The recent shootings of 2 young Police women in Manchester has ignited a wider debate within the police force. Should police officers be equipped with guns to defend themselves? To many, it seems obvious that this is the only answer to deal with what appears to be a growing problem in the UK, but what will it mean for the image of the police force.

A police officer in Brighton said that it will be a step backards for the image that the police are trying to create. Being seen in the community armed with a gun may put off members of the public to approach them for simple inquires such as asking for directions. This reinforces the 'us and them' view in many community which the police have been trying to move away from over the recent years so that they can work with the community rather than against them. 

Although this is only one view on a larger debate I haven't seen anyone consider how it will affect the law-abiding citizens and their relationship witht the police.

Comments

That's really interesting, I hadn't thought about this story from that angle. But the question we could ask in repsonse to that is, whether we should put the lives of officers at risk by not arming them, just to make them appear friendly? They are there to enforce the law, not to make friends - not my personal view - I agree with you, just thought I'd play devil's advocate for a bit 

I feel like it's difficult to justify each way, either allowing the police to be armed at all times, or to remain the same. I would like to think that with armed police, perhaps crime rates might fall out of fear of police action. However, and I know it's a clichéd answer, but the US police are armed and many citizens view the police in a more hostile manner. Perhaps better, faster and more appropriate choice of protection and weapons on each police officer would mean incident's like this would become incredibly rare. 

 

Jade- By making the police seem friendlier would it possibly increase the amount of crimes reported? The dark figure of crime is the numerous crimes that aren’t reported as they don’t believe the police can help them in anyway and creating a better relationship may change that. More reported crimes may lead to a decrease in criminal activity. I feel this is going off topic slightly, so on another point, I think there is little evidence to suggest the officers being armed does in fact protect them anymore. In cases of ambush like these two women were, having a gun would have done little to help them unfortunately.

Cecily- I don’t think fear comes into it in most cases, there is an idea that with the police being armed criminals will only improve the weapons they have to use, its already started with the use of a grenade, the police have little defense against this sort of equipment.  

A step backwards for the police