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Armed Officers Attending non-firearms incidents @MikePannet responds

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If you opened The Telegraph or The Times on 7 February, or the Daily Mail and Independent on 8 Feb, you may have felt a fleeting sense of déjà-vu. For no apparent reason an article from last year about ‘routine’ armed police attending non firearms related incidents, has been regurgitated in the Times by journalist Fiona Hamilton and Camilla Turner in the Telegraph. They have such startling similarities; you’d hope they didn’t sit next to each other during their university exams.

Anyway we say regurgitated because if you actually know your stuff, there’s no real reason for this ‘old story’ to have popped up again in The Times/Telegraph via Fiona and Camilla, unless it’s a stock police story of course, for a slow news day, editorial direction or just lazy reporting.

This debate was initiated in Scotland last August and overseen by the SPA and it culminated in October 2014 with HMICS publishing a ‘Review of Standing Firearms Authority for Armed Response Crews within Scotland’.

As was with the Scottish legacy forces ‘Standing Authorities’ are reviewed regularly by English and Welsh forces under their FSTRA- Firearms Strategic Threat and Risk Assessments. They take into account the various threats and risks, as you’d expect from the title, plus a whole raft of operational reasons as to why it’s reasonable for police officers with car keys to a mobile armoury, to actually have their sidearm’s handy, instead of locked away in a steel box inside the aforementioned mobile armoury.

The Times and Telegraph both spookily comment on the ‘Americanisation’ of our traditional way of policing, and I’m sorry, but that’s just plain daft. In perspective there are a mere handful of armed response crews out and about on patrol in the UK, and this bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to any US policing model. The population of England and Wales is nearly 58million and we’ve got just over 3000 armed officers, of which only fraction are actually out on patrol on any given shift crewing ARV’s going to routine calls.

Last summer in Scotland where the debate began, some politicians and a newspaper took to conflating the issue that a fraction of their 275 armed officers were supporting ‘routine’ policing.

It was conflated by a frankly ridiculous line that there were ‘growing concerns’ that these were ‘ordinary’ police and were becoming routinely armed by stealth without public knowledge, consultation or consent. This shocking revelation was supported by various photos of armed officers in public, assisting unarmed colleagues with ‘routine’ policing. Thankfully this was rebutted by Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill who had astutely realised that the whole issue was a political football being capitalised upon and manipulated by some for their own ends.

A pragmatic and ‘defiant’ response by Scotland’s’ Chief Constable Steve House tried to help common sense prevail. However in a hollow victory for the detractors and hysterics the review of the ‘Standing Authority’ did indeed bring in some changes, and bizarrely enough as far as public safety is concerned the amendments are for the worse.

The review, as you might expect for common sense reasons, allowed the armed officers to actually go out on patrol instead of making them sit at the police station waiting for a call out.
However the hollowness of the victory is that although those same police officers are ‘allowed’ out they’re restricted to attending only at ‘life or death’ calls and where their firearms are required.

The reality of this is that Scotland is rather a big place, so now picture yourself awakened at 3am by the noise of intruders downstairs, pick up the phone and dial 999 – if you live in a rural area especially you’d be forgiven for feeling rather vulnerable, but don’t worry the police are on their way, unfortunately they’re about 25 miles away but will try and get there as fast as they can. Coincidentally the Armed Response Vehicle for your area, is a lot closer and double crewed in a high performance car, but unfortunately now they not allowed come to your aid because your burglary is not a life or death firearms incident – cue the slow handclap for the Scottish politicians. Anyway the next day (if you’re okay) you can write to your MSP and thank them for being concerned (on your behalf) that ‘attending routine incidents has a negative impact on community relations and safety’.

Meanwhile in England and Wales you will continue to see ARV crews at routine incidents, whether they’re first on the scene at a serious traffic collision or the first cops through the door when you’re being punched into unconsciousness by a violent partner. Armed Police attending to calls simply as police officers isn’t recorded because it’s irrelevant; it’s not a firearms deployment so it measures nothing. (It won’t show in a FOI request) In fact you’ll see it a lot more now because there are 17,000 less police officers available to go to those ‘routine calls’ and armed officers are mucking in just to help make things work, and that’s the real cause for concern in this whole silly contrived story.

