot' to stop contaminated victims


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Drizzt
May 14, 2003, 08:28 PM
Financial Times (London)

May 14, 2003, Wednesday London Edition 2

SECTION: NATIONAL NEWS; Pg. 8

LENGTH: 455 words

HEADLINE: Police 'might shoot' to stop contaminated victims BIOLOGICAL ATTACK:

BYLINE: By JIMMY BURNS

DATELINE: BLACKPOOL

BODY:
Police officers might be forced to shoot members of the public to maintain order in the event of a biological attack, it was claimed yesterday.

The Police Federation's annual conference in Blackpool was told that so few officers had been trained to deal with a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological strikes that they would have to resort to "very unsavoury but necessary" aspects of crowd control. Bob Elder, chairman of the constables' central committee, said: "If we faced an attack, can government or the police service genuinely say that we have sufficient officers trained and equipped? The answer is a resounding No."

He did not refer to officers firing on civilians but federation insiders said police could have to resort to firearms to stop contamination being spread by fleeing victims.

However, the implication, that police might, in extremes, use officers trained in firearms to contain cordons and, if necessary, shoot was dismissed by the Home Office.

"The vast majority of the ordinary public would co-operate with the police in wanting to stay within a cordon and be decontaminated. In the unlikely event of individuals wanting to leave, police would use normal powers to restrain them. There is no question of anyone shooting," it said.

According to the Home Office, 3,428 officers have been issued with special CBRN protective equipment while a further 3,500 officers have been trained in identifying suspect CBRN cases.
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They won't shoot murderers, rapists and theives, but victims of a biological attack are fair game...

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Drizzt
May 14, 2003, 08:29 PM
Birmingham Post


May 14, 2003, Wednesday

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 9

LENGTH: 469 words

HEADLINE: BRITISH POLICE MAY SHOOT TO KEEP ORDER

BODY:


Police could be forced to shoot members of the public to maintain order in the event of a terrorist 'dirty bomb' or biological attack on Britain.

The Police Federation annual conference in Blackpool was told that so few officers have been trained to deal with a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological (CBRN) strike that they would have to resort to 'very unsavoury but necessary' aspects of crowd control.

Bob Elder, chairman of the constables central committee, did not refer specifically to officers firing on civilians but sources within the organisation said it was clear police may have to resort to firearms to stop contamination being spread by fleeing victims. The Government had failed to explain how important it would be to keep the public inside a cordon after such a terrorist atrocity, Mr Elder said.

'This is not about creating mass hysteria,' he said. 'This is about the opposite. The public has a right to know.'

He added: 'The natural reaction from the public caught up in such an incident will be to get as far away from the scene as possible. 'This could, of course, only extend the problem.

'There may well have to be some very unsavoury but necessary decisions taken in controlling an infected area.'

In another inference to the possible use of firearms to keep control of an area, Mr Elder added: 'We will be the ones who would have to carry out that containment and no doubt we would be the ones held responsible for our actions, whatever those may be.'

Asked later if he could foresee officers firing on civilians, he said: 'It's an option that Government are going to have to consider.

'We haven't got enough cops trained to deal with a full-scale containment and it's putting everyone at risk.

'All options will have to be made available but the final decision will have to be made by the Government at the time.'

He accused Ministers of telling the public 'virtually nothing' about what to expect in the event of a CBRN attack.

'A public information film should be available for regular broadcast to ensure the public know and understand what to expect. They must understand that in the event of such a terrible incident they may be forced to remain in an infected area so as to ensure containment.'

He told 1,000 delegates at Blackpool's Winter Gardens: 'The natural reaction for the other emergency services and us is to rush to the scene.

'You will be told not to do that. 'Only those properly trained and equipped will go, but do we really have enough of those officers? No.'

A Home Office spokesman insisted police would not have powers to shoot the public to enforce a cordon in the event of a CBRN attack.

'Police have the right to detain people under normal powers if they present a risk to the public,' he said.

Ledbetter
May 14, 2003, 08:37 PM
What an incredibly stupid thing for them to say. Hint to British government suits: If you can't do better than that, go ahead and keep lying.


I pity the subjects, but who can say the same wouldn't happen here?

agricola
May 14, 2003, 08:40 PM
journalism 101:

If a story isnt interesting enough, "insiders" can make it more interesting easily, and without the risk of being challenged on the truth of it:

He did not refer to officers firing on civilians but federation insiders said police could have to resort to firearms to stop contamination being spread by fleeing victims.

Bob Elder, chairman of the constables central committee, did not refer specifically to officers firing on civilians but sources within the organisation said it was clear police may have to resort to firearms to stop contamination being spread by fleeing victims.

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