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"Gung Ho" Brit Police-Unfit

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by fedlaw, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. fedlaw

    fedlaw Well-Known Member


    September 18, 2005

    SAS trainers denounce ‘gung ho’ armed police
    Robert Winnett

    TWO senior SAS soldiers who trained many of the firearms teams now serving in Britain’s police forces have warned of their concerns about the officers’ skills and psychological suitability for the job.

    The two SAS officers, who have left active service, claim the police they trained had not been subjected to adequate psychological and physical tests to establish whether or not they were suitable to use firearms. The police officers were often “gung ho” and unfit.

    The soldiers believe members of the Metropolitan police team that shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian, on the London Underground in July would have been among those they trained, although they are not certain.

    The two men have detailed their concerns in a written statement to The Sunday Times. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is expected to study their claims as part of its investigation into how de Menezes, wrongly suspected of being a would-be suicide bomber, came to be shot by a team from the Met’s CO19 firearms unit.

    Leaked documents from the IPCC showed that de Menezes was not behaving suspiciously, as had been claimed, but was restrained by an officer before 11 bullets were fired at him at close range. Three missed.

    A spokesman for the IPCC said: “If there are concerns being expressed about the wider issues of selection and training, I’m sure our investigation team would look at the evidence and make recommendations.”

    The two soldiers describe a number of alarming incidents during police training at the regiment’s base in Hereford. The trainers have no authority to fail police officers they believe are unsuited to the job.

    One of the soldiers said: “When the tension starts to rise and the adrenaline is flowing, the ‘red mist’ seems to descend on armed police officers who become very trigger-happy. This has been shown time and again in training exercises.”

    The second soldier said: “We thought that police firearms officers were far more concerned with their personal image, dressing in body armour and looking ‘gung ho’, rather than their professional capabilities. I’m not surprised at the number of mistakes over the years.

    “There is no assessment of physical fitness, no psychological profiling, nothing. It’s a major problem.”

    The statement also describes a police training exercise run by the SAS in which an armed terrorist group was threatening to kill a hostage. The police team were to rescue the hostage using minimum force.

    “I was playing the leader of the armed group and instructed the other members of my group to surrender peacefully once the final assault was initiated. Therefore there was no need for the police to open fire.

    “But as the police assault group entered the room they began firing at everything. No one had moved; we were all stood with our hands on our heads.

    “The response would have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of all the make- believe terrorists and the hostage alike. So much for the rule of minimum force.”

    The SAS officers claim they often found police firearms units to be small “cliques” with professional standards below those found in the military. “In the bar after exercises, the police would still be carrying their pistols and have MP5s (machine guns) slung over their shoulder so they could pose for photos. The first question they always asked was whether we had killed anyone.”

    They added that many security firms operating in Iraq had a policy of not employing former police firearms officers.

    Yesterday the Met defended its officers. Superintendent Phil Manns, head of CO19’s specialist firearms unit, said: “The selection and training criteria for our firearms officers is extremely rigorous. We recruit only the very best and most suitable available within the service. All of the officers within CO19 are regularly trained to the highest of standards.

    “I am proud of the professionalism, skill and judgment displayed by my officers. We are called to support unarmed colleagues or respond to emergency calls from the public between 30 and 40 times a day. Incidents where officers feel it necessary to fire are thankfully rare. This alone refutes an allegation that these officers are not suitable for this role.

    “The nature of the role done by a member of the SAS and a police officer who carries firearms is incredibly different and should not be compared.”

    Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.
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  2. Gunpacker

    Gunpacker Well-Known Member

    Mind set

    Mind set is very important in handling of firearms. I recall reading of soldiers that held fire when civilians were encountered with firearms in their own homes in Iraq. There civilians are allowed to have firearms, and are on edge when their homes are breached. One incident of a father protecting his family with gun in hand elicited a comment that the Sgt was proud of his trooper for not firing. Soldiers have a mindset of "if you see someone with a gun dressed improperly, shoot him quickly." Police trained by military will pick up the same mindset that the instructors. SAS training police produces SAS wannabees. Same with US officers training with military. We have graduated to a police presence in the US that provides a gun stuck in the face of arrestees that present NO threat to police officers. With Glocks predominating the police arms, there is always a dire danger when a gun is drawn. I know of instances of unarmed arrestees being shot that are explained away with "he made a sudden movement". What a convenient explanation for a bad shooting. Police trained in past times had a different mindset, and guns were seldom drawn, and when they were, it was usually a threatening situation. Lots of US police today have the same mindset of the armed Brits you mention.
  3. Checkman

    Checkman member

    I want to Rant about this topic.


