Thursday, 3 June 2010

Police NOT responsible for killings in Cumbria

I think I am getting paranoid. When I heard about the tragic murders in Cumbria and the fact that this shooting spree had gone on for two hours my heart sank. Mainly for the victims and relatives of this attack, but also because I was just waiting for the police to be blamed.

Why hadn't armed police arrived within five minutes and found and dispatched the offender?

So far not a peep of this. Apparently this time this tragedy is not our fault. Give it time and I am sure someone will decide it might be our fault after all. Let's get the IPCC to look at it. (See post below.) I am sure they will have some stupid advice for us.

Regards Inspector Gadgets call to arms on this issue, I am afraid he is sadly mistaken. Arming the police will not prevent incidents such as this occurring occasionally. Arming the police will ensure that betwen rare incidents such as Cumbria and Hungerford, dozens more people, including police officers, will be killed in firearms incidents. Arming the police will alienate us from the public. And if you gave some of my colleagues a gun I would have to resign as I know it is just a question of time before one of the idiots shoots me. Accidentally, I mean.


  1. In my 275 HP Crown Vic, I have a .45 pistol on my hip loaded with 14 rounds, and 3 spare magazines, an M4 5.56 cal carbine with 60 rounds of ammo, and a 12 gag less lethal shotgun. I still can't always be where somebody needs shootin'.
    I suggest arming good honest citizens...oh, yeah, the liberals here don't like that.

    "Until all citizens have the ability to defend themselves, there will alwasy be more victims than cops."
    (I just made that quote up.)

  2. There are a lot of questions the police should be asking, not least that (apparently) the Sky News helicopter was in the air and not a police chopper in sight.
    It's also said that there are 'terrorist trained' police at Sellafield. Don't know if it's true, but if it is ...
    Maybe centralised policing, and targetting 'crime hotspots' doesn't work after all?

  3. The Daily Fail are already insinuating it's our fault - in fact, I'm pretty sure they changed the headline of this story below from a generic "Awful stuff happens" to "nasty police screwed the pooch again":

    Mrs Rigby - most accounts put the Cumbria helo plus 2 RAF helos in the air during the incident.

    The nuclear plant has Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers guarding it - they are armed to the teeth but would not normally deploy outside their patch. In this case, they did, due to the severity of the incident.

  4. Disregard my last - the Daily Fail (in the anti-police story posted above) lists EIGHT military/police helos in use during the incident.

  5. "It's also said that there are 'terrorist trained' police at Sellafield. "

    That's the Nuke Police, as MPS Probbie says. I seem to recall someone on Insp Gadget's site saying they were alerted and joined the operation, as the closest armed unit to the incident.

    But even they weren't close enough.

    On the helicopter front, I'm sure I too heard a report at the time that the Coastguard and Royal Navy choppers had joined the hunt.

    But Cumbria's a huge place, he was in a car, and it's just impossible for the people eqipped to deal with a situation like this to be everywhere at once...

  6. Thank God for the Daily Mail. I thought it was paranoia but I can cancel the doctors appointment as it was our fault after all.

    If most of the police in Cumbria were at the Appleby Horse Fair perhaps we can blame the organisers of that event?

  7. Where would we be without the Daily Mail to give us a balanced and impartial view of the situation?
    Hats off to Cumbria's emergency services for dealing with this horrible event.

    I agree about not providing firearms for all officers, i worry about my PC husband heading out to work anyway, the thought that he'd potentially be shot would terrify me daily - since the bad guys would inevitably start arming themselves ore and as you say, arming some of his colleagues would be a VERY bad idea.

  8. "Why hadn't armed police arrived within five minutes and found and dispatched the offender? So far not a peep of this."

    Sadly, no. I heard that almost word for word on Question Time last night.

    Focussing on guns, as with knives or alcohol, is missing the point. People and their behaviour make these things either good or bad.

    His taxi would have made an equally effective weapon. If he'd used that, would we have people calling for stricter controls on cars?

  9. Don't give the police real guns. Tragedy waiting to happen.

  10. Citizens should warmly welcome the reasonable observations here after exposure to ill considered Gadget calls and crude ranting from his rabble.

    I do hope my praise for your comments is not injurious to you in any way.

    Dr Melvin T Gray

  11. Im a mental health nurse and the only thing i can think of is that the person involved was suffering from a persecutionary personality disorder. Where he targeted those he felt were against him then proceeded to target "the whole world" at random. I am not condoning his actions merely trying to add insight to this horrific act

  12. No, it is not the polices fault. I have writen a similar entry on my blog. Please read and comment.

  13. I find this post odd. I have carry a gun for such event. We train for them. We are expected to run to trouble and kill the killer.

  14. Been following this blog for a while, though I don't think I've commented before. Hope you'll forgive my first comment being a fairly long one.

    "Arming the police will ensure that betwen rare incidents such as Cumbria and Hungerford, dozens more people, including police officers, will be killed in firearms incidents."

    That's certainly possible, but on the other hand capsicum spray and a baton doesn't in itself prevent that from happening anyway. I'd like to believe that smart cops with silver tongues who can talk people into giving up make the real difference. However, armed police officers can always choose not to draw their weapons, though I'm sure that there are situations where the appearance of a copper with a gun will escalate things in a way that might not occur if they'd been unarmed. But we've just seen that the absence of same can sometimes mean a deranged act of violence continuing with no means to stop it (not that I'm suggesting the Cumbrian police could have done more).

    "Arming the police will alienate us from the public."

    With the greatest respect there's a certain amount of alienation already, and it's got nothing to do with guns. Still, that's largely government politicising of the police and it's not fair to blame the thin blue line itself (well, certainly not for all of it). But would there be more alienation? I'm not sure there really would.

