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.