Arming police 'not the solution' says John Apter

John Apter

John Apter

First published in Crime

THE chairman of Hampshire police federation has warned against a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction in response to the killing of two unarmed women officers in Manchester.

Police constables, Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were shot and killed as they responded to what they believed to be a routine report of a domestic burglary.

But as they approached the address, one of Britain’s most wanted men, Dale Cregan, 29, allegedly attacked them with a gun and a grenade.

The killings have sparked a debate over whether all police officers should be armed.

Hampshire police federation boss John Apter, pictured, said in his view the arming of all officers was not the solution.

He said he believed there should be a debate on how police officers can best be protected but said he felt arming all officers was not the answer.

“I don’t think that should happen and I don’t think that needs to happen,” he said.

He said that he believed there were “adequate” numbers of firearm trained officers in the county but said he would welcome a discussion about further protection of officers including the more police men and women being equipped with Tazers.

Speaking about the events in Manchester he said: “These were tragic and rare circumstances that unfolded in Manchester and of course our thoughts are with the families and colleagues in Greater Manchester.”

He added that when a national ballot of Police Federation members was held over whether officers should be armed, 80 per cent of officers felt they should not be.

Meanwhile stations across Hampshire fell quiet as officers and staff observed a one-minute silence yesterday morning. Flags at the force’s buildings were flown at half mast and messages of condolence were sent to colleagues in the Greater Manchester force.

Comments (15)

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1:21pm Thu 20 Sep 12

sotonwinch09 says...

I agree, Arming with firearms is not the answer. At the very least though equip all police officers with Taser.
I agree, Arming with firearms is not the answer. At the very least though equip all police officers with Taser. sotonwinch09
  • Score: 0

1:24pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Georgem says...

I don't see why this even sparked a debate. They'd have been no less ambushed if they'd been armed.
I don't see why this even sparked a debate. They'd have been no less ambushed if they'd been armed. Georgem
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Thu 20 Sep 12

hulla baloo says...

Georgem wrote:
I don't see why this even sparked a debate. They'd have been no less ambushed if they'd been armed.
This is true, but if they had taken him out ( and bearing in mind his previous) it would save a lot of time and money over many years in keeping this scum.
[quote][p][bold]Georgem[/bold] wrote: I don't see why this even sparked a debate. They'd have been no less ambushed if they'd been armed.[/p][/quote]This is true, but if they had taken him out ( and bearing in mind his previous) it would save a lot of time and money over many years in keeping this scum. hulla baloo
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Georgem says...

hulla baloo wrote:
Georgem wrote:
I don't see why this even sparked a debate. They'd have been no less ambushed if they'd been armed.
This is true, but if they had taken him out ( and bearing in mind his previous) it would save a lot of time and money over many years in keeping this scum.
Would it? You think the police can just shoot someone, say "Oh, well, sarge, he was obviously a villain" and that's the end of it? Nah. There's going to be an inquiry into it. There's always an inquiry when an officer discharges a firearm. They ain't cheap.

But forget the costs. The UK is fortunate that gun culture is tiny compared to countries where the police are armed. Start habitually arming the police, and what will happen? Well, first of all, more armed criminals. Not sure I'm chuffed about that. Secondly, more accidentally-shot bystanders. Think it won't happen? Of course it will. Remember the shooting at the Empire State building last month? 9 bystanders were injured. All by police fire.

But that's ok, it's all an acceptable cost, because lol, some cops got to play Dirty Harry, and the public are pleased at the odd dead criminals.

