PC Tony Lloyd has had his day in Court. He has been tried by 12 good men and true and found Not Guilty of Murder.
He was faced with the totally unenviable decision, pull the trigger or not? He chose to pull the trigger and the rest, as they say, is history. Would you? Would I? I don’t know, fortunately I was never an AFO so I find it difficult to put myself in Tony Long’s position on that fateful day. I have, however, worked numerous times with Firearms Officers in attendance to bail me out and I would like to think that at least one of them would have pulled the trigger if it had been necessary, rather than fanny about with “shall I?, shan’t I?” during which delay I, or one of my colleagues, might have been shot instead.
It is a totally unenviable position we put our AFOs in. We ask them to do something, knowing that ultimately one of them might need to pull their trigger, and then comedown on them like a ton of bricks when they do.
We have had two high-profile deaths recently at the hands of Armed Police, and in neither case am I aware of firm, rigorous support from the management when the ‘unthinkable’ happened. Only it shouldn’t be ‘unthinkable’ because that is what we train them for, we KNOW it might happen and that, and the aftermath, should be in our operational plans.
Tony Long pulled the trigger and set off a chain events that would rattle around for ages.
Ten years it took to reach yesterday’s verdict!! TEN YEARS.
If I had taken 10 years to get a case to Court, regardless of the verdict, I would be roundly criticised for not doing my job efficiently and effectively and leaving some poor criminal with this hanging over their heads for so long. And it would be right to criticise me for that. It should NEVER have taken 10 years to reach this verdict, or any other. There was no delay whatsoever identifying the person who pulled the trigger, that much was clear, so why did it take so long? 10 years of his life that Tony Long will never get back.
It is perfectly correct that any shooting by Police be investigated, but 10 years? This is not America, we don’t tend to shoot many people in a year, so there is no reason whatsoever why the combined mighty of the IPCC & CPS needed 10 years to mount an investigation and prosecution.
After the cases of Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney I’m surprised ANYBODY wants to be an AFO any more.
They’re highly trained, they’re professional. Mistakes WILL be made occasionally (VERY occasionally) and that is tragic, but not necessary criminal. Why treat AFOs like criminals as the default position.?
Rant over. Have a good weekend.