Why British front-line police fear a much higher toll if a terror attack happens here in the UK

Gabriel92

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@Zepplin @pwarbi What do you think ?
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Why British front-line police fear a much higher toll if a terror attack happens here in the UK, by border police expert CHRIS HOBBS



  • Border security expert warns terror attack would have higher toll in the UK
  • Paris can easily put hundreds of armed police on the streets within minutes
  • In France, all 278,000 police officers carry guns but in UK only 6,000 do
  • Chris Hobbs warns minutes count if lives are to be saved in terror attack


As the grotesque carnage in Paris unfolded, most British front-line police officers will have come to just one chilling conclusion: the death toll in a similar outrage here would be many times greater.

For while the French can throw hundreds of armed police on to the streets of Paris within minutes, and thousands within an hour or so, we simply can’t.

Like a fire sweeping through an occupied house, minutes count if lives are to be saved in terrorist atrocities.


In France, all 278,000 police officers carry guns. The corresponding figure in Britain is just 6,000 (pictured: British armed police officers in St Pancras International Train Station yesterday afternoon)

Not only do the gunmen have to be located, they also have to be contained and – if necessary – confronted. This can be done only by armed officers.

In France, all 278,000 police officers carry guns. The corresponding figure in Britain is just 6,000, so the assurances from the Home Secretary, Theresa May, that procedures are ‘in place’ to deal with rapidly moving terrorist situations are greeted with deep scepticism.


Most police officers attending terrorist incidents are virtual spectators until an armed response vehicle (ARV) can be summoned to the scene.

The lack of ARVs has caused real concern among officers, particularly those in smaller, more rural forces, who believe they and the public are being placed at intolerable risk on a daily basis.

One officer from a county force told me that his nearest ARV would normally be at least 20 minutes away – often even further. No need to imagine how much damage can be done in 20 minutes by terrorists with automatic weapons.

But forces who want to expand their firearms teams are having difficulty recruiting in the wake of the high-profile police shootings of Azelle Rodney and Mark Duggan.

Although both men were armed criminals, the officer who shot Rodney was tried (and acquitted) for unlawful killing and those involved in the Duggan shooting were subjected to a three-and-a-half-year inquiry before being exonerated.

Is it any wonder armed units are struggling to attract and retain good officers?

Meanwhile, claims that Britain has ‘strong border controls’ smack of utter complacency to officers working at our air and sea ports.

We may be an island nation but the thousands arriving from war-torn regions in the backs of lorries and even private cars and caravans show we are far from secure.

It would also be wrong to imagine that guns are not being trafficked across our borders.

Theresa May’s creation, the UK Border Force, has suffered cutbacks and reorganisation.

Former customs officers, who have been reluctantly absorbed into it, are concerned that the importation of firearms and component parts of firearms is being gravely neglected.

Many customs officers skilled in detecting smuggled weaponry, have been, to their fury, deployed permanently to passport controls where, despite Home Office denials, the priority is still avoiding queues.

Another very real threat emanates from our prisons where extreme Muslim inmates exercise huge influence and where dangerous criminals have converted to the most virulent form of Islam.

Shortly before retiring, I studied some of these individuals: the prospect of them returning to our streets chills my blood.

The simple fact is Britain’s police – brilliantly professional as they remain – are spread far too thinly. A security review, ordered by May, is currently under way.

Those on the front line hope that someone will listen to their views.

They are not holding their breath.

Why British police fear a much higher toll if attack happens in UK | Daily Mail Online
 

pwarbi

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I think the article brings up pretty much what the man on the street thinks about the situation, and our police officers should be armed.

Nobody thinks that arming our police will stop a terrorist attack, and that is going to happen at some point because our border controls are useless by the way, another point touched upon, but at least when/if it does happen the police will have the resources to deal with it.

Not just with terror attacks though, the everyday criminals are carrying guns, and around where I live there have been a spate of gang related shootings that are starting to spiral out of control again. Not only that, the criminals are prepared to do anything to get away aswell, and there's no code of conduct that you sometimes see mentioned in the past. Again, in my city we had the case of Dale Cregan who called the police reporting a fake crime, 2 female officers attended and he opened the door and started shooting at them. They weren't armed and could only run for cover but sadly he shot them both and then threw an hand grenade on them.