Fun fact: 82% of police federation members do not believe they should be armed. I think I'm gonna trust the people who actually have to face criminals in these situations, over the armchair demands of a bunch of guys who watch too much TV, thanks.
[quote][p][bold]hulla baloo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Georgem[/bold] wrote: I don't see why this even sparked a debate. They'd have been no less ambushed if they'd been armed.[/p][/quote]This is true, but if they had taken him out ( and bearing in mind his previous) it would save a lot of time and money over many years in keeping this scum.[/p][/quote]Would it? You think the police can just shoot someone, say "Oh, well, sarge, he was obviously a villain" and that's the end of it? Nah. There's going to be an inquiry into it. There's always an inquiry when an officer discharges a firearm. They ain't cheap. But forget the costs. The UK is fortunate that gun culture is tiny compared to countries where the police are armed. Start habitually arming the police, and what will happen? Well, first of all, more armed criminals. Not sure I'm chuffed about that. Secondly, more accidentally-shot bystanders. Think it won't happen? Of course it will. Remember the shooting at the Empire State building last month? 9 bystanders were injured. All by police fire. But that's ok, it's all an acceptable cost, because lol, some cops got to play Dirty Harry, and the public are pleased at the odd dead criminals. Fun fact: 82% of police federation members do not believe they should be armed. I think I'm gonna trust the people who actually have to face criminals in these situations, over the armchair demands of a bunch of guys who watch too much TV, thanks. Georgem
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Sovietobserver says...

How do you protect people against the spontaneous throwing of a hand grenade. Frontline officers should be asked because they are the people who are likely to find themselves in difficult situations every day - there is always the potential that wherever they go could result in something happening to them.
Even fully armed officers wearing full body armour could not have survived an ambush like that.
If I remember M75 Kashikara grenades have an effective killing radius of 12 - 18 metres radius and an effective casualty radius of 30- 52 metres.
Arming all officers just ups the ante for other beat officers, then what to do with the part time special constables ?
Would they need to take the training to carry arms too ?
Another problem would be that this Government not only want officers to work until theyr'e 60, but also to be fit at that age to do the job with them being sacked if not. If you're carrying a firearm, that officers eyesight and fitness levels have to be very high, you don't see many older firearms officers, due to them not being able to attain the necessary eyesight and fitness levels, so if officers are armed, most of them will be sacked before they get to 60.
How do you protect people against the spontaneous throwing of a hand grenade. Frontline officers should be asked because they are the people who are likely to find themselves in difficult situations every day - there is always the potential that wherever they go could result in something happening to them. Even fully armed officers wearing full body armour could not have survived an ambush like that. If I remember M75 Kashikara grenades have an effective killing radius of 12 - 18 metres radius and an effective casualty radius of 30- 52 metres. Arming all officers just ups the ante for other beat officers, then what to do with the part time special constables ? Would they need to take the training to carry arms too ? Another problem would be that this Government not only want officers to work until theyr'e 60, but also to be fit at that age to do the job with them being sacked if not. If you're carrying a firearm, that officers eyesight and fitness levels have to be very high, you don't see many older firearms officers, due to them not being able to attain the necessary eyesight and fitness levels, so if officers are armed, most of them will be sacked before they get to 60. Sovietobserver
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Forest Resident says...

The question of whether the Police should be armed should rest with the FRONTLINE officers on response shifts who are invariably the first to attend any incident and are therefore always at the greatest risk of harm. Amongst my friends in the job who perform this role I would suggest its more like 80% IN FAVOUR of being armed. If we cannot trust the police to use firearms appropriately then who can we trust? Time to put some faith back in the people who sacrifice everything for the protection of society!
The question of whether the Police should be armed should rest with the FRONTLINE officers on response shifts who are invariably the first to attend any incident and are therefore always at the greatest risk of harm. Amongst my friends in the job who perform this role I would suggest its more like 80% IN FAVOUR of being armed. If we cannot trust the police to use firearms appropriately then who can we trust? Time to put some faith back in the people who sacrifice everything for the protection of society! Forest Resident
  • Score: 0

4:34pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Georgem says...