    I sure wish somebody would come up a "solution" for this problem(s). In the late sixties and early seventies cops in the United States found themselves being target by the various "freedom fighter" organizations and by 1974 cops were being killed at an unheard of rate.

    I believe that 1974 was the all time high for officers killed in the line-of-duty until 2001. But the death rate hasn't been that high since then. My dad was a cop throughout the 70's and 80's and he remembers the changes that were instigated, thanks in a large part to the chaos and losses sustained in the late sixties and early seventies. Body armor, better training, better tactics, Swat teams etc.

    Just last Friday I went through a one day class in which I fired six hundred rounds through my Sig in just 6 hours. Those were six full hours with very dyanmic and physical training. Forty years ago it would have been unheard of for cops to go through that type of training. Does this mean I'm being trained to be a killer? Isn't that the type of training that many folks right here on this very forum say cops should be going through? What's the answer here. Now the instructer went over "Perception vs. Reaction" and we did numerous drills, but every now and then somebody cranked off a round at a "Threat" whne verbal comamnds were called for. Now this was training, but can anyone here say they wouldn't do the same thing under extreme stress?

    Anybody remember the Texas Tower Sniper in Austin,Texas in 1966? The Austin cops simply had no way of dealing with that situation. They were a bunch of average cops with a 38 revolver on their hip. Remember how the good citizens of Austin came out with their hunting rifles and laid down supressive fire? Yes it was a strong argument for the 2nd Amendment, but the local APD was raked over the coals for it. People said that they were paid to keep everybody safe from madmen like Charles Whitman and they hadn't been able to handle it.
    But this was a classic American police department, the kind of department that many say they want to return. Thanks to that situation and others such as the sniper in New Orleans in 73 police departments developed SWAT. People back then were very upset that the cops didn't have the tactical flexibility to deal with the maniacs. Well SWAT now exsists and folks are accussing them of being "jackbooted thugs" and "Sanctioned goverment assassians". What's the solution? I don't have one myself.

    Now people are saying that cops are too aggressive (and some are) and too "paramilitary". But many of these same people are very quick to scream bloody murder if the cops don't display perfect god-like judgement, every time, and take out the badguy exactly on cue when it's called for. Of course these people are using 20-20 hindsight and from the comfort of their living room I might add. Well I guess that's it. Just felt like pointing out a few things from our past. Organizations like SWAT didn't just spring from the ground, fully formed, because some politician said so. They were a response to some pretty ugly inccidents. For that matter how many Thunder Ranches and Gunsites were there in 1970? How many private citizens were getting the type of training that Delta and the SAS troops get? Geez why do all these private citizens need to develop the skills of "Commandos" when there are so many well trained and armed police officers to protect them? Oh wait the police officers are goverment thugs and killers. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

  4. SomeKid

    SomeKid Well-Known Member

    Checkman, to answer your rant.

    If forced to choose between security (illusionary security at that) or freedom, I will take freedom every time.

    If the police have problems with heavy-handedness, or JBT-members, disband them. Better to have no police, and every citizen armed and ready, than a large overbearing one that likes to see the impressions their boots leave on some 'civilians' neck.

    Of course we need not choose an extreme. Arm the people, and cut the police forces down in size.
  5. Checkman

    Checkman member

    There are an estimated 300,000,000 million "legal" American citizens and an estimated 1,000,000 cops. That's Federal,State,Local,and reserve officers. That's one heck of a ratio. The last figures I saw showed somewhere around 60-100,000,000 million gunowners. My department has 55 officers and there are 35,000 residents in the city. This is Idaho so I'm fairly confident that there are at least a few thousand residents who have firearms in their homes. We police because the citizens want us to, not because we force anybody to be policed. We are totally outnumbered and outgunned.For that matter even fifty-five armed police officers wouldn't last long against 10,000 angry people armed with sticks and rocks, would they?

