Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Battons, Cs , Tasers and Guns

It is clear that we are moving towards a large debate in regards to police use of force and how the public want to be protected.

I personally think that if the police service is to be regularly armed as a whole a radical rethink in regard to the law is required the simple fact is we do not have a sufficient level of protection for officers on the street in law let alone in the event of using a firearm.

As it stands today a trained police firearms officer faces instant suspension from firearms duties on discharge of his or her weapon. They face criminal and civil legal action and these officers have volunteered for this duty ( Some officers face years upon years of legal action based on a split second decision that is picked over and over with 20/20 hindsight )

There a many many stories reported in the news about police and firearms and there use, I could spend a few minutes on the BBC website alone and find loads of relevant links , and people comment on a wild west shoot out if police are armed ! Guess what that already happens with armed criminals

In fact the number of offences involving firearms in England and Wales has been increasing each year since 1997, according to the Home Office.

Firearms incidents recorded by the police have nearly trebled in eight years.
Provisional figures released last month showed that firearms offences had increased by 5 per cent on last year (2004) , to a total of 11,160. There were 4,903 such offences in 1997.

What about batons - What about CS - What about tazers

Suffice to say this topic will be brought up time and time again when a tradigy strikes, but an important thing to remember is that the police service is already armed

Still we wouldn't want to be soft on crime now would we ?

Oh and as a military trained marksman, I can safely say there are some officers I am glad will never be issued a firearm !


Anonymous said...

Some people just shouldn't be given a shooter ;) ...can you imagine the number of NDs?

One of the problems I see is that our specialist firearms units are reactive and not pro-active. In other words, they turn up to the event after its happened and guard the police tape.. To me that is about as usefull as a rubber nail or a glass hammer. The only way I can see to get the firearms to were they are needed (where there are firearms incidents) is to deploy them to all officers.

At very least we need propper ballistic vests (not just stab proof to keep cost and weight down), we need an alternative to baton/CS/PAVA that will completely and instantly incapacitate an individual who poses an immediate threat. Holding a can of hair spray just isn't threatening enough to deter..

MuppetLord said...

Isn't the alternative to increase the number of armed officers available?

That way you can ensure that they are of the appropriate mindset, plus you get more visible presence on the streets....you could pair up armed with unarmed for example.

Of course, that would make sense...so it probably wouldn't be done.

Graham Smith said...

" there are some officers I am glad will never be issued a firearm!"

Too right. For example, a sensible Chief Officer will immediately remove firearms authority from any police officer who exhibits loss of control or violent behaviour.

"Constable Blueline, police were called to your home last night in relation to a domestic disturbance where your wife made allegations of assault against you. That's it, laddie. You're too dangerous to be let out on the streets with a firearm, so you'll have to work in the armoury from now on..." ;-)

Anonymous said...

More Firearms officers is the happy medium i suppose i.e. decreasing the probability that an un-armed officer will walk into a firearms incident whilst allowing the government to retain their no-generally issued firearms...

At the moment, as soon as the trigger is pulled there is an investigation. This can be stressful to a firearms officer and detrimental to their career. Perhaps all firearms officers should have a manually operated and mobile cctv option... could work as a double edged sword though.

Anonymous said...

how about going to the radical step back in time of armed officers on regular patrol, but covertly carrying rather than overt carry.

back in the 80's there were armed officers reguarly patrolling, however they didnt feel the need to go around dressed as a ninja - they realised that they had a sideram If they needed it, and didnt have to portrey an image of power onto the citizens that surrounded them.

the result of this would be that a potential criminal would not know the chance of encountering a random armed patrol, and we dont have to scare the horses by having stormtroopers on every corner.

Most importantly, I would suggest that the police issue all their officers a Yellow card, as used in NI - clear, unambiguous, and reinstoring faith in the community of exactly what circumstances would allow the police ot use their firearms, we could do a green card for CS and taser too, listing appropiate circumstances for their use - unambiguous guideance for the police officers to turn to if in doubt, or in the event of an investigation.

I'm Sick of hearing armed police whinging that they are subject to legal action and hindsight investigation if they shoot someone - I managed to live under that pressure for my time in NI, and knew the score, that I would go to prison if I shot someone without a bloody good reason to do so

thinblueline said...

A world of difference when you do not have crown immunity from prosecution as a serving solider on active service has.

Yellow card.. well yes lets see...
if shot at ? or life in danger yours/public .. straight forward that but what I really object to is the green card you add no doubt as an add on.