Forest Resident wrote:
The question of whether the Police should be armed should rest with the FRONTLINE officers on response shifts who are invariably the first to attend any incident and are therefore always at the greatest risk of harm. Amongst my friends in the job who perform this role I would suggest its more like 80% IN FAVOUR of being armed. If we cannot trust the police to use firearms appropriately then who can we trust? Time to put some faith back in the people who sacrifice everything for the protection of society!
Let's compare sample sizes. The 82% I quoted was out of a group of 47, 328 officers. How many did you ask?
[quote][p][bold]Forest Resident[/bold] wrote: The question of whether the Police should be armed should rest with the FRONTLINE officers on response shifts who are invariably the first to attend any incident and are therefore always at the greatest risk of harm. Amongst my friends in the job who perform this role I would suggest its more like 80% IN FAVOUR of being armed. If we cannot trust the police to use firearms appropriately then who can we trust? Time to put some faith back in the people who sacrifice everything for the protection of society![/p][/quote]Let's compare sample sizes. The 82% I quoted was out of a group of 47, 328 officers. How many did you ask? Georgem
  • Score: 0

4:55pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Shoong says...

Armed or nay, a hand gun would not have saved these 2 unfortunate bobbies.
Armed or nay, a hand gun would not have saved these 2 unfortunate bobbies. Shoong
  • Score: 0

6:19pm Thu 20 Sep 12

cantthinkofone says...

On several occasions recently, the police have been shown to be untrustworthy when it comes to telling the truth. Hillsborough, Tomlinson, and plenty more examples - and even today we now have the mystery of Mark Duggan's magic disappearing gun.

It hardly inspires confidence in the force. I'd certainly not be comfortable that the police could be trusted to be routinely armed without misusing that power.

Cue outraged responses from those that will defend the police no matter what.
On several occasions recently, the police have been shown to be untrustworthy when it comes to telling the truth. Hillsborough, Tomlinson, and plenty more examples - and even today we now have the mystery of Mark Duggan's magic disappearing gun. It hardly inspires confidence in the force. I'd certainly not be comfortable that the police could be trusted to be routinely armed without misusing that power. Cue outraged responses from those that will defend the police no matter what. cantthinkofone
  • Score: 0

10:48pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Scrutinizer says...

Well, I feel sure that the greater majority of us would rather the police on the 'frontline'/'on the beat' or whatever we want to call it, in this country were not armed. However, the reality of future developments may well necessitate a point in the future - and not necessarily to distant either, say within maybe 10 years - whereby the number of incidents of criminals, including terrorists, using firearms increases to the extent, whereby the police will simply have to increase the number of their people being armed at the interface with these people, or matters may get far worse than at present. After all, weapons are continuing to be illegally smuggled into this country by all kinds of ingenious methods, and being a group of Islands this is obviously all the more difficult to contain/prevent. Then there are the re-activated weapons too. Only today on the radio, an expert on firearms and exposives was saying how easy it is, given the right machinery and skills, to do this. Also, our own quite poor economic situation, which I haven't heard anyone forecasting will improve significantly at all in the next few years at least, will see many more people in our society feeling disaffected with their situation, and a hardcore of these resulting to serious, armed crime in an attempt to better themselves. Personally, I don't have a major problem with the police on the frontline being armed, no more than I have a problem with I.D. cards being issued. Both systems of which many of our fellow European countries have adopted, and apart from some of their serious economic problems - as bad as those certainly are, especially in the likes of Greece, Spain, Italy and possibly France - their societies are not exactly faling apart at the seams with armed crime all over the place. Mind you, that could yet come... But personally, my belief is that many more of our policemen and women on the frontline, will gradually become armed as time goes by, anyway. I predict that it will get to a point whereby we will hardly notice, nor especially complain about it. Actually, I think we will eventually grow accustomed to, and welcome, it as a necesary measure. Oh and I'm well aware that the greater majority of police in this country at present do want to be armed. However, I think they will gradually and eventually be replaced by new officers who are willing to undergo firearms weapons' training.
Well, I feel sure that the greater majority of us would rather the police on the 'frontline'/'on the beat' or whatever we want to call it, in this country were not armed. However, the reality of future developments may well necessitate a point in the future - and not necessarily to distant either, say within maybe 10 years - whereby the number of incidents of criminals, including terrorists, using firearms increases to the extent, whereby the police will simply have to increase the number of their people being armed at the interface with these people, or matters may get far worse than at present. After all, weapons are continuing to be illegally smuggled into this country by all kinds of ingenious methods, and being a group of Islands this is obviously all the more difficult to contain/prevent. Then there are the re-activated weapons too. Only today on the radio, an expert on firearms and exposives was saying how easy it is, given the right machinery and skills, to do this. Also, our own quite poor economic situation, which I haven't heard anyone forecasting will improve significantly at all in the next few years at least, will see many more people in our society feeling disaffected with their situation, and a hardcore of these resulting to serious, armed crime in an attempt to better themselves. Personally, I don't have a major problem with the police on the frontline being armed, no more than I have a problem with I.D. cards being issued. Both systems of which many of our fellow European countries have adopted, and apart from some of their serious economic problems - as bad as those certainly are, especially in the likes of Greece, Spain, Italy and possibly France - their societies are not exactly faling apart at the seams with armed crime all over the place. Mind you, that could yet come... But personally, my belief is that many more of our policemen and women on the frontline, will gradually become armed as time goes by, anyway. I predict that it will get to a point whereby we will hardly notice, nor especially complain about it. Actually, I think we will eventually grow accustomed to, and welcome, it as a necesary measure. Oh and I'm well aware that the greater majority of police in this country at present do want to be armed. However, I think they will gradually and eventually be replaced by new officers who are willing to undergo firearms weapons' training. Scrutinizer
  • Score: 0