    When the brown stuff hits the fan these citizens expect us to deal with it. That's why they pay us. we are expected to deal with the bad stuff, so that commerce and business can run smoothly. They don't want to nor should they have to get their Winchesters everytime something goes bonkers. When something happens and they have to deal with it they aren't happy - like New Orleans. The police, of which I am part of, try to train and prepare for everything which cause some to say we're training to suppress the people, but if we don't do this then we're incompetent. Once again what is the answer?
  6. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Well-Known Member

    Yes, I remember the story. Wasn't alive but was taught about it. This was back in the good ol' days where police were peacekeepers and not law enforcement. Nothing wrong with summoning the local populace with hunting rifles to dispatch a bad guy (militia--perhaps you've heard about it). Not sure when we turned the corner that got us here with the prevelance of a paramilitary police force. One of the reasons I elected not to pursue a career in police work after spending so much of my education trying to get there.

  7. Gunpacker

    Gunpacker Well-Known Member

    I will just mention one more thing here. I saw a picture of the NO swat team out during Katrina. Their uniform swat tee shirt had a death's head and some kind of motto that I couldn't read, but I guess it was not what you would want to see your police thinking. Yes we need cops, and yes we need swat on rare occasions. Swat officers should be reserved in their attitudes and sad that they have to be used. We aren't the enemy of the police, but many of them seem to treat us as enemies when they come in contact with us.
  8. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Well-Known Member

    I remember the Austin incident, because I followed it carefully while/after it went down. I also remember lying on a rooftop of a friend's store in LA for a couple of days and watching cops scurry for cover. I remember a cop trying to break down my (unlocked) door in response to a call I had made to come pick up a home invader. So there I have two incidents where the cops couldn't/wouldn't use their training and firepower to protect/defuse a situation and one where the cops went a little overboard with the macho, go-get-'em attitude.

    I don't have a great fear of cops, but I'll keep my own defenses ready, thank you.

  9. Checkman

    Checkman member

    I still don't have an answer. Cops are cowards, cops are evil, cops are overbearing, and the militia is good. Yes I have heard of the milita. But I still don't have an answer to my question. If we are just peace keepers then please define what I should or shouldn't do. The Austin police in 1966 were peace keepersand they weren't able to deal with the situation as effectively was everybody wanted.The peace had not been kept when Whitman began murdering people and the milita had responded. Should the Austin cops just have maintained a perimeter and let the milita go in after Whitman? It's interesting to not that the militia didn't do that.

    It was two cops who made their way across the killing field and up the stairs of the tower and finally killed Whitman. Incidentally the militia has yet to go with me when I've responded to a domestic battery in progress or made a traffic stop at 4:00 A.M. When I'm canvasing a neighborhood after a homicide for witnesses I haven't seen any milita walking with me. However I have worked with some excellent Reserve Officers so perhaps that counts. Yes I agree that people need to be responsible for their own defense, but exactly what do people want in terms of law enforcement?There seems to 300,000,000 opinions out there.

    By the early seventies people were not happywith the old ways that the police did their job. You know, the fondly remembered peacekeepers.Crime was out of control, or seemed to be and they wanted more. the movies understood that; Dirty Harry, Death Wish and so on.But then people really don't want vigilante cops and semi-psychotic vigilantes are also bad. Now they're the ones who are deciding who lives and dies and you might be the one to die becasue you cut him off in traffic.
    My whole point is that the situation is a whole lot more complicated then some people want to admit and that goes for all sides.With this terrorism it isn't going to get any simpler.
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    On, July 21st, before the shooting of the Brazilian man, I wrote:

    "Having been in the UK on several occasions when police used guns, I would be very afraid to walk around London today, and my fear would not be of terrorist bombings. In the cases I knew of, the British police, when issued firearms, just went berserk, tending to shoot at anything that moved. They seemed so unfamiliar with guns and so trigger happy that accidental shootings seemed to be part of any situation where armed police were employed. Of course, under the British system, the press reported only a few bare facts, then was told to go cover a royal scandal or something and forget the killings by police."

    Unfortunately, my crystal ball was working. American police are not always as competent or as restrained in the use of weapons as we might wish, but they are used to guns and do not act like lunatics when issued them. It is distressing to read from firearms instructors confirmation that my assessment of the British police reaction to weapons was entirely correct.

