Once again we have a dangerous and armed criminal loose in the community. Already, one murder and serious injuries.It seems that the killer was motivated by his girl friend's association with a police officer - the dead man - and has transferred his hatred to all policemen as evidenced by his attack on the uniformed patrol.
A likely outcome will be repeated calls for all of our police to be armed when on duty. Events in Cumbrian could well add to that debate. The last major debate was back in 2005 when a female police officer was shot whilst on duty. The general public seem to accept officers having firearms, think of our airports and the situation in Northern Ireland. However, the officers themselves rejected the idea with a majority of over 80% not wishing to be armed. They hold that the existing special units can do all that is required and they do not wish to do anything that destroys the image that policing is done by consent and not armed force.
That is a nice cosy view of the way things are. However, it does not cover the situation where someone suddenly runs amok in clear rejection of the consent idea. I wish my police to be in a position to protect me. If some disturbed individual is intent on doing me harm, I am not prepared to tell him to hold off or rely upon his good nature or forbearance. I am all for Newton's Law that that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - if he wishes to open fire then a PC must be immediately available to react.
I care not for any law officer's wish. He is there to maintain law and order and if he is not prepared to be trained in the use of firearms and to then carry a weapon then he has no place in a police force. The idea of consent seems to be overlooked when it comes to their latest iteration of the wooden baton. The asp is quite capable of causing death. The same outcome may occur where Taser weapons are deployed. Even the cs gas spray can be dangerous and is not indicative of policing by consent.
The will be some who say that arming the police will result in the criminals upping their game and taking weapons with them of their illegal actions. The fact that the latest offender was able to obtain a deadly weapon within hours of release from prison shows our gun control is weak. Knives are very easily available so just what extra risk there could be cannot be established. To me, the reaction is immaterial - if Bill Sykes chooses to be armed then he has signed on for swift retribution in the event he uses it.