That's the sort of scum the police are dealing with, so now it's time to at least give them the tools to do their job on a level playing field.
 

silentwarfare

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It's difficult for me to comment on this since I don't live in the UK, but I immediately get the impression they would like to push for even more of a police state than they have now and ensure they are armed for various reasons. Granted, if you're a police officer beyond the 1940's, you should be carrying around a real weapon and not a nightstick and a whistle. That stuff should have ended with Charlie Chaplin movies. It's madness to send a police officer out without a weapon into crowds of people that do have them, and I agree that if you're going to have any kind of force, be it police or higher level security even, they need to be armed or go home. Here again they are using the boogey man of terrorism which is government sponsored and government caused by select places to push reasons for a police state, even when justification for a police officer to be armed does not even need one. They may want to make the narrative stand and stick around for other uses later, so that part makes sense but it's not good for any country to have to go about scaring their citizens, doing crisis acting drills as real news, or getting rid of some in controlled demolitions just to get things done efficiently.
 

Zepplin

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Its not about this becoming a police state.
On the whole, we're proud of our police and show them respect.

I wouldn't hesitate in agreeing that they should be armed.

Thankfully the majority of people here don't have a gun as there isn't much of a gun culture...so I doubt our police force would have twitchy trigger fingers as they're not always expecting a criminal to be armed with a gun.
 

pwarbi

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Its not about this becoming a police state.
On the whole, we're proud of our police and show them respect.

I wouldn't hesitate in agreeing that they should be armed.

Thankfully the majority of people here don't have a gun as there isn't much of a gun culture...so I doubt our police force would have twitchy trigger fingers as they're not always expecting a criminal to be armed with a gun.
There isn't much of a gun culture? In the UK are you talking about? If you are then I think you need to come into some of the major cities and look at the gangs that are running the criminal activity in the country, and you'll soon change your opinion.

While it's true that not many law abiding citizens have a licence to carry a gun, I'd say that there's more criminals that do, or have access to them than what you first think. Gun culture is alive and well unfortunately, so don't be fooled by the government statistics saying otherwise.
 

Zepplin

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There isn't much of a gun culture? In the UK are you talking about? If you are then I think you need to come into some of the major cities and look at the gangs that are running the criminal activity in the country, and you'll soon change your opinion.

While it's true that not many law abiding citizens have a licence to carry a gun, I'd say that there's more criminals that do, or have access to them than what you first think. Gun culture is alive and well unfortunately, so don't be fooled by the government statistics saying otherwise.
This is really interesting and something I obviously was unaware of.
I live in a farming community where I'm used to loads of people having shotguns and live rifles, but never heard of any handgun issues here.

Even if gun culture wasn't a big issue, I still think policemen should be armed as knife crime is worryingly high.

I suppose what I mean, when a citizen in the US is pulled over, the policeman sometimes acts as if the driver is armed and does the whole "step out with hand visible" while having a gun trained on them. Here, if someone is pulled over, it usually doesn't enter the policeman's mind that the driver could be armed.

If you're right though, all the more reason for our coppers to be armed :)
 

Diane Lane

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Although the culture here in the U.S. is described by those anti-gun enthusiasts as a 'gun culture', it seems many more criminals have access to weapons than everyday citizens. One has only to look at Chicago to see how dangerous it is to limit the rights of ordinary citizens with regard to their ability to protect themselves, especially in areas with such a heavy gang culture. Ordinary citizens are sometimes accosted and attacked as they go about their everyday lives, but as far as police officers, their jobs are to respond to incidents, and assist and protect the citizens, which places them in more precarious situations than everyday citizens, and in my opinion, in order to do so, they should be armed, for their own protection, as well as the protection of others.

It doesn't sound as if being unarmed is serving the (majority of the) police well in the UK, because unfortunately, times have changed, and we no longer have the polite society of the past. Although the majority in the UK is law abiding, just as here in the U.S. and elsewhere, there appear to be growing pockets in each country where criminal subcultures exist, and their 'jobs' are to prey on those law abiding folks.