    In migrating from the UK to Australia I moved from an area policed by a few thousand mostly unarmed officers to a state policed by over ten thousand officers who are armed as a matter of routine (and have capsicum spray etc etc). In fact the big debate in Victoria has been whether to stick with revolvers or follow the rest of the country and arm them with semi-autos. Despite the initial culture shock of queuing in a shop behind a cop with a gun and even being told by Aussie friends that the Vic police are the most trigger happy cops in Australia my attitude to the police here is exactly the same as the police where I used to live in the UK. Some of them are good, some of them less so, just like in every job everywhere. It certainly hasn't stopped me going up to the police here and asking for directions or whatever.

    Incidentally, I've never encountered a Victorian police officer as tooled up as a WPC with a sub-machinegun and a pistol in Luton airport who kindly told me where the cash machines were. The guns might have bothered me if I'd been doing something that might have tempted her to shoot me, but I just wanted a few quid for some nosh before my flight. I'm certainly not going to be bothered by Victorian cops with obsolete revolvers. Given that millions of Brits have holidayed in places where the police are routinely armed I expect the majority will be able to make the transition.

    "And if you gave some of my colleagues a gun I would have to resign as I know it is just a question of time before one of the idiots shoots me. Accidentally, I mean."

    Now that I can't comment on or argue with :-) though it does make me worry a bit about whether some UK forces aren't as choosy as they could be when it comes to recruitment. But as I said above, I'm sure that among the ten thousand plus police officers in Victoria (more if you count the Federal Police roaming around as well) there'll be a handful of idiots who shouldn't be trusted with the keys to a police car, much less a gun. Maybe it's just luck that generally nothing happens, or maybe there are negligent discharges twice a month and Vic police have got good at covering them up. Hopefully the reality is that the muppets are a very small minority and the risks both for them and us are very low.

  15. Angry Exile.....a first comment deserves a response.

    Armed policing is a different style of policing. We interact with the public in a different way. Yes you might go and ask an armed policeman for directions but when your local neighbourhood officer is on patrol with a gun it suggests that you are living in a dangerous area.

    Dealing with confrontation is very different. Of course we talk to people to try and difuse situations but whereas now we role around on the floor with drunks when necessary, when officers are armed you cannot do that as you risk having your gun used against you. There has to be a stand off and you use your gas and baton. It does not look pretty.

    The police in this country have the support of the vast majority of the public. We don't want the support of the rest who are either criminals or idiots with their political agendas. Arming the police will alienate us from some of the public whose support is vital and feed the bigoted idiots.

    In the US and to a lesser extent Australia and any other country where the police are routinely armed, there is less public support for the police and police officers and the public are shot far more than they are in Britain.

    Recruiting of police officers in this country takes account of the fact that the police are not routinely armed. I estimate that 20% of officers would leave the police service. Around 30% are not fit to carry guns.

    The police and the public do not want the police to be armed in this country. It is not necessary. Best wishes.

  16. Thanks for the reply.

    I'm sure you're right that armed policing is a different style. You'd know and I wouldn't and I'm not going to argue with the expert - Akubra well and truly doffed. But that wasn't quite my point. I feel that to the average law abiding citizen it makes much less of a difference than we'd expect, and while I can only speak as I see it the difference in attitude towards and expectations of the police here (metropolitan Melbourne) and where I lived in the UK is wafer thin. In rural Oz perhaps, but here in an inner suburb of a state capital what people say about the police is exactly the kind of thing I used to hear in conversation in the UK - some good, some bad, some indifferent. Okay, as I said before a few reckoned the Victorian cops are trigger happy, but I get the impression that there may have been a bit of a media beat up about it around the time, and in any case was comparing Victoria to the rest of the country rather than armed/unarmed police. Honestly, when the subject of policing comes up you could change the accents and not notice any meaningful difference.

    Incidentally, I'm not advocating arming the police in the UK, though I suspect it's going to happen sooner or later anyway (the last British police officers I saw were armed to the teeth because police at airports are these days - in other words, it's already routine). Personally I'm happy for all law abiding citizens to have guns and obviously that includes law abiding citizens who are also police officers, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should be allowed to bring them to work or be supplied with one as part of the job. I believe the crime rate in the UK and Australia is pretty similar so armed police don't seem to be a greater deterrent or better at preventing crime. Guns might make them safer (or not) but outside of contrived and very unlikely scenarios I'm under no illusion that the routine arming of the police here makes me or my nearest and dearest any safer. At the end of the day that's my first concern, and since we can't have one cop each following us around as a personal bodyguard whether police are armed or not feels pretty irrelevant.

    Just my 2¢.


  17. I find the lack of historical knowledge about guns in Britain universal. A hundred years ago, most Britons either had a gun or could perfectly legally acquire one if they wanted to. The Police were also armed with revolvers. What has happened since, accelerated greatly since the introduction of socialist government, is that guns have methodically been removed from the populace.
    Why? Mainly so there is no possible popular uprising against illigitimate government. When only the government and criminals have access to firearms, the rest are literally at their mercy.
    I don't really care if the Police are re-armed or not. I want the right to own a gun, and protect my home and my family. Most of the time, by the time the police respond, everybody who was going to end up dead is dead. Once the Police have done their five-hour health and safety assessment, they go in and carry away the bodies. Fine. But then I take back my right, previously seconded to the government, to protect myself.
    Oh, and The New Magoo, do you listen to the news at all? The 'bad guys' have been armed round my way forever. And their arsenals are full of the latest kit too.

  18. The incident has raised questions as to whether officers should be routinely armed on patrol.

    Thank you for writing about this.

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