10:54pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Scrutinizer says...

Scrutinizer wrote:
Well, I feel sure that the greater majority of us would rather the police on the 'frontline'/'on the beat' or whatever we want to call it, in this country were not armed. However, the reality of future developments may well necessitate a point in the future - and not necessarily to distant either, say within maybe 10 years - whereby the number of incidents of criminals, including terrorists, using firearms increases to the extent, whereby the police will simply have to increase the number of their people being armed at the interface with these people, or matters may get far worse than at present. After all, weapons are continuing to be illegally smuggled into this country by all kinds of ingenious methods, and being a group of Islands this is obviously all the more difficult to contain/prevent. Then there are the re-activated weapons too. Only today on the radio, an expert on firearms and exposives was saying how easy it is, given the right machinery and skills, to do this. Also, our own quite poor economic situation, which I haven't heard anyone forecasting will improve significantly at all in the next few years at least, will see many more people in our society feeling disaffected with their situation, and a hardcore of these resulting to serious, armed crime in an attempt to better themselves. Personally, I don't have a major problem with the police on the frontline being armed, no more than I have a problem with I.D. cards being issued. Both systems of which many of our fellow European countries have adopted, and apart from some of their serious economic problems - as bad as those certainly are, especially in the likes of Greece, Spain, Italy and possibly France - their societies are not exactly faling apart at the seams with armed crime all over the place. Mind you, that could yet come... But personally, my belief is that many more of our policemen and women on the frontline, will gradually become armed as time goes by, anyway. I predict that it will get to a point whereby we will hardly notice, nor especially complain about it. Actually, I think we will eventually grow accustomed to, and welcome, it as a necesary measure. Oh and I'm well aware that the greater majority of police in this country at present do want to be armed. However, I think they will gradually and eventually be replaced by new officers who are willing to undergo firearms weapons' training.
Sorry, the second to last line in my previous comment should be "Oh and I'm well aware that the greater majority of police in this country at present do NOT want to be armed."
[quote][p][bold]Scrutinizer[/bold] wrote: Well, I feel sure that the greater majority of us would rather the police on the 'frontline'/'on the beat' or whatever we want to call it, in this country were not armed. However, the reality of future developments may well necessitate a point in the future - and not necessarily to distant either, say within maybe 10 years - whereby the number of incidents of criminals, including terrorists, using firearms increases to the extent, whereby the police will simply have to increase the number of their people being armed at the interface with these people, or matters may get far worse than at present. After all, weapons are continuing to be illegally smuggled into this country by all kinds of ingenious methods, and being a group of Islands this is obviously all the more difficult to contain/prevent. Then there are the re-activated weapons too. Only today on the radio, an expert on firearms and exposives was saying how easy it is, given the right machinery and skills, to do this. Also, our own quite poor economic situation, which I haven't heard anyone forecasting will improve significantly at all in the next few years at least, will see many more people in our society feeling disaffected with their situation, and a hardcore of these resulting to serious, armed crime in an attempt to better themselves. Personally, I don't have a major problem with the police on the frontline being armed, no more than I have a problem with I.D. cards being issued. Both systems of which many of our fellow European countries have adopted, and apart from some of their serious economic problems - as bad as those certainly are, especially in the likes of Greece, Spain, Italy and possibly France - their societies are not exactly faling apart at the seams with armed crime all over the place. Mind you, that could yet come... But personally, my belief is that many more of our policemen and women on the frontline, will gradually become armed as time goes by, anyway. I predict that it will get to a point whereby we will hardly notice, nor especially complain about it. Actually, I think we will eventually grow accustomed to, and welcome, it as a necesary measure. Oh and I'm well aware that the greater majority of police in this country at present do want to be armed. However, I think they will gradually and eventually be replaced by new officers who are willing to undergo firearms weapons' training.[/p][/quote]Sorry, the second to last line in my previous comment should be "Oh and I'm well aware that the greater majority of police in this country at present do NOT want to be armed." Scrutinizer
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Scrutinizer says...