    I have seen another interesting report to the effect that British police chosen for armed duty are not to have any personal interest or knowledge of guns in any way, either prior to or in the police service. If they have ever owned guns, or had any interest in them, they are considered unstable and psychotic, so they cannot be armed. What a crazy way to run a police force!

  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    August, 1966. "Rumor of a tumor" time. I wuz there, playing MP and directing traffic to keep drivers from stopping and looking.

    Two policemen and the assistant manager of the Univeristy Co-Op bookstore went up to the office at the observation deck level. The asst. mgr. was a WW II Vet, with experience in fighting in the cities of Europe.

    He instructed the police as to safest procedure. He had a GI Carbine that one of the cops had taken from a National Guard guy, in the lobby of the Tower. The trio did the high-low sneak/peek as they cautiously opened the door onto the south side of the observation deck. The cops then went east and north; the asst. mgr. went west and then north.

    Peeking around the northesast corner, looking west to the nortwest corner, the cops saw Whitman. The rest is history.

    But the ex-GI taught on-the-job tactics. :)

    Col. Garrison, head of the Texas Dept of Public Safety, told my father that had it not been for fire from hunting rifles driving Whitman from the south side of the observation deck, he could have controlled that door until he ran out of water. Five gallons.

    Back to the thread: As a society, we're creating ever-more-inventive crazies. Some of these are beyond the capability of the traditional police forces--so, SWAT, etc.

    We wind up sending a mixed message to our LEOs: We want them to be loving, cherishing, sensitive gentlepeople except when they're expected to be stone killers. Duh? Our politicos, seems to me, are right in there with those who asked why I killed the guy, instead of shooting the gun out of his hand. After all, the Lone Ranger and Matt Dillion could do that...


    PS: No, I didn't really kill anybody. :D
  12. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Would someone please remind me why we saved England not once, but twice from tyranny in the last century?
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The British "free press" is an illusion (or perhaps delusion). There is an all-powerful "Press Board" which can dictate what the newpapers print and can order all the UK papers to suppress a story. The government of the day works through this "private" board to control the press almost as thoroughly as was done in the USSR or Nazi Germany.

    The only reason the story about the shooting of the Brazilian man was not banned is that a foreigner was involved and the foreign press got into the act. If the poor guy had been a British "subject", he would have been quietly buried, permanently tarred as a "terrorist". A gag order would have been issued by the Home Office, and no more would have been heard of the case.

  14. Lo.Com.Denom

    Lo.Com.Denom Well-Known Member

    standing wolf

    Is that what Hollywood told you? ;)
    In WW1 the static trench-fighting never got anywhere near the British shores. I don't think that the Kaiser was in much position at any time to impose tyranny on us.
    In WW2 the RAF won the Battle of Britain, without American help, thereby gaining air-superiority over our skys. Hitler was thus forced call off his invasion plans (Operation "Sealion") and continue the push eastwards.
    Did American intervension in both wars ensure allied victory? Of course! Did American intervension "save the British from tyranny"? Er, NO!
    Now, if you'd like to come and save us from Tony Blair's tyranny, you'd be more than welcome... :)
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The RAF did in fact win the Battle of Britain, and their gallantry and courage are legendary. But I believe that had the U.S. practised strict neutrality (no Lend-Lease, no arms "deals" with England, only private cash sales), Britain could not have remained free for long. With no help from the U.S. in the form of convoy escorts and anti-submarine aircraft patrols from U.S. soil, U-Boats would have sunk so much British shipping that the island population could not have survived, let alone fought off a Nazi invasion. Britain probably would not have been able to fight the Germans in North Africa, and that region would have fallen to the Germans or into the hands of Vichy France.

    Further, the purchase of arms for gold had already nearly bankrupted Britain; that was the reason behind Lend-Lease. Much more of the same would have wrecked Britain economically, regardless of the wealth of the Empire.

    Canada could have taken up some of the slack, and certainly contributed more than its fair share, but its own economy and industrial base were not capable of doing what the U.S. did.