I have had to use my cs twice so far each time I felt I was going to be on the reciving end of a kicking from the person I deployed it on. Its not that we do not have clear guidance on when and how to use force if anything that part of the law is clear and dry. What isnit is the safe guards and checks from wild media jury and political pressure rather than legal and lawful investigations.

There is no simple answer the topic is complex and stressful to wave a wand to magicly fix, I belive once we accept that we can start to ask the questions from the people who truely understand the issue and the public at large what they want from the service they require.

Anonymous said...

A world of difference when you do not have crown immunity from prosecution as a serving solider on active service has.

I think that quite a few members of HM forces over the past couple of decades might argue about the efficacy of that immunity - including several who were on trial very recently for their work in Iraq! (and later cleared of wrongdoing)

Wouldnt you agree that some police officers have misused CS to supress "arkward customers" when noone has been in danger of injury - a yellow and green card would make it clear to officers and public just what the rules are, I'll stress once again the importance of letting the public know what the rules are - the police need to build trust and confidence from the public if they want them on their side, and they want the public to accept a routinley tooled up police.

BluesAndTwos said...

Soft On Crime (!) Bravo Thin Blue!

Not forgetting subsequent enquiries from the IPCC

Antipodean Copper said...

I just don't understand the reluctance of English Police to accept the idea of being routinely armed.

There appears to be this idea that the world will go to hell in a hand basket if the average bobby on the beat carries a firearm.

For some reason, comparisons are made to the American experience.

Why not look to Australia? Then at least, the comparison is more like apples to apples, not apples to writing desks.

I am a Police Officer from Australia, when I go out on patrol, I am armed. Our office staff are routinely armed. Our Traffic Officers are routinely armed.

Australian Police have always been armed. No one waves their firearms around at drunks to get them to move on. No one waves them at cars to get them to pull over. No one points them at anyone without a compelling reason.

It's an option of last resort, when all other resorts (including 'tactical withdrawal) are unavailable. When they are used, they are used for a damned good reason. Yes, we face the 20/20 hindsight questions. Yes, it's somethin g that's in the back of all our minds.

However, society here hasn't gone to hell in a handbasket, we still enjoy a good rapport with the community

We aren't seen as some sort of stormtrooper on every corner or an occupying force. People accept it. I'm sure that the English public will come to accept it as well.

Perhaps it's time that some of you did as well.

Anonymous said...

As you say some officers should never be armed but I agree some should.

I worked as a courier in Docklands when the bomb went off and trying to deliver in the city after this become a real problem. The armed officers at the time had no problems with pointing weapons at whomever they had stopped and seemed to think this was acceptable behaviour. A black cab my sister was in was stopped and MP5's pointed at the driver through his window and her through the passenger window. My Securicor Motorcycle was searched at gun point one evening in case I was a 'proxy bomber'.

Yes we need armed police officers but we also need accountabiliy.

Anonymous said...

I work on one of the outer boroughs, ans we were talking about this the other night. We had an armed incident at a well known night club on the A10, back we all pulled and waited for trojan who were travelling from NI, mean while our suspect was struting around waving a handgun at all and sundry before getting in his car and making off. 20 odd minutes later trojan arrive, locate the vehicle with the help of local units and guess what? no gun!. What we were all in agreement on is that we need a local level armed response, every station has an armoury so why not have trained shots on each team who can draw these on authority of the inspector? i know its still reactive but its a quicker reaction than whatwe currently have. what would have happend if this guy had started shooting random people in that carpark? CS and batons?

liz said...

I was wondering whether any of you guys could help me out with some handcuffs questions... :) not what it sounds like actually.

I’m trying to write a novel and at one point my hero gets arrested. I want it to be as real as possible, and someone told me that the police have quite a few types of handcuffs. Is there just one type of handcuff? Are they the ones that you see on the TV that are silver with a little chain in the middle? If he was being put into a cell would he just have normal ones on, or are there different types for different activities?

Would really appreciate the help!


liz said...

ps - sorry it's not quite the same level as the tasar stuff...

thinblueline said...

In the UK nearly all the services use the Hiatt Speedcuff.

Google image searchwill help you there.
The reason for this is for pain and complaince restraint methods having this stiff cuff makes it simple to push or pull on a single wrist in the cuff's to control a voilent person and make them complaint.

The chain ones are still used normaly covert officers (easy to carry hidden)

In the Met it would be exteremly rare to have some one handcuffed in a cell. If they were they would be on whats called constant watch and would be seated in the cell with an officer standing in the doorway.
(Again violent detainee) No detainee would be left unsupervised ever while handcuffed in a police station.

Have a look onthe ACPO website in regard to restraint - the guidelines there may assist

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