cantthinkofone wrote:
On several occasions recently, the police have been shown to be untrustworthy when it comes to telling the truth. Hillsborough, Tomlinson, and plenty more examples - and even today we now have the mystery of Mark Duggan's magic disappearing gun. It hardly inspires confidence in the force. I'd certainly not be comfortable that the police could be trusted to be routinely armed without misusing that power. Cue outraged responses from those that will defend the police no matter what.
Well, I am certainly not one of those "...that will defend the police no matter what." There have been, and no doubt still are, some very badly incompetent, corrupt characters in the force. However, I am in favour of police officers on the frontline defending themselves with firearms against those who would use them, or threaten to, in the course of pursuing acts of illegality. At this moment in time most officersd do not apear to want to, but I believe the situation will inevitably change.
[quote][p][bold]cantthinkofone[/bold] wrote: On several occasions recently, the police have been shown to be untrustworthy when it comes to telling the truth. Hillsborough, Tomlinson, and plenty more examples - and even today we now have the mystery of Mark Duggan's magic disappearing gun. It hardly inspires confidence in the force. I'd certainly not be comfortable that the police could be trusted to be routinely armed without misusing that power. Cue outraged responses from those that will defend the police no matter what.[/p][/quote]Well, I am certainly not one of those "...that will defend the police no matter what." There have been, and no doubt still are, some very badly incompetent, corrupt characters in the force. However, I am in favour of police officers on the frontline defending themselves with firearms against those who would use them, or threaten to, in the course of pursuing acts of illegality. At this moment in time most officersd do not apear to want to, but I believe the situation will inevitably change. Scrutinizer
  • Score: 0

12:53am Fri 21 Sep 12

IronLady2010 says...

I'm against arming regular Police. Imagine how many guns would be stolen when Police are over powered. It doesn't take much for a crowd to over power a single officer and steal their gun.

Arming every officer is a bad move, we have specialist Officers who are armed and they are in numbers.

