What Does Bracknell Think? Should police officers be armedBy Becky Barnes
September 28, 2012
This week we asked our panel whether UK police officers should carry guns after two policewomen lost their lives in Manchester.
PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed in a gun and grenade attack in the city on Tuesday, September 18.
Dale Cregan, 29, has been charged with the officers’ murders, along with those of two other men.
Darren Bridgman, Bracknell blogger: “In many cases a gun would not have helped. As in this one.
“I think in order to avoid an escalation in gun crime it is best for the police to not be armed.
“Armed backup is available and this is thankfully still a very unusual occurrence.”
Peter Smith, of The Better Business Alliance: “In countries where there is a population that has easy access to weapons it is probably necessary for a police force to also carry guns.
“In the UK, however, despite what appears in the newspapers it is comparatively difficult to obtain weapons.
“We would expect the police that are armed in the UK are carefully selected and trained to use them; this becomes far more difficult if carried by them all.
“Increasing the number of people carrying weapons, even by a well-trained police force, must inevitably increase the number of accidental killings and woundings, currently rare in the UK but not unheard of.
“If we wish to minimise the number of gun battles on our streets and the consequential casualties we should think long and hard before contemplating the routine arming of our police.
“Any knee-jerk reaction resulting from the tragic loss of life of the two policewomen in Manchester should be resisted especially as we cannot be sure that carrying firearms would have saved them.”
Caroline Allain, from Forest Park: “I don’t think police should be armed.
“What happened was tragic, but very rare, and hopefully won’t happen again.
“If all police are armed the public will be less at ease, criminals will be more likely to carry weapons, there are likely to be more deaths that lead to investigation and therefore more suspensions of officers, plus officers will need more training and more equipment, costing more public money.
“If this kind of thing becomes more common then there may be reason to arm the police, but until then I personally think it should be avoided.”
Easthampstead Park School pupil Ben Mitchell: “I personally feel that more police officers should be armed but do not think that all officers should be allowed to carry firearms.
“Although it would thoroughly help policemen in the fight against crime, it could be considered reckless, which is why only more senior officers should be able to judge a situation and deploy guns if necessary.”