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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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BREAKING British and French scrambled to North Sea

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British and French jets have scrambled to the North Sea amid reports that Russian planes have entered the UK airspace.

The RAF Typhoon fighter jet is supporting Airbus Voyager plane deployed from Newcastle after 3pm today.

The French have also supported in the deployment supporting with a fighter jet.

In total four jets were seen over the North Sea on mapping.

The RAF has declined to comment on the situation describing it as an ongoing military operation.

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Fancy being locked in a haunted police cell?

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Forget Halloween Fancy a spooky night of fun, locked in a haunted cell for 24 hours to raise money for charity. Then we have an event that is right up your street.

Following on from the success of the PC Edward Walker Tour, Jules Berry a DDO with the Met Police is back with her spooky haunted cell idea to raise money for COPS UK and WMP History Museum, That is exactly what you can do this Feb.

Met Police Detention Officer Jules Berry is arranging the whole event in partnership with the WMP History Museum and is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

The event will take place on the 8th and 9th of February 2019, but be quick as places are limited.

Unfortunately, Police Hour will no longer be live streaming this event to our 2.5 Million Followers, But we hope our readers can still attend and support this event.

Need we say any more, Simply watch this video then sign up

Hats off to Kerry Blakeman for his fantastic advertorial.

The event is being held to support the restoration of the West Midlands Police Museum and COPS UK.

About COPS

COPS is the UK charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives in relation to their duty, to rebuild their lives.

Since being founded in 2003, they have helped hundreds of families shattered by the loss of their police officer.

They aim to ensure that surviving family members have all the help they need

to cope with such a tragedy and they remain part of the police family.

What COPS do?

COPS is a peer support charity, enabling Survivors from around the UK to support other Survivors in practical ways. They arrange local and national events that enable Survivors to build friendships and bonds that support them through the good times and bad.

Families are rightly proud of their officer and COPS to help ensure that they remain part of the police family.

What about the WMP History?

The West Midlands Police Museum at Coventry was opened in 1959 and celebrates the history of Coventry City Police which existed between 1839 & 1969, before becoming part of Warwickshire and Coventry Constabulary and in 1974, West Midlands Police.

The site at Sparkhill has been operating since 1995 when it moved there from the force’s training facility at Tally Ho! where it been operating as a CID training facility since the mid 1970s. Several of the exhibits had originated from the old Forensic Science Service laboratory when it moved from Newton Street to Gooch Street.

The Sparkhill museum contains items of policing memorabilia and old records from the West Midlands Police predecessor forces of Birmingham City Police, Walsall Borough Police, Dudley Borough Police, Wolverhampton Borough Police and West Midlands Constabulary. Some records are also held of Staffordshire County Police and Worcestershire officers as parts of those forces now fall within the West Midlands Police area.

You can also drop an email [email protected] to sign up, you must raise a minimum of £250 sponsorship.

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What on earth is happening in Salisbury? Two people fall seriously ill

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Emergency Services have launched a major incident after two people have fallen ill in Salisbury.

Officers have placed a cordon around Prezzo Restaurant after a man and woman were taken ill.

Police have declared a major incident. Police do not believe this is linked to Novichok.

Police received a call from the ambulance service to Prezzo restaurant, in High Street, at approximately 6.45pm. Two people, a man aged in his 40s and a woman aged in her 30s, had become unwell.

Due to recent events in the city and concerns that the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance, a highly precautionary approach was taken by all emergency services.

Both were taken to Salisbury District Hospital and were clinically assessed. We can now confirm that there is nothing to suggest that Novichok is the substance. Both people remain in hospital under observation.

The major incident status has now been stood down.

At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed and enquiries remain ongoing.

Salisbury District Hospital remains open as usual.

A cordon will remain in place around Prezzo at this time as part of ongoing routine enquiries. All other areas that were cordoned off will now be reopened.

We’d like to thank the public for their patience as a result of the impact of this incident.

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