Dom Post on armed police

The DP editorial:

The shooting of 28-year-old Constable Jeremy Snow, predictably, has led to renewed calls for the to be routinely armed. Those calls should be resisted. …

Many, notably Police Association president Greg O’Connor, believe those events mean that it is time to give police easier access to firearms.

I think the DP is simplifying the issue. I ended up discussing this with Greg O’Connor on The Panel, and Greg is not calling for all officers on patrol to be armed. What he did advocate is that generally all police cars should have arms in their boots, so they can be accessed quickly if needed.

Sadly there is probably nothing that could have stopped Constable Snow from being shot. The scum who did it opened fire with no warning.

However his two colleagues had to go in unarmed, to tend to his wounds. They saved his life. If they had access to arms in their car, they would have been safer in doing so.

Of course more access to firearms, means more training is needed.

There are other steps that should be tried before the question of routinely arming police is considered. The Taser, which is still being introduced, has the potential to provide police with a non-fatal alternative to firearms. Mr Broad has also talked of armed response vehicles with small teams of specially trained officers permanently on standby, but able to carry out routine frontline duties until they are needed.

The taser is a good choice if the offender is not armed with a gun themselves. But it is suicidal to go against an offender with a gun with a taser.

The concept of armed response vehicles on standby is laudable, but there are times when the five to ten minutes it will take to get there, will be too long.

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