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The British Bobbies - INTERESTING!

1169 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  LPguy

Between the baton and the bullet

With two members of the public shot dead by police in as many weeks, the use of "live fire" by officers and the less-than-lethal alternatives have come under scrutiny.
The image of British Bobbies on the beat with little more than a truncheon to defend themselves no longer rings true. Today's police officers have swift access to far more lethal arsenals.

While few officers carry firearms on a daily basis, forces across the UK boast rapid reaction units equipped with the sort of weaponry many people would expect to be confined to the battlefield.

While a variety of self-loading pistols have been issued to officers, almost all UK forces have purchased Heckler and Koch MP5 machine guns (perhaps more familiar as the weapons used by the SAS to storm the Iranian embassy in 1980).

Soft option

Such weapons are perhaps even more deadly than their military equivalents, since police forces tend to load them with "soft point" ammunition - frowned upon by the Geneva Convention.

These rounds expand on impact - giving up much of their energy - thus reducing what a recent Home Office report called the "risk of over penetration of the primary target".

However, the properties of these bullets means any target they do strike is likely to suffer a more serious wound than might have been the case had hard, metal jacketed ammunition been employed.

Police marksmen are supposed only to fire "after conventional methods have been tried and failed or must, from the ... circumstances, be unlikely to succeed," according to Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidelines.

The guidelines recommend firing at the torso - the main location of the central nervous system and a larger target than the arm or leg.

While a recent study suggested there were 3,685 gun crimes in the UK in 1999/2000 (up 40% on the previous few years), armed police were deployed 10,928 times in 1999 - according to figures called "conservative" by The Guardian.


Of the 18 people fatally shot by police between 1989 and 1997, six were subsequently found not to be armed, according to figures presented to Parliament.

Inspector Gary Crump, of Scotland Yard's firearms policy unit, says armed officers are also being summoned "to more and more knife incidents. But is that appropriate?"

Worryingly for innocent passers-by, Superintendent Colin Burrows, who helped draft the ACPO firearms guidelines, observed that more than half of shots fired by police missed their target.

Sean Howe, of Jane's Police Review, says there is an array of situations where equipment limitations give officers no choice but to resort to lethal force.

"Officers now have long batons and CS spray to tackle suspects up close, but they have nothing available that works over a greater distance. Their next line of defence is firearms."

Alternatives to guns

Following the fatal shooting on Monday of a London man later found to be carrying a gun-shaped lighter, Home Secretary David Blunkett has vowed to explore "alternatives" to live fire.

Baton rounds, so-called plastic bullets, have been used in Northern Ireland for many years. Often portrayed as non-lethal, the rounds have killed at least 17 people.

Controversy surrounds a new plastic bullet, called L21A1, which has been cleared for use by British police and soldiers. The round is supposed to be more accurate - thanks to its aerodynamic shape - and thus less likely to go astray and strike the heads of those it is aimed at (or those standing nearby).

However, a Ministry of Defence report said that should an L21A1 hit a human skull "the severity of injuries to the brain is likely to be greater" than with the old plastic bullets.

Yet even when fired at the torso, baton rounds can cause potentially fatal damage to organs and arteries.

Less-than-lethal weapons

The Police Scientific Development Branch is examining less dangerous "kinetic energy weapons" - including guns which fire bean-bags - as a means of subduing close standing assailants.

The Police Federation has urged the Home Office to test the American A3P3 gun - capable of squirting a disabling stream of pepper spray over greater distances than current issue CS containers.

Northamptonshire police have already begun trials on another American import, the Taser stun gun. The devices can fire electric darts over 21 feet (and through two inches of clothing) to deliver an incapacitating 50,000-volt shock.

A Taser was infamously used in the beating of Rodney King by LA policemen. Human rights campaigners fear the device could easily be used not only to overcome suspects, but to torture them too.

While comic book-sounding sticky foams and nets have also been suggested as "less-than-lethal" weapons to "take down" dangerous individuals, Sean Howe points out most methods reduce the risks of harm, but do not removed it entirely.

"It is still possible people could be killed. The phrase 'non-lethal' describes the intent of the police, not the result."
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Some people just need to be killed. Thats the way it has always been and thats the way it will always be....

The Brits need to quit pussyfooting around and grow a set of balls and learn how to use real guns. They also need tot get a dose of reality.

Even they've got to figure out that all of that gun control crap only serves to strengthen the badguys and it puts everyone else,cops included at a disadvantage.

OR it could be that the ruling class over there specifically wants it that way....
HG - much is I think still ''ruling class'' decisions. Fear too maybe of ''what Joe Public'' might think - probably down to ''will this lose us votes'' if we arm more cops.
"soft point" ammunition - frowned upon by the Geneva Convention
IIRC it was the Hague Convention anyways!

Bottom line - you have to meet fire with fire at times - I have long wished to see ''Bobbies'' carrying - doubt it'll happen tho. It's fine having ''armed response teams'' but it's a bit like comparing CCW with a weapon to hand - and waiting ages for ''backup'' to arrive or the time taken to go ''fetch'' a piece. Too late - it'll all be over.
I had the pleasure of meeting a "BOBBY"at the Sheriff Dept. where he was doing a ridelaong with one of his friends. His friend was a member of the S.O. and had quit it to become a UN Enforcer over in Bosnia for a 2 year stint. They were in the same unit and became the best of friends. After the 2 years were up, he got the same position on the S.O. that he had left and was going to stay in the states for a year before he left again to go back to Bosnia.

So the "Bobby" came over here to visit for a couple of weeks and did a few ride alongs and I was introduced to him. He had a real interest in weapons and had almost zero exposure to them until he went to Bosnia. After a short discussion, a few days latter found all 3 of us at the range shooting guns. I bought along my .50 BMG, my suppressed .300 Whisper and a few of my longshooters in .308 and .300 Mag as well as my .44 Anaconda and several .45's.

We had a great time, but not as good as his. He loved every minute of it and I think the fact that we we "allowed" to own, as he put it, amazed him more than anything else.He told us he was hooked and mentioned that he loved everything about America that he had seen and that the people were NOTHING like what he was told...but I did mention that he was in the "South"... :biggrin: were it may have been different than up North.

Anyhow...the last time he was mentioned we found out that he had been submitting applications to all the S.O.'s and P.D.s in this area as he wanted to move here. I thought it interesting that he was willing to drop everything he knew over in England to come over here to live.
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and another thing...
those pictures of the Bobbys with their hand up and shooting their spray are ridiculous.

If you are spraying anyone, the hand signal is worthless. I have yet to see any spray stop a charging pissed off methhead or crackhead in their tracks. It takes a little time till it chokes them down enough to where they get down on hands and knees and just try to breath, in that minute or so that it takes, they are usally kicking and swinging and cussing and spitting and trying to put the hurt on you.

While a recent study suggested there were 3,685 gun crimes in the UK in 1999/2000 (up 40% on the previous few years), armed police were deployed 10,928 times in 1999 - according to figures called "conservative" by The Guardian.

More proof that gun control works... :yikes:
If you want to see bobbies with guns, go to New Scotland Yard. When I was there, the officers guarding that facility were very conspicuously armed. I guess when they are protecting their own turf, a different set of rules apply.
"soft point" ammunition - frowned upon by the Geneva Convention
We had a girl killed here in Boston last year by a police, pepper spray bullet.
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