Such a shame many don't respect those who are here to protect us.
I'm against arming regular Police. Imagine how many guns would be stolen when Police are over powered. It doesn't take much for a crowd to over power a single officer and steal their gun. Arming every officer is a bad move, we have specialist Officers who are armed and they are in numbers. Such a shame many don't respect those who are here to protect us. IronLady2010
  • Score: 0

9:09am Fri 21 Sep 12

Raxx says...

IronLady2010 wrote:
I'm against arming regular Police. Imagine how many guns would be stolen when Police are over powered. It doesn't take much for a crowd to over power a single officer and steal their gun.

Arming every officer is a bad move, we have specialist Officers who are armed and they are in numbers.

Such a shame many don't respect those who are here to protect us.
Respect is earned.
[quote][p][bold]IronLady2010[/bold] wrote: I'm against arming regular Police. Imagine how many guns would be stolen when Police are over powered. It doesn't take much for a crowd to over power a single officer and steal their gun. Arming every officer is a bad move, we have specialist Officers who are armed and they are in numbers. Such a shame many don't respect those who are here to protect us.[/p][/quote]Respect is earned. Raxx
  • Score: 0

11:50am Fri 21 Sep 12

george h says...

John Apter is absolutely right, - arming police is not the answer. They would't have protected the two Manchester officers from a grenade-throwing thug.

The real and ONLY solution is to make these sub-human thugs really, really afraid; and there are many ways of doing that, even without bringing back the death penalty. And Cregan was really afraid. Sadly though not afraid of the law, but of his gangland enemies. Because Cregan knew what we all know; - that the other gangster family wouldn't feel constrained by human rights, or ethics, or not being too nasty to the bad guys. They would have dealt with Cregan swiftly and brutally and permanently. No messing about.

We know that, the police know that, and Cregan knew that. That's why he wanted to flee to Ireland. When that failed, he took the next best option, - to turn himself in to protect his cowardly skin. Because he was afraid.

There's a lesson there for the police, the CPS, the lawmakers, and the weasel-worded lawyers, and ourselves. We've become soft, too ready to see the crims sad early childhood. Not enough recognition that everyone has an ability to choose between good and evil, - that we have to face the consequences of our choices. Free will.

We need a restructuring of criminal justice to make the other Cregans of this world more afraid of us than they are of each other

.A great lesson of the Cold War was that deterrence works. Not just at international level, but at a personal level too. For most people its called self-policing, self-restraint.

Meanwhile, I'd start by putting out his other eye, swiftly followed by kneecaps and elbows before locking him in a concrete bunker from where he'd never again see the sun or the stars.
John Apter is absolutely right, - arming police is not the answer. They would't have protected the two Manchester officers from a grenade-throwing thug. The real and ONLY solution is to make these sub-human thugs really, really afraid; and there are many ways of doing that, even without bringing back the death penalty. And Cregan was really afraid. Sadly though not afraid of the law, but of his gangland enemies. Because Cregan knew what we all know; - that the other gangster family wouldn't feel constrained by human rights, or ethics, or not being too nasty to the bad guys. They would have dealt with Cregan swiftly and brutally and permanently. No messing about. We know that, the police know that, and Cregan knew that. That's why he wanted to flee to Ireland. When that failed, he took the next best option, - to turn himself in to protect his cowardly skin. Because he was afraid. There's a lesson there for the police, the CPS, the lawmakers, and the weasel-worded lawyers, and ourselves. We've become soft, too ready to see the crims sad early childhood. Not enough recognition that everyone has an ability to choose between good and evil, - that we have to face the consequences of our choices. Free will. We need a restructuring of criminal justice to make the other Cregans of this world more afraid of us than they are of each other .A great lesson of the Cold War was that deterrence works. Not just at international level, but at a personal level too. For most people its called self-policing, self-restraint. Meanwhile, I'd start by putting out his other eye, swiftly followed by kneecaps and elbows before locking him in a concrete bunker from where he'd never again see the sun or the stars. george h
  • Score: 0

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