Something that never seems to get mentioned in the media, is that the notice boards in Firearms Units up and down the country humbly displaying hundreds of letters of thanks and cards from victims and families – and guess what, they have absolutely nothing to do with those officers being armed. ARV crews have advanced life saving equipment and pre-hospital trauma skills which enable them to treat serious injuries and gunshot wounds, and those letters and cards are from families whose loved ones have been treated, and on many occasions saved by ARV officers. When police officers are desperately attempting resuscitation at a collapse in the high street, absolutely no one notices or even cares that that they’re wearing sidearms.

So if you’re worried about ‘Americanisation’ or anxious that at your time of need, it might be an ARV coming to your aid – get writing to the Times, Telegraph and others or your MP, oh and don’t forget next time you’re stood at the check-in desk and you see the airport police strolling through the Terminal chatting, try to control your hysteria in case you fall over in your flip flops.

The 4Policing Team have former Strategic and Tactical Firearms Commanders and Tactical Advisors on hand, so instead of making up sources, quotes or using old ones from other articles we’d be happy to assist the media with questions and our expertise.

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TV Presenter Dale Winton Dies Aged 62

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Dale Winton who was best known for his game show Supermarket Sweep and In It To Win it has tragically died aged 62z

His agent has this evening confirmed the very sad news that Winton has lost his life.

No further details around Winton’s death have been released and it is requested that his family are offered privacy at this very tragic time.

His long-term agent Jan Kennedy said:

It is with great sadness that we can confirm the passing of Dale Winton who died at home earlier today.

While we know many will share this terrible loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time of grief.

A number of tributes have been left on Twitter

Winton started his career as a DJ in London and he was soon hosting his own show on local radio.

This lead Winton to joining the BBC Bristol to present Pet Watch for BBC One.

Over the years he also worked for Channel 4 ITV and on BBC One’s national lottery show.

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Girl aged 5 sadly dies after being recovered from the water at Durdle Door in Dorest

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Officers investigating an incident where a girl tragically died after being recovered from the water at Durdle Door are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

At around 11.30am today, Wednesday 18 April 2018, HM Coastguard received reports of a child and a woman in distress in the water at Durdle Door in Dorset.

The woman was rescued from the water by a member of the public. A Ministry of Defence military range safety vessel, which was in the area and responded to a Mayday broadcast, recovered the girl from the water.

The five-year-old girl, from Salisbury, was taken by the RNLI Weymouth Lifeboat to Weymouth and transferred by the ambulance service to Dorset County Hospital, where she was sadly pronounced dead.

Detective Inspector Steve May, of Dorset Police, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the young girl involved at this very difficult time.

“At this time there is nothing to suggest this was anything other than a tragic accident however, with the sudden death of any child we have an obligation to carry out an investigation to establish the full circumstances of what happened.

“I am appealing to anyone who witnessed how the girl came to be in the water and has not already spoken to police to contact us immediately.

“There were also a number of visitors in the area at the time and I am appealing to anyone who may have filmed or photographed the incident to please get in touch as it may assist our investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email [email protected] or by calling 101, quoting incident number 18:127. 

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Police name Steven John Willis following targeted murder

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Cleveland Police have this morning named Steven John Willis aged 27 following what is believed to have been a targeted murder.

Steven’s body was found in the road outside of his home in Meadowcroft Road, Normanby.

Locally Steven was also known as Steven Pickering or Picko. There have been floods of tributes on social media.

It is believed Steven was subjected to a violent and targeted attack.

Cleveland Police are currently holding five men in police custody on suspicion of murder.

Police received a 999 reporting a disturbance near Skippers Lane Normanby.

Crime scene investigators are combing the area following the death. Officers responded to the incident just after 10.30pm on April 16th.

It is believed all five men are being held at separate police stations

Local residents have told Police Hour that police have not yet conducted house to house enquires but police remain at the house on the corner of Meadowcroft Road.

The crime scene within the area bas been reduced and now centres around the front garden of Meadowcroft Road and the house in which Steven lived within.

The area in which the incident happened is a very quiet area.

Cleveland Police progressed the investigation very quickly initially announcing three arrests had been made all men aged 20, 22 and 31 all being held on suspicion or murder.

Later it was announced a fourth arrest had been made of a man aged 21.

A fifth arrest of another 21-year-old man was then made late on Tuesday evening.

All five men currently remain in police custody for questioning.

Cleveland Police have not released details surrounding the incident that unfolded however two people aged 17 and 44 are being treated at James Cook Hospital they are in a non-life threatening stable condition.

Anyone with any information is urged to call Cleveland Police on 101.

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