Present the arguments for and against the proposition that the police forces in Britain should be armed. The topic that is about to be discussed is one that has been raised on a variety off different occasions. The time when this issue has come to the forefront of discussion is when it has been a national interest or a national tragedy. From the Dunblane murders to the recent killings of Ged Walker and Stephen Oake have raised an issue of security of the police force in juxtaposition to the security and the rights of the general public.
However Britain is one of the few countries in Europe where police officers do not carry firearms, so with armed crime on the increase many people are calling for the baton to be replaced by the gun. Recently in Nottingham police have been on armed patrol in some inner city estates but have played down suggestions that this is a shift to the entire force carrying firearms. There was a sense that armed police would provoke a sense of unease in the areas where the police where patrolling and a fear that the armed police would simple provoke aggression instead of a show of aggression that would stop crime.
Firstly a definition of the police is necessary to gain a realistic opinion of what providing them with guns will actually mean. The police are enforcers of the law, they are not the law and are definitely not above it. The police have " the monopoly of legitimate use of violence held by the state and secondly its obligation in liberal democracies to control the law-enforcement agencies and ensure that they operate according to certain rules. "1 Furthermore there is duty to the citizen of the country, " the need to protect the society from the activities of criminals, especially violent criminals".
So given that there primary action is to enforce the law for the regards and the protection of the general public the police force at present only use the use of firearms on 3 different occasions. Firstly when there is a possibility of an encounter with an armed criminal, secondly to deal with dangerous animals and thirdly when protecting a VIP. So if the police force were armed would it be to protect the public or will it stir up more aggression in communities like the ones in Nottingham. The use of Guns and the access to guns is much more widespread than in the past.
A culture of guns seems to be developing and the threat of an armed attack onto a police officer is much more likely now than it has been over the last 20 years. In many ways the argument is if the criminals have guns then the police should. The fact is that criminals are already arming themselves regardless if the police has access to guns or not. To fully protect the citizens of the country then the police should have the capability to at least pose the same threat to criminals than be underpowered in a violent situation. A powerless police is not a police that is fit to protect.
Some initial arguments of the police force being armed are that a force that is armed will act as a deterrent towards armed criminals. Relying on a psychological front, a police force that is overtly armed should, in theory, deter any criminal action from happening because an armed officer can do much more damage. Police with guns would require more training but at the moment the police are trained to shoot to take down not to shoot to kill so with the progression of gun related crime it seems to make sense to keep the police up to date and if they are properly trained then the loss of life would be nominal.
The decision to shoot a suspect is always the last resort by police. No armed officer shoots to wound as seen on TV and film they shoot to kill that's why its termed as a lethal response. They will have to justify why they made such a decision and can face the possibility of criminal charges for murder / manslaughter if they shoot and kill so if the police were armed the image off an all guns blazing battle simply would not happen.
If There is situation that a armed conflict can only sort then instead of waiting for a specialist group of police to deal with the situation, if the police force were competent and fully armed the situation could be resolved quickly or quicker than the conventional policing at the moment The arguments against the police force being armed are in abundance. Firstly there is a media perception that gun crime in this country is out off control and the police forces are unable to deal with the problem. This is of course wrong.
Throughout the United Kingdom gun related crime accounts for a small percentage of the complete crime picture. 0. 2% of recorded offences involve some kind of firearm of which one third of these offences were trivial criminal damage. So if gun crime is not out of hand like certain sections of the media suggest then is it right to arm the police due to an influence that has no regards to the facts. In London a study of armed robberies showed that firearms were only discharged in 45 out off the 1,134 incidents, which is 4%.
In 90% of incidents there was no physical harm due to a firearm. When the cases were closely examined, 2. 5% of the weapons fired had "lethal potential", moreover 60% of robbers carried a replica gun and basically intimidated their victims. Arming the police would be a big shift in the policy of the police force and also a major shift in the status quo. Britain is a very conservative country and the image of a policeman being friendly and approachable would be a memory if the police force were to carry and place on show firearms.
There is a lot of disagreement on whether the police force being armed would act as deterrent or whether armed police would simply induce fear and provoke a situation where criminals or ordinary citizens felt they needed to be armed. If a suburb were filled with armed police then the impression from the public would be that this is a very dangerous place and the only way to deal with the problem is with guns. Furthermore if the police are armed the response from the criminals is that we are going to need guns too. An aggressive stance on an issue can provoke an aggressive reaction.
The Police force are seemingly against the idea of every member being armed however they do believe that the majority of police should be given extensive training into the use of firearms. A highly trained section of the police would be better instead of a general use of weapons by the force. To have such a rule of fully armed police you have to have something that the United Kingdom does not have. A sound policing system. It is a fact that not all criminals are caught and not all people in prison are criminals so with the police having the ultimate punishment literally at their fingertips.
The police can effectively end someone's life without trial and punishment or even without the thought that a criminal could be rehabilitated and be part of a society. Taking away there right to life is the extreme power that the police will have if they are unconditionally armed however since the police make mistakes, as they have done so in the past then surely a complete armed police force will not help. Arming the police force will also not act as a deterrent, if we look at America then it is obvious that an armed police force simply did not help as a preventative measure.
The issue in my opinion should never resolve itself by the police being armed with firearms. However there is more than one way to arm the police force and use the use as a deterrent. Tasar and pepper sprays, which have the ability to disable criminals instead of killing them seems to be the more sensible approach to the discussion. In America the programme of non lethal weapons has saved thousands of lives, some of which were innocent and some that were guilty, which otherwise would have been killed with firearms in the holsters of the police