    True, the victory in the Battle of Britain staved off Operation Sea Lion and it was later cancelled. But without the U.S. and a strong Britain in the west, Hitler might well have conquered the USSR or at least destroyed enough of its industrial base that it would have been permanently weakened. At that point, I think there is little doubt that Hitler would once again have turned his attention to Britain. And with its merchant fleet on the bottom, its people starving, and its economy destroyed, I think it would have fallen easily to the Wehrmacht.

    Would the U.S. have let all that happen? Under another president, or with a different public sentiment, it might well have done so. Lend-Lease and the U.S. military buildup were a very hard sell for FDR, and we seldom understand today just how close the U.S. came to opting for neutrality or even a pro-German policy. It was the Pearl Harbor attack that brought a united America into the war, but even then, there was reluctance to declare war on Germany, and many Americans opposed doing so. The Germans saved us the agony of making a decision by declaring war on the U.S.

  16. Randy in Arizona

    Randy in Arizona Well-Known Member

    IMNSHO The problem was not the police, but the tendency towards leftist judges coddling criminals. It is even more of a problem today! BUT the police are the most visible part of law enforcement, so they get the blame - even when the real blame rests with others!
  17. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom member

    Clearly, if you know what happened to Menezes, something is rotten in Denmark; errrm, England.
  18. Lo.Com.Denom

    Lo.Com.Denom Well-Known Member

    Wise words, Jim and I agree with you entirely. Despite what some people say, I don't believe that the Soviets could have pushed back the German forces without a western front sapping materiel and manpower on the other side.
    However, we'll never know, so this all remains a moot point. My post was to illustrate what actually happened at the time, not what might have happened thereafter.
    It gets pretty scary considering what might have been, if the USA had continued with an isolationist policy... or adopted a pro-Nazi one, like you mentioned. Wasn't there a U-Boat crew who crossed the Atlantic early in the war to be greated as heroes in New York?! Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?
    A Nazi Europe :uhoh: ...
    A Soviet Europe :eek:...
    Or no Europe at all :what: ...

    Anyway, how did this thread start? (Quickly checks back to see) Oh yeah, our ever frightening police force... I hear that they're proposing to "hire-out" Army units to deal with terrorist incidents in the future, due to the sad demise of Jean Charles de Menezes.
    Some commentator pointed out that it was an Army surveilance team which wrongly identified de Menezes as a suspect...
  19. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Use the army instead of the police? Things would really get interesting!

    The army (any army) is trained to consider the world as "them" and "us" and anything but "us" is the enemy. This is not a good attitude for a police force which is supposed to protect the innocent, not mow them down just in case one of them was a baddie. "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out" is not high on my list of preferred police attitudes.

    This mind-set, BTW, is the reason I oppose using military and ex-military to train police; both the mission and the thinking are (or should be) different.

  20. Checkman

    Checkman member

    It's a real dillema isn't it Jim. Situations arise that the police aren't prepared for. So the police adapt new training, techniques and equipment. This causes (some) people to say that the cops are out of control, but if the cops are caught unprepared then they're idiots. Shoot or don't shoot is one heck of a thing.

    In 1984 when the psycho killed all those people in the San Yisidro, California (SP?) McDonalds people came unglued whne it was learned that the police snipers had the shooter in their sights and they were refused permission to take him out, even though the snipers were telling their superiors that they could see him shooting people. Why? Because the cops are often uncertain if deadly force is kosher, even when everybody's instincts say it is.

    After Colombine I went through a couple training excercises where we worked on forming impromptu teams of officers. We would then move through a building looking for the active shooter.The idea was SWAT was a ways out and we would have to pony up and take care of business - lives would depend on us acting NOW! There would be role players pretending to be victims, getting in our way, screaming at us etc. Somewhere in the building we would have another officer shooting blank rounds. When we found the shooter we trained to shoot the bad guy. No verbal commands, no stand-off, just shoot him. The training said that we had just moved through all the evidence that we needed. Deadly force was the only option.

    This training seemed perfeectly valid. The cops in Littleton got crucified for not going in quicker. Well it wasn't too long before the articles began to appear that cops were training to be killers etc. A couple years after Colombine and this supposed "dramatic shift" in our training we stopped training for active shooters. Now there are new officers coming in who have no training for this situation.

    Once again I don't have an answer for this dillema. I sure wish somebody did. You know what I mean, somebody with a god-like perspective.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005

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