I can recall the incident (assuming there's only been one) where a soldier was attacked in the street in London, and the initial police responders were unable to do much, since they were unarmed. If those attackers hadn't remained on the scene, who knows if they would have even been caught, and they could have gone on to harm others. Unfortunately, the world is changing in a more dangerous and violent way, and we need to change with it, if we hope to survive.
 

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I can recall the incident (assuming there's only been one) where a soldier was attacked in the street in London, and the initial police responders were unable to do much, since they were unarmed. If those attackers hadn't remained on the scene, who knows if they would have even been caught, and they could have gone on to harm others. Unfortunately, the world is changing in a more dangerous and violent way, and we need to change with it, if we hope to survive.
The example you put of Lee Rigby is a perfect example of why our police need to be armed.
The attackers had knives, not even guns. OK it may not have saved the soldier as it was a quick oppurtnistic attack but you never know when a standard police officer could be on duty near by next time.
 

Gabriel92

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@pwarbi @Zepplin @Diane Lane

I respect the British police officers. They are a great exemple of courage and profesionalism in every situations. Even without being unarmed,they are able to desescalate situations and to arrest someone (even wielding a knife) without someone being injured or killed.



Now times have changed,because of terrorism and gangs that continue to be better armed,all UK police officers should carry a gun in order to save their lives and other's. Imagine if there's a robbery,how are they going to defend themselves if they are in front of armed criminals ? How are they going to do against terrorists wielding AKs ?
In case of a terrorist attack,the first police officers coming to the scene would have to contain the terrorists,but how are they going to do that unarmed ? It would take several minutes for an armed response team to come,let alone the special forces that will confront the terrorists.
I have read that most of the armed cops in UK are in the London area,but imagine if an attack happens in cities like Liverpool,Totenham or Manchester ?
 

pwarbi

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This is really interesting and something I obviously was unaware of.
I live in a farming community where I'm used to loads of people having shotguns and live rifles, but never heard of any handgun issues here.

Even if gun culture wasn't a big issue, I still think policemen should be armed as knife crime is worryingly high.

I suppose what I mean, when a citizen in the US is pulled over, the policeman sometimes acts as if the driver is armed and does the whole "step out with hand visible" while having a gun trained on them. Here, if someone is pulled over, it usually doesn't enter the policeman's mind that the driver could be armed.

If you're right though, all the more reason for our coppers to be armed :)
I'm from Manchester, and I'm sure you'll be aware the city got the nickname Gunchester not too many years ago as it got to the point that there was gang related shootings everyday, and the way the city is set out, the city centre and everyday people were being caught in the crossfire of the rival gangs.

While the police did play a big part in stopping the violence, it was the gangs themselves, and one particular gang that got everyone sat down and a truce was formed. That was around 15 years ago now, and things calmed down. Recently though, maybe the last 2 years the gun crime as been on the rise again, as new gangs are being formed and taking over from the older generations.

This is how much society as changed though. The same gang that successfully negotiated the first truce, asked the new gangs to come and sit round the table again, just like before. The outcome this time though was they waited for a well known, and well respected gangland figure who was behind the original truce to pull up outside his home, with his wife and children in it, and they shot him to death with automatic weapons.

Since then, Salford and Manchester as gone back to how it was before, maybe even worse, and it just shows that back then while gangs and criminals showed some code, some honour for each other, now that code and respect as gone, and the streets are a free for all with about 12 different gangs alone fighting for the control of the city centre who are all armed and will do whatever it takes to win, and that includes killing probably the one man that was big enough to stop it.

And in the middle of all that, we have police that are carrying a pair of handcuffs and a baton.
 

pwarbi

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@pwarbi @Zepplin @Diane Lane

I respect the British police officers. They are a great exemple of courage and profesionalism in every situations. Even without being unarmed,they are able to desescalate situations and to arrest someone (even wielding a knife) without someone being injured or killed.



