Thought For The Day

First and foremost my thoughts are with the victims  of yesterday’s terrible incident at Leytonstone, I hope they can all make a full recovery, and quickly.

Before that however, I had already had a conversation on Twitter following on from this tweet of mine;

My point was, and still is, that we should take a serious look at the policy of Single Crewing.  I absolutely know that times are tough and numbers are down, but times are also changing and I question whether or not single crewing is appropriate in the current era.

Peter Kirkham was of the view that single crewing CAN be appropriate some times.  What we did absolutely agree on though is that IF officers are to be sent out single crewed then a supervising officer (I haven’t given much thought to the appropriate rank yet) should conduct a comprehensive Risk Assessment.   I absolutely know that this is a bureaucratic nightmare and it will change from day to day, but now, more than ever, Officer Safety is paramount.  When the numbers have been so recklessly slashed we can’t afford to lose too many to acts of violence on duty.

When it all goes wrong and a single crewed officer is incapacitated in some way, through violence, then the Police Federation should be proactive and aggressive in challenging the relevant Risk Assessment and properly advising and representing their member. The Police have always claimed to be big on Elf n Safety, now they need to prove it and abide by it, make the officers’ working environment as safe as they can.

As I said previously I’m fiercely in favour of scrapping single crewing and I’m quite aware that the proposal of Risk Assessments will not be popular with some, but Officer Safety is far more important surely?  If the officers get incapacitated in some way they simply can’t do their job.

Returning to London last night, my first thoughts were based around “what if that had been a gun and not a knife?”  If the “terrorist” had been armed with a gun (of any kind) how well would we have dealt with it? Were we ready/prepared for this incident, or worse?  I sat back and read, without joining in, last night, but the debate went on again about routine arming of the Police, and the arguments and counter-arguments went back and forth.

Me, myself and I have never been in favour of routine arming of the British Police, but I think it’s clear to all that times have changed since Dixon of Dock Green.  The world is a much different place.

I don’t pretend to have the answer, there are many out there far better qualified than I to contribute to that debate, but I am qualified to say that it is a debate that we should have.  The Police, the Public and the government all have a view and a part to play in this debate, and, just for once, it’s a debate we should have gloves off without any side trying to score cheap points off another side.  The subject is far too serious for that.

I suspect that the government already have sizeable stockpiles of weapons ready for the day when the public finally revolt, but regardless of that, cost should not be a factor here, keeping Britain safe should be the most important factor by far, Party Politics can wait outside the door.

Best wishes to all, and a speedy recovery to some.

Oh, by the way, I have no idea what Sophie Khan thinks of last night’s tasering as I’m still blocked by both her accounts.

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4 Comments

  1. Alan, is this a terrorist incident? Is this guy a genuine terrorist or is he a person with mental health issues who has been influenced by current events. I’m sure all will become clear.
    Always a tragedy for those who get injured and their loved ones and we can thank goodness that the incident was not far more serious!
    Single or double crewed is definitely something that needs to be looked at as is the issue of whether officers should be routinely armed. Many who are wiser than I will argue those points probably long after many have sacrificed themselves whilst waiting for them to make a decision!
    I was pleased to see that the officers present had tasers and true to UK Police tradition acted in a restrained and proportionate manner.
    It is of note that they had to taser this man twice to subdue him. Whatever the decision on arming the Police they should have many of the ” less than lethal options available ”
    I am a firm believer in you can never have to many of these options available.
    Many years ago as an armed officer I was called to a man berserk with a knife. On arrival, there certainly was a deranged individuals with a large kitchen knife. We did not have gas or tasers but the old metal dustbins were employed innovatively to subdue him rather than having to shoot him.
    The point being that those that saw him being “sweded” with a dustbin probably thought it a little less than sophisticated although effective.
    I firmly believe that the majority of UK Police Officers will always choose whatever none lethal options that they have available in preference to the lethal option.
    So let’s give them as many of those options as possible.
    But let’s not let that distract us from the real debate!
    There are some who with all the best intentions are not suitable for officers to even try to use the none lethal option.
    That’s why we need to trust our officers to make the right decision and then not judge them with the benefit of hindsight.
    We must allow them to do the job of ensuring the safety of the Great British Public and to enable them to do that they must have the right equipment and (more importantly) training to do the job.
    What would have happened if this incident was not a man with a knife but several with firearms?
    Times they are a changing, and how far is not a decision for me too make.
    What I will say is well done to the officers that restrained this suspect and then protected him from some who would have done him harm! Maintaining the high standards of our Police.
    (Are these the same officers who some said were overweight and not fit for purpose?)
    Well done to the public who openly voiced their objections to this man carrying out these acts in their name!

  2. The emphasis is now on value. Take this story about PCSOs replacing police, fire and ambulance services: http://m.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/14128931.display/

    Its all about ‘cost effectiveness’ i.e deskilling and reducing wages. No way will they ever pay for every cop in the land (even if the number falls to 80,000) to be armed and properly trained. Even in the midst of a full blown ISIS invasion they wouldn’t do it….they would just sent ‘tri-responders’ armed with a bucket of water and some calpol.

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