One of the world's most respected police forces, Scotland yard, is examining its policy on weapons-use, after the gunning down of another armed criminal.
One of the world's most respected police forces, Scotland yard, is examining its policy on weapons-use, after the gunning down of another armed criminal. A man was shot at close range by police on Wednesday (21 March) after an all-night hotel siege at Essex. He was the third gunmen in three months to be killed by a policemen, and the force is concerned about the need for more and more policemen to be armed.
SYNOPSIS: When britain's first official police force had its beginnings a century and a half ago, founder Sir Robert Peel insisted his men should pound the best unarmed. The violent 1970's have changed that.
Just as this man gave himself up during a Scotland yard training exercise, so the police are surrendering to a growing policy of meeting armed force, with force. The truncheon it seems, is giving way to the gun.
Every day on London streets, police meet armed criminals, but until now only twenty percent of officers were trained to handle revolvers.
Scotland yard has been increasingly confronted by terrorist and criminal violence in recent years, right in the heart of London. The Balcombe Street siege for example...the Spaghetti House emergency...situations where criminals were not only heavily armed, but repeatedly using their weapons.
British policing has moved away from the long-time image of the unarmed 'bobby'. But still, policemen have orders to use firearms only in exceptional circumstances. A senior officer must give written permission before firearms can be used. When guns are used, police are taught to aim for the chest..the biggest target area on the body.
Still, the order don't mean the officer should shoot to kill. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Halsey says that his men are trained to stop a criminal, not necessarily to kill him.
In this situation, the armed policeman certainly had the upper hand. In the Essex hotel siege on Wednesday (21 March) the teenage gunmen had made it clear he had no intention of surrendering. The police claim they were forced to shoot him when he came out of the burning hotel firing an automatic shotgun.
Neither the leaders of the force, nor the Police Union are known to be happy at the trend towards widespread arming of the force. They stress that most policemen neve??? touch a gun... but they know how to use them if they have to.