Now times have changed,because of terrorism and gangs that continue to be better armed,all UK police officers should carry a gun in order to save their lives and other's. Imagine if there's a robbery,how are they going to defend themselves if they are in front of armed criminals ? How are they going to do against terrorists wielding AKs ?
In case of a terrorist attack,the first police officers coming to the scene would have to contain the terrorists,but how are they going to do that unarmed ? It would take several minutes for an armed response team to come,let alone the special forces that will confront the terrorists.
I have read that most of the armed cops in UK are in the London area,but imagine if an attack happens in cities like Liverpool,Totenham or Manchester ?
There's no doubt that I think we have the most highly trained police force in the world, but that's because they HAVE to be as they're still not allowed to carry firearms. People say that if they were allowed, then that training and that professionalism they have now would disappear and they'd rely in the guns too much, but I don't think that's the case at all and in fact it's doing the police a disservice to even assume that.

As for most if the armed police being in London, while that is the case, that's only because the Met. police have the biggest number of serving officers, so that tends to mean they have the biggest number of armed response units aswell. Here in the North West GMP (Greater Manchester Police) also have many armed units patrolling the city, aswell as the airports and I think that will be the same in most major cities to be honest.
 

Zepplin

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There's no doubt that I think we have the most highly trained police force in the world, but that's because they HAVE to be as they're still not allowed to carry firearms. People say that if they were allowed, then that training and that professionalism they have now would disappear and they'd rely in the guns too much, but I don't think that's the case at all and in fact it's doing the police a disservice to even assume that.

As for most if the armed police being in London, while that is the case, that's only because the Met. police have the biggest number of serving officers, so that tends to mean they have the biggest number of armed response units aswell. Here in the North West GMP (Greater Manchester Police) also have many armed units patrolling the city, aswell as the airports and I think that will be the same in most major cities to be honest.
I completely agree that our officers would still be one of the most professional in the world even if they were all armed.
It just feels like that we taught to respect police officers from a young age and not see them like henchmen trying to do the governments work. They really do feel like a civil servants, like fire fighters and paramedics.

Maybe it makes some sense why only arm police in high profile areas, a village bobby may not need a gun....but then would a terrorist attack a location because of its population or because they could? I think if a suicide bomber is going to attack, it'll be about numbers and not if they'll get away with it...
 

Diane Lane

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This thread brings up a good point about self-defense and also other training and techniques other than firearm-related. It sometimes seems that if a police officer is disarmed in some manner, s/he doesn't always have the skills to defend him/herself. I think that type of training needs to be stepped up, as well as beefing up other aspects, such as de-escalation techniques and hostage negotiation tactics.
 

Zepplin

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This thread brings up a good point about self-defense and also other training and techniques other than firearm-related. It sometimes seems that if a police officer is disarmed in some manner, s/he doesn't always have the skills to defend him/herself. I think that type of training needs to be stepped up, as well as beefing up other aspects, such as de-escalation techniques and hostage negotiation tactics.
It reminds me when it became more common place for officers to wear stab proof vests.
You wouldn't dream of an officer being without one now as it became a need. We're going the same way with skills and equipment for defense.
I always thought our police were well trained in unarmed defense, what makes you think they need to brush up?
 

pwarbi

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I completely agree that our officers would still be one of the most professional in the world even if they were all armed.
It just feels like that we taught to respect police officers from a young age and not see them like henchmen trying to do the governments work. They really do feel like a civil servants, like fire fighters and paramedics.

Maybe it makes some sense why only arm police in high profile areas, a village bobby may not need a gun....but then would a terrorist attack a location because of its population or because they could? I think if a suicide bomber is going to attack, it'll be about numbers and not if they'll get away with it...
But then the question will be what do you call an high profile area? I do take your point, and the major cities should all have armed police patrolling the streets, but who can say that the lives of those in London, Manchester or Glasgow, are more important than those in other towns.

We all renember the IRA campaign against the English, and when Warrington was attacked. Warrington wouldn't be classed as an high profile target even now, but it was still the scene of a terror attack, so in my eyes, if we're going to arm the police, then arm them. We can't pick and choose who gets protected more than others.
 

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