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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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Families warned to drain paddling pools to stop vampire horseflies breeding after heatwave

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Vampire like horseflies are breeding like never before as Britain enjoys the longest heatwave in 40 years.

They are breeding like never before with the aide of garden pools and the heatwave.

The NHS is now advising members of the public to drain standing water to stop insects multiplying.

These insects love water and the heat will only help them increase in numbers.

The problem comes when they bite you, more that 9000 people have called the NHS helpline 111 to report these insects bites.

They leave a painful bite which often requires antibiotics if they become infected.

According to Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, bites from vampire horseflies can be especially sore.

He told the BBC: “They actually give one of the nastier bites, because they take a chunk out of you.”

“They can be very painful, and can take a while to heal, and as result can get infected and need antibiotics.”

Paddling pools are prime breeding grounds for these bugs.

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Thug attempted to kill cop jailed for less than 2 years… It should be life

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We know you should have faced attempted murder charges, we know your laughing at your sentence. Because you attempted to kill a cop to avoid arrest because you are an idiot.

But be assured when that day comes that you need the police to save your life they won’t hold it against you.

In the early hours of Wednesday, 13 June officers chased a suspected stolen vehicle along the A22 Godstone Bypass, after it had been linked to a burglary in Oxted eight days before.

Officers managed to box the vehicle in (using a manoeuvre known as Tactical Pursuit and Containment TPAC).

During the TPAC, the vehicle swerved into one of the police cars, trying to force it off of the road. Officers managed to box the vehicle in, and it then tried to reverse away from officers, so officers got out of their vehicles and tried to remove the driver (Kidd), this included smashing the windows of the vehicle.

In car video footage shows Sergeant Chris Schultze, of the Area Patrol Team, was on the passenger’s side of the vehicle, but then started to go towards the driver’s side to assist officers.

As Sergeant Schultze was making his way to the driver’s side, Kidd drove forward in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to knock the officers over the barrier, as seen in the footage.

Sergeant Schultze was initially treated at hospital for his injuries, and was later discharged and is now back on duty

The three occupants (two 19-year-old men from Sutton and a 17-year-old man) were arrested for various offences including burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, and failure to stop.

Ramone Kidd, 19-years-old, of Prince of Wales Road in Sutton, South London appeared at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (12 July), and pleaded guilty to the following:

Dangerous driving

Driving whilst disqualified

Driving whilst unfit through drink / drugs

Actual bodily harm (ABH)

Kidd was sentenced to 23 months in prison, and has had his licence disqualified for three years.

In court, His Honour Judge Moss commended all the officers involved in the initial pursuit and the investigation team.

Detective Sergeant Kerry Akehurst, from the Criminal Investigation Department said: “I would firstly like to echo what His Honour Judge Moss said around the professionalism of the officers involved in the incident.

“The role of a police officer is to protect the public, and each day officers put their lives at risk to apprehend suspects and protect the public. During this particular incident, officers attempted to stop the vehicle, and in doing so, three officers received injuries and four police vehicles sustained damage.”

The 19 and 17 year-old men have been released under investigation for the burglary offences whilst enquiries continue.

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The cops never complained… The media did, We Did!

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Recently an image of Donald Trump’s accommodation went viral and everyone likened the police to the army and the fact that because they are serving the public they should simply accept it.

While others including Police Hour believed the accommodation for a pre-planned event should be more suitable.

What shocked us the most was women slept on the floor and had a couple of toilets to share, while men with more luxury camp beds had a similar amount of toilets to share.

Shamefully this should not be happening at a pre-planned event, after all the police aren’t the army and should at least be kept in conditions in which they have a chance of sleeping within, allowing them to be refreshed ready for a 12-hour protest public order shift.

We complained about their welfare and lack of sleep due to so many people sleeping in such a small space. Is it not really acceptable in 2018 for a pre-planned event? this is not the Army. Many of these cops have slept in armed forces situations, in war zones, they simply got on with the job.

But not a single police officer complained, the media did, Twitter did and Facebook did. They simply got on with it and have done a fantastic job, They’ve not moaned like many have assumed they have.

Police Constable Rob Hammond who was part of the deployment tweeted that ‘I liked mine but could not keep it – so much better than the safari bed i was issued when in British Army the thing used to spontaneously collapse imagine 300 plus bobbies being flung out of bed at a sneeze”

SGT S tweeted that “for a massed deployment this venue was great. The female officers accom needed more thought. Disagree strongly with those airing publicly their complaints when there is a chain of command to follow and as officers should show greater resilience mu thanks to Colchester Garrison”.

Inspector Steve Wykes Tweeted “Well LB1 Northumbria is home after a really interesting few days away. Privileged to be part of @ThamesVP operation for @POTUS visit. We were well fed, well accommodated and deployed into the fantastic Blenheim palace. Grateful to my team for their efforts @northumbriapol”

Manc Sergeant who releases the photo took to Twitter to clarify a couple of points tweeting that “no cops actually complained, we were just getting on with it but a photo of the accommodation went viral”.

Also tweeting “Morale was always high and everyone was having a laugh whilst getting the job done even after putting in a 18 hour shift on 1 hours sleep!”.

They got on with the biggest deployment since 2011, made some friends for life and had a great weekend policing.

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