Ed Davey says arming all police would be “disproportionate”

National Police Chiefs have said that rural police officers might end up carrying guns because of a lack of specialist counter-terrorist officers.

Ed Davey has said that this would be a disproportionate move.

Police Officers carry out dangerous and often lifesaving work on our behalf, not least in the face of ongoing threats including terrorism. We must therefore ensure that armed officers are able to respond quickly to situations.

However, any move towards routinely arming officers would be totally disproportionate and contrary to the principle of policing by consent.

There needs to be sensible guidelines in place to ensure that armed officers on our streets do not become the norm.

We’ve been through this in Scotland in recent years and Liberal Democrats successfully fought for a more sensible approach. I was horrified to hear of a police officer with a gun going into a wee highland bakery to buy his lunch. There’s no need for that.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • Ed Shepherd 19th May '18 - 7:43am

    I see armed police every day. I have stood in queues with armed police getting their lunch. Given the devastating nature of terror attacks or violence by criminals, I have no problem with plenty of armed police being available. Three of the worst incidents of violence by shooting in the mainland UK happened in relatively rural areas. Therefore rural areas need to have armed police quickly available.

  • I have softened my stance on British police carrying guns, and don’t think it’s ridiculous for there to be more police trained in the use of fire-arms, and for there to be specialist armed police at strategic locations around the country, but I’m very, very against any move that might be considered routine arming of the police. Partly because I don’t want to be seeing guns on normal streets, or in my local bakers, as Caron mentioned, but also because I think that the sort of person that applies to be a police officer might change if they think they are getting a job with a guaranteed gun.

    I’m not going to claim that our police service are perfect, but on the whole, people who join expect to serve, and conversations with friends and colleagues from abroad, our police are thought to be much more civilised, and respectful towards the general public than their home grown version. With only a tiny minority of current police becoming fire-arms officers, it means that candidates can be fully evaluated within the job for aptitude for that particular role before they are selected for it. I fear that if guns were to become a routine part of police equipment, the wrong sort of person would be applying to become a police officer, and it would become harder to weed them out.

  • Nonconformistradical 19th May '18 - 9:59am

    @Ed Shepherd
    “I see armed police every day.”

    Ed – I don’t know where you live but in many rural areas it’s fairly unusual to see police at all!

  • Wow. I wouldn’t call it disproportionate. I would call it what it is: illiberal and vaguely authoritarian.

  • They hang around Leeds train stations with big machine guns all the time now.

    It’s a fascinating insight into privilege those who find them comforting and those whip find them terrifying.

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