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.